Ten Questions About Righteous Conduct
In Le Chambon And Elsewhere During The Holocaust

address by Pierre Sauvage

“Faith in Humankind: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust”
U. S. Holocaust Memorial Council conference
Elie Wiesel, Chairman
Washington, D. C., September 19, 1984

“One day fifty years ago, a young French pastor arrived with his wife and children in what seemed to these cosmopolitan city people a rather sleepy mountain community.  The new parish had, however, one promising feature, which the pastor, André Trocmé, described in a letter to an American friend.

In Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, Trocmé wrote, “the old Huguenot spirit is still alive. The humblest peasant home has its Bible and the father reads it every day. So these people who do not read the papers but the Scriptures do not stand on the moving soil of opinion but on the rock of the Word of God.”  Time would soon prove just how right he was.

Le Chambon has affected my own life twice, and I’m no longer certain which of the two times is the most important.  It was in Le Chambon that I was born in March 1944—a Jewish baby lucky to see the light of day in a place on earth singularly committed to his survival. This, at the very time when much of my family was disappearing into the abyss.

But it is only in the last few years that I have come to sense, in my bones and in my soul, the importance of what it is the people of Le Chambon and others like them tell us about ourselves.  If only we can learn to listen. If only we can recognize our need.  This, above all, is what I have learned so far: We need to know about the righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust far more than they need our gratitude.

We need to know how it is possible that some five thousand Jews were helped, were sheltered, were escorted to safety by some five thousand Christians of the area of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon.

And thus I ask ten questions about the people of Le Chambon and other rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust, questions that suggest ten areas of interdisciplinary, inter-religious research and reflection that are at the top of the agenda of the Friends of Le Chambon Foundation.   …””

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