Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed

Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed: The Story of the Village of Le Chambon and How Goodness Happened There, by Phillip P. Hallie ($12.59 pb, cheap used)

This is the story of the French village that harbored Jews in World War II, that was the subject of the video shown during Jackie’s sermon on November 6.

innocentAmazon: During the most terrible years of World War II, when inhumanity and political insanity held most of the world in their grip and the Nazi domination of Europe seemed irrevocable and unchallenged, a miraculous event took place in a small Protestant town in southern France called Le Chambon. There, quietly, peacefully, and in full view of the Vichy government and a nearby division of the Nazi SS, Le Chambon’s villagers and their clergy organized to save thousands of Jewish children and adults from certain death.

This is a more recent telling of the same story (I haven’t read it, however):  A Good Place to Hide: How One French Community Saved Thousands of Lives in World War II, by Peter Grose ($9.50 pb, $9.99 Kndl)

placeAmazon: The untold story [actually the book above told the story 20 years earlier] of an isolated French community that banded together to offer sanctuary and shelter to over 3,500 Jews in the throes of World War II

Nobody asked questions, nobody demanded money. Villagers lied, covered up, procrastinated and concealed, but most importantly they welcomed.

This is the story of an isolated community in the upper reaches of the Loire Valley that conspired to save the lives of 3,500 Jews under the noses of the Germans and the soldiers of Vichy France. It is the story of a pacifist Protestant pastor who broke laws and defied orders to protect the lives of total strangers. It is the story of an eighteen-year-old Jewish boy from Nice who forged 5,000 sets of false identity papers to save other Jews and French Resistance fighters from the Nazi concentration camps. And it is the story of a community of good men and women who offered sanctuary, kindness, solidarity and hospitality to people in desperate need, knowing full well the consequences to themselves.

Powerful and richly told, A Good Place to Hide speaks to the goodness and courage of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. 8 pages of B&W illustrations

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