As Le Chambon’s refugee population increased, so too did unsettling visits to the community by Vichy police. Meanwhile, raids and roundups were becoming a growing threat throughout unoccupied France. All this meant that escape to Switzerland became a necessary — and daring — part of the rescue operation.
Magda and André Trocmé immersed themselves in struggles against militarism and fascism throughout the 1930’s, but chance brought them to the village of Le Chambon — a place steeped in its own history of resistance. There, they launched a progressive school and laid the groundwork for the daring rescue effort that would soon take shape.
Born into wealthy families, Magda and André Trocmé weren’t raised to resist authority. Events both personal and historical caused them to cast off their privilege and choose unconventional life paths, ultimately leading them to their crucial roles in one of the greatest resistance and rescue operations of the 20th century.
Refugees are fleeing, hate groups are rising, the far-right is winning elections around the world. Those who want to do something about it are going to need a model for resistance. And there may be none better than the story of a small French community that rescued around 5,000 refugees from the Nazis.