Featuring Peter Grose!

Original Program Date: August 30, 2020

During World War II, the largely Protestant population of the Plateau Vivarais-Lignon risked their lives and those of their families to protect Jews. The locals—descendants of Huguenots who were persecuted themselves in the centuries prior—hid approximately 3,500 Jewish refugees, mainly children in barns, spare rooms, attics, cellars, abandoned houses, hotels, guest houses, camp sites. On the day after France surrendered to Germany in June 1940, the town’s pastor, André Trocmé, of the Reformed Church of France, addressed his congregation saying, “The duty of Christians is to resist the violence directed at our consciences with the weapons of the spirit. … We will resist when our enemies demand that we act in ways that go against the teachings of the Gospel. We will resist without fear, without pride and without hatred.” Together with Protestant pastors on the Plateau as well as with rescue networks with pastors and Catholic priests, the people of the area saved 3,500 Jews from certain death. It is the biggest known sheltering operation of the Holocaust. Nobody betrayed the hidden Jews, nobody denounced them, nobody turned them in: the community remained rock solid, stubborn, decent and modest, sheltering total strangers at great risk and for little or no reward. To this day, many of the villagers are unwilling to talk about it, or to make any special claim for themselves. In 1990, the village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon and the dozen or so neighbouring communities were named Righteous Among The Nations by the Yad Vashem Institute in Israel. Only one other village in Europe, Nieuwlande, the Netherlands, has this distinction, from Yad Vashem.

Today, Peter lives in Saint-Pierre d’Oléron, France