Christians in every occupied country helped to hide and to shelter Jews. In most cases, rescue was the spontaneous act of isolated individuals or families. In the French village of Le Chambon, an entire community cooperated in the effort required to shelter Jews. 

The villagers of Le Chambon were descendants of Huguenots:  Protestants brutally persecuted for their religious beliefs by the Catholic French monarchy in the 17th century. Their heritage perhaps gave them a special reason for helping to rescue Jews. Beginning in December of 1940, Jews who came to Le Chambon were given shelter in Christian homes. Pastor Andrei Trocme (the religious leader of Le Chambon) and his wife, Magda, worked tirelessly to provide food and protection for the Jewish refugees. No Jew seeking refuge was ever turned away from Le Chambon.

Word spread across Europe that Le Chambon was a haven for Jewish refugees. Eventually 5,000 Jews from France, Holland, Germany, and Austria--even refugees from as far away as Poland-¬found refuge in-the village.

In 1942 German troops occupied Le Chambon. When the villagers learned of an impending Gestapo raid, they sent the Jewish refugees to hide in nearby farms. The rescue effort in Le Chambon proved so effective that during the course of the war the Gestapo managed to arrest only twenty-four Jews.

The losses, however, were painful. Pastor Trocme's son Daniel was arrested in summer of 1943, along with the Jewish men he was protecting. All were deported to the Majdanek death camp in Poland. Daniel Trocme died in the gas chamber along with the Jews.

Years after the war Pastor Trocme was asked why he had helped save so many Jews. He answered with a biblical quotation: "Innocent blood must not be shed." Magda Trocme added simply: "It was the right thing to do."