American Friends of The Chambon Memorial

Where history and people meet!

The American Friends of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon Memorial brings together testimonials of both the witnesses and brave saviors who passionately share the extraordinary story of the rescue mission that occurred in and around Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon during WW2. As a nonprofit, the American Friends of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon Memorial raises awareness and funds in America to support the French memorial, Lieu de Mémoire. At the center of its mission is the expansion of the museum to promote cultural and educational experiences and exhibits, as well as strengthen the relationship between France and America. Their main goals are to develop the cultural and education activities for students to partake from around the world. For those who are inspired by the mission and the unique character of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon, joining the American Friends of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon Memorial offers a wonderful opportunity to be a part of preserving and sharing this treasure for the future.

plaque
A commemorative plaque is on display in the centre of the village of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon, France, since 1979, to honor the mass commitment of the inhabitants of the Plateau Vivarais-Lignon.

In 1990, the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem, honoured “the population of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon and the surrounding villages”, declaring them “Righteous among the Nations”. Only one other village in Europe Nieuwland in Holland and the land of Denmark have received this  award.

Help us preserve the legacy of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon.

THE MUSEUM

The municipality wanted to create a place of memory, history and education to meet the desires of the public who wanted to keep the history of the Plateau alive after the end of the war.

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THE GARDEN

North of the buildings, a communal plot of 800 square meters is used as a memory garden to enjoy the outdoors in an enclosed space. It is designed as a place of healing for visitors to use either during or after their visit.

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“Obéir à Dieu plutôt qu’aux hommes.”Pastor André Trocmé
“Le devoir des chrétiens est d’opposer à la violence exercée sur leur conscience les armes de l’Esprit ”Pastor André Trocmé
“These people came here for help and for shelter. I am their shepherd. A shepherd does not forsake his flock… I do not know what a Jew is. I know only human beings.”Pastor André Trocmé

LE CHAMBON-SUR-LIGNON’S HISTORY

Far away from the main lines of communication, the people of the Plateau lived a near normal life, away from the troubles of the times and far from the war itself. In 1902 the arrival of the departmental railway opened the territory to the outside world, and helped the rural economy flourish.

The first refugees began arriving on the Plateau at the end of the 1930s, changing forever the course of history for the little Plateau in Southern France.

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FRENCH PRESIDENT JACQUES CHIRAC officially recognized the heroism of the village of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon during his trip to the Haute-Loire in 2004 .

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SPECIAL PROJECTS

The Fate of Children: Children’s Homes in Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon and Elsewhere is a bilingual exhibition exploring the history of the children’s rescue homes in and around Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon. It follows the stories of children from Berlin, Budapest and Poland who were refugees in France and who were sheltered in Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon during World War II.

These children were returned to their families in the United States, thanks to the generosity of Americans and international aid agencies.

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PRESIDENT OBAMA spoke about the brave saviors of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon in 2009 at the Holocaust Days of Remembrance Ceremony. He refers to the people of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon as, “those who would do extraordinary good at extraordinary risk not for affirmation or acclaim or to advance their own interests, but because it is what must be done”. 

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Interested in visiting the museum?