L’Association pour la Mémoire des Enfants Cachés et des Justes (AMECJ) founded by Prosper Amouyal – Le  Chambon-Sur-Lignon

Meet the American Friends of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon

Nelly Hewett

Honorary Member of the AFCM

Nelly Hewett was born in 1927 and arrived in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon in 1934 with her parents, Pastor André Trocmé and wife Magda, and her three younger brothers— Jean Pierre, Jacques and Daniel.

She attended the village elementary school and then the Ecole Nouvelle Cévenole. An adolescent during WWII, Nelly clearly remembers the influx of refugees onto the Plateau Vivarais-Lignon. Considering the events taking place across Western Europe and the shortages endured by all, the young people of Le Chambon and neighboring communities led a relatively normal life, in large part because they were geographically isolated. There was no active occupation by the Germans in this remote corner of the northeastern Massif Central region — 40 miles separated them from the nearest German headquarters.

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Pierre Sauvage

Honorary Member of the AFCM

French-American documentary filmmaker Pierre Sauvage is a Jewish child survivor of the Holocaust who was born in the area of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon during the Nazi occupation of France.

His highly acclaimed feature documentary about the rescue effort that took place there, Weapons of the Spirit, will soon be re-released in a new, remastered 25th-anniversary edition.  An abridged version of the film will also be available for schools.

Long committed to the creation of a museum in Le Chambon and a staunch backer of the municipality’s Place of Memory, Pierre is the president of the Los Angeles-based Chambon Foundation, founded in 1982 to explore and communicate “the necessary lessons of hope intertwined with the Holocaust’s unavoidable lessons of despair.”


Laura Azaria-Pryszkulnik

Member of the AFCM Benefit Committee

This is why I got involved :

Living in NYC for many years, I am originally from the south of France. For as long as I can remember, le Chambon-sur-Lignon has been part of my life for many reasons. The first reason is that my grandmother Clementine Fisbein-Benattar was hiding during the war in Le Chambon with her 2 children Jacqueline Libermann-Fisbein (then 4 y) and Maurice Fisbein (then 6). My mom, Yvette Pryszkulnik-Fisbein was born after the war, but also had a strong bond with the town. The second reason is that my dad, Alfred Pryszkulnik (for his part he was hiding in St-Martin de Vesubie but that’s another story…) has always been an enthusiastic lover of Le Chambon where he was going on vacation post-war with his parents, then to party at the famous La Gargouille night-club, and then to bring his children (including myself) to mountain bike training and summer camp in College Cevenol. So, I do have a strong bond for this little town, where people have shown so many great examples of courage, righteous, generosity which remains such a vivid emotion today. The Memorial is such a mandatory step to ensure the memory is carried on, and that new generation exposed to difficult times, where humanity can be questioned, then they can remember that human kind can act as needed. I am trying to help to relay this message and raise money to expand the memorial project, and can only feel deep emotion to be part of it.


Marie-Christine Lippman

Member of the AFCM Benefit Committee

Born in France, Marie has been involved in numerous philanthropies, including an orphanage in Cambodia, an Israeli hospital, political fundraisers, and several Jewish institutions like the AIFL and AJC.  She holds a Master’s degree in German Studies from Paris X, Nanterre as well as a Master’s degree in International Relations.  Prior to becoming a full-time mother, she worked for seven years for French Food Businesses in New York, creating networks of distribution for their products.  She also helped her husband start his first company, Triad Data.

Recently she produced a documentary “Yellow stars of tolerance” based on the Jewish community of her hometown [Elbeuf, Normandy]. The documentary is being shown on the Documentary/Film Festival circuit in the US and Internationally.

Marie is married to Harley Lippman, owner and CEO of Genesis 10, an IT company.  They have three children.


Paul Kutner

Member of the AFCM Benefit Committee

Paul Kutner is a graduate of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Since 2010, he has been a French teacher at Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, where he developed the school’s Advanced Placement French Language & Culture curriculum. In 2012, Paul was a recipient of a grant from the French Embassy in the United States for a stage pédagogique de courte durée (SPCD), for which his plan was teaching history and science in French language classes.

Thanks to a supplemental grant from Columbia Prep School, after completing coursework at the Université de Franche-Comté in Besançon, Paul went to Le Chambon-sur-Lignon to learn more about the town’s wartime history and to interview the descendants of those who were part of the rescue of Jews. Upon his return to the United States, Paul began teaching about the heroism of Le Chambon, and since then, he has returned to the village on numerous occasions.

In 2013, he was featured on a program about Le Chambon on Radio Chrétienne Française, the same year his research led him to the village of Dieulefit in the Drôme.  In 2014, he further extended his research to include the Vel d’Hiv roundup and interviewed the remaining people alive to have seen this horrific event. With over 40 hours of interviews, Paul hopes to put his research into a publication for high school French and history teachers in the United States.

Paul and his students are also the translators of the Chambon memorial museum catalog.


Jane Ross

Member of the AFCM Benefit Committee

Jane Ross is an educator with over 35 years’ experience in the field of international education, including a long career at the Lycée Français de New York. She is the founder and President of the Advisory Board of the French Heritage Language Program, and serves on the board of directors of a number of educational institutions with particular focus on international outreach and on the arts, including the American University of Paris, Young Concert Artists International, Pianofest, the Safina Institute and the Interschool Orchestras of New York. She is also member of the Deans Council of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Studies of Stony Brook University. She holds a BA from Swarthmore College, an MA from Hunter College CUNY and is currently ABD, pursuing doctoral studies in International Education at New York University’s Steinhardt School. In 2008 she was awarded the honor of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French government for her service to French education, and will receive the Legion of Honor in the spring of 2016.


Elie Cohen

Member of the AFCM Benefit Committee

Elie Cohen lead the Business Development and Marketing efforts at OTCF in for the Americas. He has deep business and technology expertise with domestic and international clients in both the Sell-side and Buy-side sectors, helping them successfully address Risk Management and Data Management challenges. Prior to this, Mr. Cohen was Managing Partner Investance Group, a global management consulting, technology solutions and business outsourcing firm, headquartered in Paris, France. In 2005, he initiated the Investance Americas branch in New York City and expanded the company’s activity for major financial institutions in the US and in Canada until 2013.

He holds a Master Degree in Computer Science from University Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne in France. Elie has also been a long term contributor to the EEIF (Eclaireurs et Eclaireuses Israelites de France), the French Jewish scout organisation.


Emmanuel Kattan

Member of the AFCM Benefit Committee

Director of the British Council’s New York office, Dr. Emmanuel Kattan previously led Our Shared Future, a Carnegie-funded British Council initiative aimed at improving the public conversation on Muslim-West relations in the US and Europe by providing hard facts and evidence-based arguments developed by a broad range of scholars and opinion leaders. Prior to joining the British Council, Emmanuel was Head of Communications at the UN Alliance of Civilizations and led the team which developed the Rapid Response Media Mechanism, an online tool connecting journalists with a wide network of experts on intercultural issues.

Emmanuel was previously in charge of communications and speechwriting in the office of the Commonwealth Secretary-General in London, UK. He ran media campaigns promoting cultural diversity in the UK and abroad. He has also worked at the Quebec Delegation in London, where he managed academic relations and student exchange programs.

Born in Montreal, Emmanuel Kattan studied politics and philosophy as a Rhodes Scholar in Oxford and graduated with a Master’s of Philosophy from the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) in Paris. He is the author of several books: “Duty to Remember”, an analysis of the ‘politics of memory’ in post-Second World War France,  and 3 novels.     


Stéphane Trano

Member of the AFCM Benefit Committee

Stéphane Trano is a French journalist and author based in New York City since 2007. He specialized in International Politics, Social Issues, Human Rights, and serves as a correspondent for the French newsmagazine Marianne. His first news articles appeared in the weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur (The New Observer), a publication founded in 1950 by philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre in conjunction with former members of the French Resistance movement. He began as a celebrity lifestyles reporter but soon after that became a specialist in political journalism.

From 1991 to 1995, Stéphane Trano served as Chief Political Editor of the weekly Tribune Juive (Jewish Tribune). Recognized for his accomplishments and ability by the French and international intellectual community, he became highly sought after by several major publications to report on controversial issues of public interest. In 1996, he became the first Jewish journalist to work under dual Middle East leadership – Palestinian National Authority and Israeli supervision – after being appointed as Chief Editor of the short-lived Palestinian Economic Newsletter. This monthly publication aimed to promote economic development in the Gaza Strip and West Bank under the Oslo Accords of 1993. In 2000, he met a public success and recognition with his portrait of François Mitterrand, with a preface from Jean Lacouture, the French biographer of General Charles de Gaulle. He then signed a sequel of his book, in 2006, with the introduction of the former Minister of Education, Jack Lang, whom Trano was the close collaborator. The third biography written by Stéphane Trano, published in France (November 2013, L’Archipel) is about John Fitzgerald-Kennedy and is being adapted for the French television. He also coordinated a significant contribution to the sustainable development, reflected by the book Vive la Terre, in 2007, written in collaboration with the worldwide expert on sustainability, Nicolas Hulot. Winner of the scholarships M. and J. D. Lipsey and Foundation of French Judaism 2016-2017, Stéphane Trano is currently studying at Columbia University in New York.

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Georges-Henri Levy

Member of the AFCM Board

A specialized insurance broker from 1982 to 1995 in leading French and International broker firms, he is the founder and CEO of EDENVY in 2015.

Levy is launching a new startup JUSTASSUR, specialized in the credit insurance business, 100% digital from the proposal to the contract signature.

He was a partner and Co-CEO of Groupe Molitor from 1995-2014, one of the 15 top brokers in France, co-founder of CIPRES in 2000, an insurance master-broker specialized in health and employees’ benefits for selfemployed clients operating though a network of 2,500 brokers (FY14 revenue: €47m). CIPRES was sold to the American Fund TA Associate in September 2014. 

He has a Master degree in Bank, Finance and Insurance from Nanterre University (France).

Since visiting Le Chambon-sur-Lignon  in 2014, and because of the story of his mother, hidden by Righteous as a child , Levy  has invested himself to promote the actions of the Memorial of the Hidden Children and the Righteous created in 2013. He is a member of the Board.


Joël H. Vallat

Member of the AFCM Board

President of Louis-le-Grand Foundation.

Created in March 2012, with the help of LVMH, l’OREAL, EADS and CANAL+, its aim is to support Lycée Louis-le-Grand affirmative action policy in higher éducation (Classes Préparatoires) and to enhance its international network.

Lycée Louis-le-Grand, the oldest public school in Paris, has been welcoming the best French students since 1563 and now has developed a strong multicultural vision with foreign students from 50 countries.

He is also member of the board of trustees of :

– AMECJ, “Association pour la Mémoire des Enfants Cachés et des Justes”, Le Chambon-sur-Lignon
– Georges Besse Foundation, Paris
– Transcultura International Institute in Paris headed by Umberto Eco
– Paris-Chicago French Committee

Previous positions:

Head of four prominent high schools : Lycée Français de New York, Lycée Clémenceau (Reims), Lycée Kléber (Strasbourg), Lycée Louis-le-Grand (Paris).


Prosper Amouyal

President of the AMECJ Board

Algerian-French financial Prosper Amouyal Chairman of Financière Saint-Germain Holding was born in Colomb-Bechar (Algeria).

Amouyal built his fortune on patent registration, import-export, purchase of companies and real estate.

Since 2000, he has developed a taste for high-end quality tableware and acquired several luxury brands Haviland, Daum, Royale de Champagne.

In 2009, Amouyal came to Le Chambon-sur-Lignon to buy a jewelry company, and discovered, thanks to Eliane Wauquiez-Motte, the story of Le Chambon.

A Sephardic Jew himself, Amouyal, whose wife comes from a French family of “Resistants”, threw his heart into this story.

In 2010, when he came back to Le Chambon with the Ambassador of Israel, Daniel Shek, for the award of the medal of Righteous Among The Nations to one Chambonnais, he funded and founded The Association for Preserving the Memory of the Hidden Children and the Righteous (L’Association pour la Mémoire des Enfants Cachés et des Justes – AMECJ) with the support of Simone Veil, former Minister and first President of the European Parliament and Honorary President of the Association.
He is one of the largest donors who helped build the Memorial (Lieu de Mémoire) in Le Chambon, and has supported and developed educational and cultural projects with the Memorial ever since.


Laurent Dassault

Treasurer of the AMECJ Board

Born July 7, 1953 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Laurent Dassault is the son of Serge Dassault. Married to Martine Lambrey de Souza Dassault in 2002, he has two sons, Julien and Adrien, from his previous marriage. He is Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, Officier des Arts et des Lettres, and Officier de l’Ordre de la couronne de Belgique

As Deputy General Director of the Industrial Marcel Dassault Group (GIMD) he is in charge of diversification of the group in France and abroad (Asia, South America, Middle East, Italy). He has also developed—and increased the value of—the firm’s investments and is deeply involved in many charitable and humanitarian organizations. Laurent Dassault today sits on some 30 boards involved principally in the financial, industrial and artistic sectors.


Laurent Dassault is director of Artcurial SA. He also actively promotes Artcurial in Deauville. Laurent Dassault and Artcurial Developpement with His Highness the Agha Khan are shareholders in Arqana, one of Europe’s leading horse sale houses.

He is on the board of the Society of Friends of the National Museum of Modern Art (Pompidou Center) and the Association for the International Propagation of French Art (ADIAF) and is President of the Friends of the FRAC-Aquitaine. Recently, with his associate, Hadrien de Montferrand, he created a gallery specialized in contemporary drawing in China, at Hangzhou.


Since 1994, Laurent Dassault manages Chateau Dassault, a Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé, has bought shares in chateau Cheval Blanc and has extended the family estate with Chateau Lafleur and the Faurie de Souchard vineyards.

Since 1998 in Argentina, with six other well-known wine growers he produces a premium wine called Clos de la Siete. In 2004, in the same vineyard, he and Benjamin de Rothschild created Flechas de los Andes.

Sponsorship and Charities

Laurent Dassault is trustee for the Prevention and Blindness Organisation (OPC), which actively fights against onchocerciasis (also known as the river blindness), especially in West Africa.

He also is the President of One Drop France, branch of One Drop Canada which Guy Laliberté presides, and which aims at improving access to water for the world’s poorest populations.

He recently joined the board of the Association for the Memory of the Hidden Children and of the Just, in the town Chambon-sur-Lignon, which is associated with a Museum commemorating the predominantly Protestant town role in protecting fugitive jews during Nazi persecution during World War 2. Laurent Dassault is personally involved with creating the Memorial garden.


Eliane Wauquiez-Motte

Mayor of Le Chambon-sur Lignon Member of the AFCM Board

Exhibition Curator at the Musée d’Orsay (1981) and the Georges Pompidou Center (1983). Elaine Wauquiez-Motte was in charge of international cultural events at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1984-86) before joining the France 2 public TV network where she spent her career (1986-2003).

She retired in a village near Chambon where she has had a property for 40 years.

In 2001, she entered politics with local mandates, way before her son Laurent Wauquiez who has had many governmental functions under the Sarkozy presidency.

She was elected Mayor of Chambon in 2008, and reelected in 2014 and is currently involved in the Lieu de Mémoire.

Commandeur in the The Order of Arts and Letters


Aziza Gril-Mariotte

Member of the AMECJ

Ms. Gril-Mariotte holds an M.A. in Art History from La Sorbonne. 
She teaches Art History at the Université de Haute Alsace, where she is also a researcher at the Centre de Recherche sur les Economies, les Societes, les Arts et les Techniques (CRESAT).

Since 2009, she has been the project manager of the Memorial of the Righteous of the Chambon-sur-Lignon and a member of the “Association pour la Mémoire des Enfants Cachés et des Justes” (AMECJ), whose honorary President is Simone Veil.

Gril-Mariotte had the privilege of brainstorming and defining the contents of the museum complex with the Scientific Council, composed of historians and specialists of commerative sites and the Director of the Departmental Archives.


Denise Vallat

Deputy Mayor in charge of cultural affairs of Le Chambon-sur Lignon

Denise Vallat is in charge of cultural affairs and president of “Les Amis du Lieu de Mémoire” association.

She is a former History teacher at the Lycée Français de New York and other lycées in France.

Later, she was in charge of Economics and Geopolitics courses in Classes Préparatoires aux Grandes Écoles de commerce (college-level business schools) in Paris.