Memorial dedicated to the Righteous at Le Chambon-sur-Lignon
During World War II the people of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon and the surrounding villages of the Plateau Vivarais-Lignon mounted one of the greatest rescue operations of the war. Drawing on their Huguenot traditions of hospitality and stubborn resistance, and at risk to their own lives, they sheltered literally thousands of refugees, the majority of them Jewish and many of them children.
An exemplary story
A Protestant land with a long tradition of welcoming refugees, the Vivarais-Lignon plateau sheltered a large number of refugees during the Second World War. Spanish, German and Austrian republicans who were initially anti-Nazis, followed by many persecuted Jews, STO refractories and resistance fighters.
With the help of Christian organisations such as Cimade, Swiss Relief, the Quakers and through Jewish rescue networks such as the OSA's Garel network, many children and adolescents have been taken in boarding houses, farms and children's homes.
The close secrecy of the entire clandestine operation and the modesty of the inhabitants make it difficult to determine the exact number of people rescued. If more than 1000 names are known, some historians place the number as high as 3500 Jews saved thanks to the action of the population of the Plateau.
In 1990, uniquely in France, the people of Le Chambon and the surrounding villages received a Diploma of Honour from the Yad Vashem Institute of Israel, recognizing them collectively as “Righteous Among The Nations”.
The Memorial Site
The memory place in the Chambon-sur-Lignon offers a permanent exhibition tracing the history of the Plateau during World War II and highlighting the civil, spiritual and armed resistance expressed there.
A memorial area offers many filmed testimonies. Educational activities are also organized. Adjacent to the building, a landscaped garden will offer the visitor a space of serenity.
Inaugurated in June 2013, this memorial site was created with the support of the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah and in partnership with the Shoah Memorial.
The scientific committee is composed of Patrick Cabanel, Martin de Framond, Philippe Joutard, Olivier Lalieu, Jacques Sémelin and Annette Wieviorka.