Erch Schwam never forgot Chambon-sur-Lignon. Widowed French pharmacists of Austrian origin have always been very reserved. So much so that only a few people knew of their suffering origins. After his death in December, at the age of only 90, when it was announced that he had given up all his assets – about two million euros (13.5 million reais) – for Chambon, a light was shed on his past and, In the most terrible moment of breaking up, on this village of Upper Loire Nazi occupation of France during a second World WarThousands of Jewish children, including Schwam, were deported and welcomed and rescued, just as they had given asylum to Spanish Republicans who had fled Francoism.
One approach, which led to Chambon, was that its residents collectively recognized the Dutch Nieuwland, together with the Dutch Nieuwland, to commemorate this monument of 2,500 inhabitants of the Protestant majority south of Lyon. Righteous between nations Fur Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Museum Jewish. In the time of the new totalitarian temptations, there has been much improvement in the news of Schwamm’s legacy.
“Perhaps this is due to the prevailing climate,” reflects Denis Vallat, vice mayor of Culture at this difficult-to-reach location on the plateau 1,000 meters above sea level. A peculiarity is that, for centuries, it made an ideal haven for oppressed Huguenots and refractory priests in the 17th century. French revolution. At the end of the 19th century, it became a rest center for children from needy families in southeastern France, set up in hostels and field farms. Thanks to this, Chambon had an infrastructure that allowed him to offer asylum after the Nazi occupation. Jewish and Exiled Children With the help of networks of Spanish Republicans, international associations and Protestant pastors such as André Trocme, another Justo.
“It’s a beautiful land, a little bit serious,” he wrote Albert Camus When he arrived, in the fall of 1942, at a relative’s house in Chaman to recover from lung disease. Future oranges prevented from returning from Algeria by advance of war Nobel Prize for Literature Lived in Chambon for a year. there Finished fish And prepared wrong perception. The philosopher also left a mark Paul ricoeur (President Emmanuel Macron’s patron), who taught at the prestigious Sevenol Institute, where Erich Schwamm completed high school – he was one of the few refugees who did not leave before studying pharmacy in Leon – when the war ended. Camus’s stay was partly attributed to Schwam, who arrived in Chambon in February 1943 at the age of 12, according to the first data collected by Vallat and local historian Gerrard Bolon.
Vallat, history teacher Retired to “act in favor of young people” in education, and Bolon determined to find out as much as possible about Schwum, whose succession would be allocated. “The one who tells us that for us is the result of a lifetime of work, not a lottery ticket, so it is very important that the residents of the village know who it was,” explains Vlad.
But keeping an eye on his life is almost a detective, as he “left no letter or information”. At his home on the outskirts of Lyon, a Manila envelope was found with a brief inscription: Austria, Old Papers. These passports and old documents allow you to track Erich Schwam and his parents, Oskar and Melsky, from their native Vienna to Brussels, where they left after the destruction of Austria in 1938 to end up in the United States . Concentration camps The Gurus and the Rivalcetes of France, where they were held together by thousands of Republican exiles. Vallat and Bolon also discover that Oskar Schwamm, who was a doctor, worked at Elna’s Swiss Maternity Hospital, close to the concentration camps, where more than 50 Spanish children were born. It was, of course, a Swiss maternity nurse who managed to escape deportation from Schwam to Dransi in 1942 – where Marshall Peyton’s ally rule The Jews were put under house arrest before being sent to Nazi concentration camps – and a year later Erich and his mother were sent to Chambon.
“The journey of his family is very much a symbol of what was done by so many other families who came here”, explains Valt. It has been confirmed that “around 2,000 people – mostly children, but also families and single people – pass through Chambon and its vicinity”. Which allows us to estimate, in fact, were between 2,500 and 3,000 Jewish RefugeesSays Valt. They were accompanied by exiled Spanish who began to arrive across the region Civil war And, primarily, since 1939.
One of them was Josep Tardellas’ future secretary in the Catalan government, Lulis Pepito Gausach. On June 29, 1943, Goussech succumbed to the worst attack at the Maison des Roches, one of the houses that housed Jews and other refugees. Eighteen youth were arrested, including five Spaniards, some of whom survived. Gausach was released a few days ago to rescue a German soldier who was drowning in the river.
Another Spaniard who survived was Antonio Plaza, the son of a Republican anarchist from Barcelona, who arrived in Chamban from the Rivalites at the age of 18, and who would end up teaching at Sevenol with Recovur. Another Spaniard, Juliet Usach, also holds a very special place in local memory. In 1939, Catalan Protestant doctors were charged with running a house that was initially dedicated to welcoming Republican women and children and, from 1941, also began to house many Jewish children who had arrived in Chambon.
Miracle of silence
The name of this “outstanding woman”, as historian Bolon remembers it with affection and sorrow as she died “in sorrow”, appeared next to the school in the list of Just Chambon displayed at the memorial opened in 2013 She gives. These children rescued the children in several cases under false identities to mislead the authorities. Today, in the same classrooms, about 50 refugee children study their documentation in the village.
Because the “miracle of silence”, as Bolan describes the collective action of an entire population who never denounced the refugees or those who welcomed them, continued in this commune that, even decades later, by Tibetan children Will be protected Dalai Lama. Just like that boat people (Vietnamese refugees) and Iranians who fled Islamic Revolution 1979. Always without fanfare. An example of this restraint, says Valbut, is that to this day there is a tradition in the respected Chambon: “No street and no building is named after anyone, nor the city nor Personalities like de Gaulle“. Despite your generosity, there will also be no Schwam Street. In Chambon, the heroic verb is priceless and without a premium.