Protection of the Jews in France By the PBCC During Nazi Occupation – Part 3/4

Continued From

It was not just in sympathetic circumstances that the French Plymouth Brethren hid fleeing Jews; other recounts from areas surrounding Le Chambon tell of reproach they suffered from their compatriots for their sympathies.

Plymouth Brethren Le Chambon

The Lac du Devesset – in the Ardèche region, near St Agrève

The family of Paul VERGNON lived at Cabasse, near St. Agrève in the Ardèche region, took care of a Jewish couple from St. Etienne. This was a very perilous undertaking, as the Mayor of St. Agrève was sympathetic to the Nazis.

While it was too hazardous for the VERGNONS (who had six children) to hide the couple in their own house, they used an uninhabited residence in the middle of the forest to house the couple. The house was far from any frequented path, and the VERGNONS supplied them throughout their time there with wood for the fire and food from the farm – butter, cheese, milk, eggs, potatoes, cabbages etc.

Plymouth Brethren Le Chambon

Farms around Le Chambon

In return, the Jewish couple, who owned a boutique in St Etienne gave the family clothes and lengths of fabric. This Jewish couple came back to thank their benefactors after the war, for everything they had done.

Plymouth Brethren Le Chambon

Looking towards the hills of the Ardèche region

In La Voulte, two Belgian families of Jewish origin sometimes came to the Plymouth Brethren gospel meetings held in a meeting room next to the GÉRY pottery workshop at St Laurent. In one family, only the father was a Jew, but his wife was arrested as a black market trader. Her husband asked a Robert GÉRY to take their 8 year old daughter (who was ethnically Jewish according to the Nazis) into their house, until her mother was released. They agreed on condition that she could accompany them to church. The schoolchildren in La Voulte reproached the Brethren children for caring for the Jewish girl. One night, 150 people were rounded up near to La Voulte, and deported to concentration camps. Only one ever returned. 

Plymouth Brethren Le Chambon

Overlooking La Voulte, Ardèche

The other Jewish family in La Voulte managed to escape and caught a train to Le Chambon, with the help of Mr. GÉRY. He found lodgings for them with another PBCC member – Mr Samuel PELISSIER – at Le Mazet, a nearby village. They were thus able to escape deportation and, no doubt, certain death.

Plymouth Brethren Le Chambon

The house at Le Mazet where Jews were hidden with the help of PBCC members

To be continued…

5 thoughts on “Protection of the Jews in France By the PBCC During Nazi Occupation – Part 3/4”

  1. Tommi says:

    When Somebody helps Somebody, there are 2 Somebodies that want to help Everybody. But until Somebody CARES enough to help Somebody, Nobody will care for Anybody.

    The first somebody is you. The second Somebody is Everybody.

    …For the last few thousand years, there have been amazing stories of ordinary people that do extraordinary things. It’s awesome to hear of people like these that truly cared for people, not their history and circumstances. I wish I was more like them.

  2. Anne says:

    This is amazing – really makes history come alive. Looking into the history of this town is fascinating and the awards given are commendable. Very uplifting to read and will be looking forward to more installments.

  3. Granny says:

    These articles really bring to life what the brethren, along with many other Protestant believers in Le Chambon, risked on behalf of the Jews. God will surely honour those who did these heroic deeds.

  4. DavidM says:

    These were noble and very risky actions, the hatred of people for the Jews was a very terrible thing. We need to understand that the Jews are God’s chosen earthly people, who will again come into blessing in a coming day.

  5. :-) says:

    Extremely fascinating and interesting. Wasn’t aware, until these articles were published, that brethren hid Jews from the Nazis.

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