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

Continued from

The brethren in French cities also helped to hide Jews. Louis DÉAUX was living in Lyon. His children Samuel, Hélène and Charles were taught German at school by a German Jewess prior to the War. Her family owned a shop selling household linen and curtains, in Lyon.

 A view of the city of Lyon

A view of the city of Lyon

One day the owner came to see Mr DEAUX and said, “Last night my brother and sister-in-law were taken away to Germany and they have left their little boy with us. My sisters and I are going to be taken soon, please can you do something?”

Mr DEAUX found a remote house, which he rented in his own name in the Monts du Lyonnais, about 30km from Lyon, and accommodated the Jews there. Throughout the war, he brought provisions to them once a week. To avoid notice, he sometimes went by train, sometimes by car, and sometimes he left his car somewhere and finished the journey on foot. He acted as go-between and passed on the messages and business directions from the owner to the employee looking after the shop. The profits were entrusted to Mr DEAUX and he deposited them in the bank under his own name. At the end of the war, he withdrew the money and gave it to the family. The enemy never found them.

Plymouth Brethren France

Typical landscape in the monts du Lyonnais region

A final story from Le Chambon tells of how the BLACHON family had a visit from some Jews at their house at “Les Gardes”, and for safety, took them upstairs. Suddenly, two men appeared supposedly selling knitting needles.  The BLACHONs guessed the real purpose of their visit; to find evidence that they were hiding Jews. They realised they had been denounced by a traitor and were on the suspect list. There were others, including other brethren, also on this list. But the list never made it into the hands of the authorities. The resistance fighters in the region found the note and destroyed it. So in the end, all those who hid the Jews were spared.

Plymouth Brethren France

Resistance fighters patrolled the Vivarais plateau

After the war, it was many years before tongues were loosed and facts pieced together. The people of Le Chambon reject any labelling of their behaviour as heroic.  About 40 people from Le Chambon and the surrounding area, have received the title as ‘Righteous among the Nations’, as related in the ‘Time’ magazine article from 1990 (a copy is at the end of this article).

Plymouth Brethren France

40 people from this small town were awarded “Righteous Among the Nations”

Plymouth Brethren France

Article – Making a Blessed Conspiracy

Many thanks to all those who contributed stories and images to this 4-part article

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

  1. Gregory Morris says:

    A new book, “Secret Village” by Caroline Moorhead and published by Chatto and Windus has recently been published. This draws attention to the contribution made by Darbystes and Ravenistes and other Exclusive Brethren to the non-violent resistance to the Vichy and Nazi regimes.

    Gregory Morris

  2. Hazi-Hammenuhoth says:

    As a historical researcher, I was very interested to visit Le Chambon-sur-Lignon for the first time last year. The acts of bravery and loyalty to a just cause by the French Resistance and the Plymouth Brethren is inspiring and these accounts are a reminder of the cost at which liberty and freedom was maintained in Europe. The verses of Psalm 31 would have been a comfort and consolation to many of our Jewish brethren during those times, and will no doubt be a comfort to many God-fearing persons who are persecuted for their faith today: “For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life. But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me…. Blessed be the LORD: for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city.” Le Chambon-sur-Lignon may only be a small village, but surely recognised in Heaven as “a strong city.” Thank you.

  3. A reader says:

    Thank you so much for posting this Le Chambon series – each part is fascinating! Really thrilled to learn about the amazing love and care shown to those in desperate need and in very real danger. Those that risked their own lives to save others are certainly deserving of recognition and respect – what an honour! These stories have made history come alive, please keep adding to the series if at all possible! Le Chambon is very close to the top of the list of places I would love to visit someday…

  4. HazelNut3 says:

    Very intriguing stories + pictures.
    Interesting to point out how the brethren are prepared to support anyone, regardless of different beliefs, seen in the way the brethren were prepared to risk themselves to give Jewish citizens another chance of freedom.

    May God continue to bless …

  5. Granny says:

    Thank you for sharing these incredible stories – I wonder – what would I have done?
    What Mr Deaux did was not only very risky to his own life and the lives of his family , it looks like there was considerable financial sacrifice as well.
    And all the brethren in Le Chambon, as well as the other Christians, risked so much to help the Jews that came to them. What terrible times they were – and not that long ago either!

  6. CJW says:

    It is very interesting and blessed how God rewards loyalty. We are pleased that innocent people were spared by persons with a heart.

  7. Macca says:

    Very Interesting and moving stories of genuine sacrifice for others. Thank you for the updates.

  8. Pauline says:

    What a God we can prove when we are faithful to Him! These stories bear out how dependant persons were. It’s good to be reminded of them and never forget them or what happened, either! Very inspiring reading.

  9. J says:

    Thank you for these stories of this brave community that put their lives on the line to avert suffering and horror for others – they never cease to amaze!

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