What would you do?

Andre Trocme

MONTANA — Greetings from the Big Sky Country.

I’ve been hearing about problems with the supply chain for some time now. I’ve had a little experience with supply chain problems myself. Back in February I bought and paid for a garage door. It was supposed to be a couple of weeks before it was installed. Now it’s November. They still don’t know when my garage door is going to be delivered.

Recently I visited my local Walmart and I thought you might like to see some of the shelves. I haven’t ever seen Walmart shelves quite so empty during a normal shopping day.

Enough of the local flavor. Back to my topic for the week.

I am a history teacher.

In addition to enjoying fascinating stories from the past, one of the reasons I love history is that it gives me an opportunity to to evaluate my own life. How would I react in situations that real people have faced in the past?

Today I’d like to take a short journey back in time, just a little over 80 years, and introduce you to a person you may not have heard about.

In 1938 Andre Trocme, along with his wife and four children, arrived in the small village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon in southeastern France where he became the pastor of the Protestant church.

Just two years later, in 1940, Germany invaded France and set up the Vichy government. Anti-semitic laws were soon passed and the Vichy government promised to hand over all Jewish refugees requested by the Nazis.

But in that little church in the village of LeChambon, Pastor Trocme preached the following:

“Tremendous pressure will be put on us to submit passively to a totalitarian ideology … The duty of Christians is to use the weapons of the Spirit to oppose the violence that they will try to put on our consciences. …”

Pastor Trocme urged his congreation to give shelter to “the people of the Bible.”

“We shall resist whenever our adversaries demand of us obedience contrary to the orders of the gospel. We shall do so without fear, but also without pride and without hate.”

The townspeople agreed it was their Christian duty to care for these people who were being hunted down by the Nazis in Hitler’s pursuit of the “final solution.”

When word got out that LeChabon would offer a sanctuary, thousands of Jews throughout Europe headed to the small village.

The government found out what was going on and Nazis and French collaborators would show up unannounced to round up Jews, but the townspeople always managed to get the Jews out of town and into hiding in the countryside.

The Vichy government ordered Pastor Trocme to stop. “These people came here for help and for shelter. I am their shepherd,” Trocme told them. “A shepherd does not forsake his flock.”

Finally the government had enough.

They arrested Trocme along with the assistant pastor and the teacher at the village school. The men spent several weeks at an internment camp where prisoners were housed until sent to one of the concentration camps of the Third Reich.

The camp commander told Pastor Trocme that if he signed a document saying he would obey the government and not hide Jews then he would be released. Trocme refused.

But after five weeks Trocme was released and he returned to his village.

Only a few weeks after that he learned that the Gestapo had been ordered to kill him, so Trocme went into hiding until the end of the war.

During that time he continued working with the people of the village in their efforts to save Jews. Some estimate between 2,000 and 5,000 Jews were saved during those years.


What would you do?

This was a very shortened version of a fascinating story but some of the questions it raises in my mind are quite clear.

  • Would I have encouraged other Christians to disobey the government’s orders to save people the government wanted to exterminate?

  • Would I have agreed, like the townspeople did, to hide and care for the Jews even though it was dangerous to myself and my family?

  • Would I have signed the agreement in the internment camp to obey the government, so I would be freed and returned to my family?

Consider those questions.

If you are honest, the answers to those questions will reveal a lot about yourself.

SOURCES

Under the Wings of the Church: Protestant Pastor Andre Trocme.” on the website I Am My Brother’s Keeper. A Tribute to the Righteous Among the Nations.

Pastor Andre Torcme | France” on the website The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous.

Love in a Time of Hate: The Story of Magda and Andre Trocme and the Village That Said No to the Nazis” by Hanna Scholl. Available on Amazon.

Born a slave and coming to manhood as a “free” man in the Reconstructed South, Booker T. Washington shares his view of success.

In case you haven’t noticed it we live in a very divisive society. People don’t just disagree with one another — they hate one another.

Try having a discussion with someone on a “politically correct” topic. It’s not possible if you have different views. At least it seems that way.

That’s why I was interested in this book by Will Witt.

Witt often goes to college campuses and tries to engage people in discussions on various “hot” topics. His goal is not to beat people over the head with his facts, but to have a friendly discussion with them, trying to persuade them to consider different viewpoints.

He emphasizes asking questions, really listening to answers, and sharing information in a way that the person can respond thoughtfully.

I listened to the book on Audible but it’s available as a Kindle eBook or a Hardcover.

The author is a conservative, but I highly recommend How to Win Friends and Influence Enemies: Taking On Liberal Arguments with Logic and Humor to people on the left and right. We need to learn how to talk to each other.

Here are some stories I found interesting last week.

New report sounds massive privacy invasion alarm for mobile phone users: ‘Delete Google Chrome on your phone’” by Leon Wolf. I’ll need to check this out further but it’s a good reminder that we need to constantly be aware of how we are being tracked and monitored by the “helpful” gadgets we carry around with us.

The hidden Covid-19 vaccine-injured” by Sharyl Attkisson. Attkisson is a real journalist, as opposed to the many people who call themselves journalists on the left and right. I encourage you to check out her work. On this topic, can’t we be allowed to hear facts so we can make wise decisions? Or must we just follow orders?

Hospice Gifts Patient the Wedding Dress She Never Had for 77th Anniversary With Her Sweetheart” by Louise Beyan. What can I say? I’m a sucker for love stories.

Before I go I’d like to share a blessing with you from the Old Testament.

“May the Lord bless and protect you; may the Lord’s face radiate with joy because of you; may he be gracious to you, show you his favor, and give you his peace.”

Numbers 6:24-26 (The Living Bible)

Until next time … be the reason someone smiles today!

Clint