Hidden on the Mountain: Stories of Children Sheltered from the Nazis in Le Chambon

by Deborah DeSaix and Karen Gray Ruelle

The small French village of Le Chambon was a haven for both Jews and non-Jews fleeing... read more

The small French village of Le Chambon was a haven for both Jews and non-Jews fleeing the Nazis during World War II. Some were natives of Le Chambon, but most were not. This community—many descendents of the Huguenots—was committed to providing safe refuge for those who had no where else to turn when the Germans tore into France. Some people, many of them children, hid in Le Chambon for the duration of the war. Others were helped over the border into Switzerland by a network of activists based in the town. Authors Deborah Durland DeSaix and Karen Gray Ruelle tell the remarkable story of a single town’s commitment to their fellow human beings through a series of interviews with individuals who lived in La Chambon during that time. Most were children then—both refugees and townspeople. The authors devote a single chapter to each individual, providing background information to set the scene. They made the decision to use present tense for most accounts, as if the speaker was describing things as they happened rather than reflecting on events decades in the past. And true to the nature of memory, accounts are often comprised of vignettes rather than a cohesive narrative whole. The result is a book that feels a bit choppy at times, but that does not diminish the power of this inspiring and fascinating piece of history that is marked by courage and intrigue. (Ages 10–15)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2008

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