Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France

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9780062202482: Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France

A SUNDAY TIMES TOP FIVE BESTSELLER

SHORTLISTED FOR THE SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE 2014

From the author of the New York Times bestseller A Train in Winter comes the extraordinary story of a French village that helped save thousands who were pursued by the Gestapo during World War II.

High up in the mountains of the southern Massif Central in France lie tiny, remote villages united by a long and particular history. During the Nazi occupation, the inhabitants of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon and the other villages of the Plateau Vivarais Lignon saved several thousand people from the concentration camps. There were no informers, no denunciations, and no one broke ranks. Together, the villagers held their silence, and kept persecuted people – resisters, freemasons, communists and above all Jews, many of them children and babies – from danger. During raids, the children would hide in the woods, their packs on their backs, waiting to hear the farmers’ song which told them it was safe to return. After the War Le Chambon became one of only two places in the world to be honoured by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among Nations.

Just why and how Le Chambon and its outlying villages came to save so many people has never been fully told. But several of the remarkable architects of the mission are still alive, as are a number of those they saved. Caroline Moorehead travelled across the world to interview these people, and searched archives that few have seen, to bring us the unforgettable testimonies of many of those involved in this extraordinary account. It is a story of courage and determination, of a small number of heroic individuals who risked their lives to save others, and of what can be done when people come together to oppose tyranny.

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Product Description:

A SUNDAY TIMES TOP FIVE BESTSELLER

SHORTLISTED FOR THE SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE 2014

From the author of the New York Times bestseller A Train in Winter comes the extraordinary story of a French village that helped save thousands who were pursued by the Gestapo during World War II.

High up in the mountains of the southern Massif Central in France lies a cluster of tiny, remote villages united by a long and particular history. During the Nazi occupation, the inhabitants of the Plateau Vivarais Lignon saved several thousand people from the concentration camps. As the victims of Nazi persecution flooded in – resisters, freemasons, communists and Jews, many of them children – the villagers united to keep them safe.

The story of why and how these villages came to save so many people has never been fully told. But several of the remarkable architects of the mission are still alive, as are a number of those they saved. Caroline Moorehead has sought out and interviewed many of the people involved in this extraordinary undertaking, and brings us their unforgettable testimonies. It is a story of courage and determination, of a small number of heroic individuals who risked their lives to save others, and of what can be done when people come together to oppose tyranny.

Review:

"Brilliant… It is refreshing to read a book that so confidently abandons the rhetoric of heroism and tries to see its subjects for who they were… Moorehead has had to master a huge amount of background material, and she pulls it off with skill and a remarkable lightness of touch" (Keith Lowe Mail on Sunday)

"Riven with complexity… Stories of this weight could occupy several volumes and would still disorientate with all the possibilities – both altruistic and malevolent – of human nature" (Sinclair Mckay Telegraph)

"Vivid...an unsparing yet balanced account of the Vichy years...we need books like this to make it impossible for us to forget." (Alan Judd Spectator)

"An especially poignant story… enthralling and meticulous book… amidst the horror of the Holocaust – and such horror is painfully evident in the lives of those left behind – this book shows that human kindness endured undimmed by the propaganda, the threats of violence and the vast rewards on offer for submitting to the will of Nazis" (Harry Hodges Daily Express)

" Moorehead draws vivid portraits of those who helped…The emotional heart of the book beats in the children’s stories…The story does not end with Liberation. Moorehead, a biographer and historian, scrupulously records the emotional fallout from the children’s experiences" (Edward Stourton The Times)

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Book Description HARPER PERENNIAL, United States, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 203 x 135 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. From the author of the New York Times bestseller A Train in Winter comes the absorbing story of a French village that helped save thousands hunted by the Gestapo during World War II--told in full for the first time. Le Chambon-sur-Lignon is a small village of scattered houses high in the mountains of the Ardeche, one of the most remote and inaccessible parts of Eastern France. During the Second World War, the inhabitants of this tiny mountain village and its parishes saved thousands wanted by the Gestapo: resisters, freemasons, communists, OSS and SOE agents, and Jews. Many of those they protected were orphaned children and babies whose parents had been deported to concentration camps. With unprecedented access to newly opened archives in France, Britain, and Germany, and interviews with some of the villagers from the period who are still alive, Caroline Moorehead paints an inspiring portrait of courage and determination: of what was accomplished when a small group of people banded together to oppose their Nazi occupiers. A thrilling and atmospheric tale of silence and complicity, Village of Secrets reveals how every one of the inhabitants of Chambon remained silent in a country infamous for collaboration. Yet it is also a story about mythmaking, and the fallibility of memory. A major contribution to WWII history, illustrated with black-and-white photos, Village of Secrets sets the record straight about the events in Chambon, and pays tribute to a group of heroic individuals, most of them women, for whom saving others became more important than their own lives. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780062202482

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Book Description HARPER PERENNIAL, United States, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 203 x 135 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. From the author of the New York Times bestseller A Train in Winter comes the absorbing story of a French village that helped save thousands hunted by the Gestapo during World War II--told in full for the first time. Le Chambon-sur-Lignon is a small village of scattered houses high in the mountains of the Ardeche, one of the most remote and inaccessible parts of Eastern France. During the Second World War, the inhabitants of this tiny mountain village and its parishes saved thousands wanted by the Gestapo: resisters, freemasons, communists, OSS and SOE agents, and Jews. Many of those they protected were orphaned children and babies whose parents had been deported to concentration camps. With unprecedented access to newly opened archives in France, Britain, and Germany, and interviews with some of the villagers from the period who are still alive, Caroline Moorehead paints an inspiring portrait of courage and determination: of what was accomplished when a small group of people banded together to oppose their Nazi occupiers. A thrilling and atmospheric tale of silence and complicity, Village of Secrets reveals how every one of the inhabitants of Chambon remained silent in a country infamous for collaboration. Yet it is also a story about mythmaking, and the fallibility of memory. A major contribution to WWII history, illustrated with black-and-white photos, Village of Secrets sets the record straight about the events in Chambon, and pays tribute to a group of heroic individuals, most of them women, for whom saving others became more important than their own lives. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780062202482

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