Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France

Author(s): Caroline Moorehead

History

A SUNDAY TIMES TOP FIVE BESTSELLERSHORTLISTED 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 âe" resisters, freemasons, communists and Jews, many of them children âe" 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.

This book looks at a unique area of small villages on a plateau high up in the mountains of the southern Massif Central in France. During the Nazi occupation, the inhabitants were able to help about 3000 persecuted people, resisters, freemasons, escaped POWs, communists and Jews escape to Switzerland and Spain, and hid about 800 Jewish refugee children whose parents had been sent to the death camps.  Since the war many questions have arisen about this seemingly unremarkable place where remarkable things happened.  Caroline Moorehead, author of A Train in Winter, has unravelled a rich story of ordinary people responding to impossibly brutal events.  Many myths have arisen about the people of the central village, Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, and several of them are still alive.  The author has interviewed them and searched archives not before accessed in an attempt to tell their story.  As she says, it is not a simple one, and she challenges readers to ask ourselves what we would have done.  This is an incredible book, both harrowing and uplifting, and I can't get it out of my mind. - Jan

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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.

Caroline Moorehead is the biographer of Bertrand Russell, Freya Stark, Iris Origo and Martha Gellhorn. Well known for her work in human rights, she has published a history of the Red Cross and a book about refugees, Human Cargo. Her biography of Lucie de la Tour du Pin, Dancing to the Precipice, was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award in 2009. Caroline's most recent book was A Train in Winter. She lives in London.

General Fields

  • : 9780701188061
  • : Chatto & Windus
  • : Chatto & Windus
  • : January 2014
  • : 234mm X 153mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Caroline Moorehead
  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : en
  • : 944.0816
  • : very good
  • : 374