cover image Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France

Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France

Caroline Moorehead. Harper, $27.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-220247-5

British historian and biographer Moorehead (A Train in Winter) offers an informative, comprehensive, and nuanced account of why and how the French village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon hid hundreds of Jews during the Holocaust. Moorehead addresses the agonies mothers suffered at the French internment camps of Gurs and Rivesaltes when they gave up their children to be hidden; the fact that, as early as the fall of 1942, flyers in Paris concerning the deportation of Jews “spoke of the gassing of the weak and elderly”; and the role of the Darbyists, an austere, evangelical Protestant sect, in the hiding of Jews. Moorehead introduces readers to courageous rescuers both in Le Chambon and the surrounding region: Protestant pastor André Trocmé; master document-forger Oscar Rosowsky; and Moussa Abadi, a Syrian Jew who befriended the bishop of Nice (from whom he obtained an office to forge life-saving documents). She also covers the German capture of key individuals such as Madeleine Dreyfus, who helped Jewish children find refuge, and examines the ambiguous role played figures such as Major Schmähling, who commanded the local German garrison. Moorehead’s deeply researched, crisply written, and well-paced work will stand as the definitive account of a heroic, hazardous, and uplifting initiative during the German occupation. B&w photos [em](Oct.) [/em]