The Story of Magda and André Trocmé and the Village That Said No to the Nazis
by Hanna Schott
Biographies & Memoirs , History
Pub Date 13 Jun 2017
I am voluntarily reviewing a copy of Love in A Time of Hate Tthrough Herald Press and Netgalley:
Magda and Andre Trocme are married, Andre a preacher and Magda stays home to raise there children.
Magda’s Father had not been a man to openly display his affections. Her Stepmother looks at Magda only as a reminder of her husband’s previous life, but her Stepmother is pleased when Magda takes interest in her stepmothers Catholic Faith.
Magda attended a catholic boarding school for three years, a time when her Father rarely visited. In 1918 the year of The Spanish Influenza.
Andre Trocme was born only a few meters from the Champs-Elysees, despite the families status and wealth Andre’s childhood was not a happy one. He only got to spend a few hours a week with his Mother, Time that he cherished, for the most part he and his siblings were in the care of Nannies. When he was only ten Andre’s Mother died.
In 1918 his family moves to Paris, a move that he hopes will lead to a more normal life. After announcing to his Father who is pleased that he wants to be a Pastor, he begins studying theology in 1919. In 1921 Andrew interrupts his study in order to begin a period of compulsory Military studies.
In 1926 Andre and Magda are both living in New York, Andre studying to be a Pastor and Magda looking into social work. On April.18,1926 Andre proposes to Magda.
Magda’s family warned her against marrying Andre, they feared a Italian Catholic woman would not make a good match. It wasn’t only Magda’s family that opposed to the union but Andre’s Father as well. Despite these setbacks they were married and in the Summer of 1927 their first child was born, a daughter. They named the little girl Helena, Nelly for short and she was named after Magda’s Mother who had died when Magda was an infant.
For six years the Trocme’s lived in Sin-le-Noble where Andre served as a Pastor, while there they had three sons in 1930 Jean-Pierre in 1931 Jacques was born and Daniel in 1933. By 1933 the Children’s health are suffering and Andre requests to be move to a church in a place where the children could get proper care. Nelly theoldest has suffered Bronchitis from her infancy. In 1934 the family is finally moved to Le Chambon.
On June 14,1940 German troops marched into Paris, two days later the western advance came to an end.
Before the war shows up on their doorstep Magda and Andre already find themselves becoming a champion for their Jewish Brothers and Sisters. Andre teaches his congregation to lie to the authorities about the presence of Jews in their cities, not an easy task for the Pastor, but a necessary one.
Andre houses some of those trying to escape the Nazi’s in the Parsonage, some were unaccompanied Refugees as young as four years old and the oldest of the unaccompanied refugees were nearly adults.
Even those who did not belong to the church found themselves defending it. In the summer of 1942,in Paris all the Jews were driven together to a sports stadium close to the Eiffel tower called the Veldrome d’Hiver, for five days in the middle of July they were held there without food or water, without beds, or wash facilities and with toilets that soon overflowed. The sinister operation was named Spring Breeze.
By 1943 the Trocme’s find themselves in more danger and Andre is urged to go into hiding, and for ten months he is separated from his family, while Magda works as a Bicycle Courier, but by 194; there Middle son Jacques misses his Father terribly and is sent to Be with him.
This is the story of a remarkable family who refused to be a part of the horrendous mistreatment of their Jewish brothers and Sisters at a time when standing up could mean they were signing up for a death sentence.
I give Love in A Time of Hate five out of five stars.