|Birth|| April 7 , 1901 |
Saint Quentin ( France )
|Death|| June 5 , 1971(70 years old) |
Geneva ( Switzerland )
|Occupation||Pastor , member of the French Resistance and theologian|
André Trocmé (Saint Quentin, Aisne , April 7, 1901 - Geneva , June 5, 1971) was a Protestant pastor and theologian of non-violence , the son of the French Huguenot Paul Trocmé, a textile industrialist, and of Paula Schwerdtmann, a German. During World War I that began when he was just 13 years old, he had to live the anguish of facing his own relatives. In order not to use weapons in military service, he enrolled in the topographic service in Morocco .
He was ordained as pastor of the Reformed Church of France after studying at the Paris Seminary and graduating from the Union Theological Seminary in New York. He associated with pacifist theologians , although as a student he foresaw that the armistice by itself would not bring a stable peace, due to imbalances in society. He joined in 1924 to the International Movement for Reconciliation and participated in its congress in Bad Boll. Throughout his life he would be an active member of that peace movement. [ 1 ]
In 1926 he married Magda Grilli (1901-1996), a writer born in Florence to an Italian father and a Russian mother, whom he had met in New York in 1925, with whom he had a daughter, Nelly, and three children, Jean-Pierre, Jacques , and Daniel. [ 1 ] [ 2 ]
In his first parish Sin-le-Noble ( Nord ), after a stay in nearby Maubeuge, he opened the church at the service of metalworkers and miners and their labor and social demands.
Before the emergence and triumph of Nazism , Trocmé debated between the options of resistance and oscillated between joining armed groups that sought to eliminate Hitler or combat him militarily or opting, as he did definitively, for non-violence , considering that the Christian should oppose actively to violence and oppression with the weapons of the spirit.
Le Chambon sur Lignon
In 1934 he was appointed pastor in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, a Huguenot town , on the Haute-Loire , on the border with Ardèche , south-east France . There he developed the project of an institution for the secondary education of peasants and established with co-chair Edouard Theis L'Ecole Nouvelle Cévenol later known as Collège Cévenol , an international institution for Christian education for peace. [ 3 ]
In October 1940 an order came from Petain imposing the ceremony of homage to the flag with the fascist salute , that is, with the arm extended and the palm down. Trocmé, Theis and Roger Darcissac, director of the school, decided that to initiate their peaceful resistance to the Vichy regime and the German Nazis since, for him, the fascist salute meant giving up his conscience. They did not obey the order and from there they multiplied acts of civil disobedience at the orders of the regime.
During the winter of 1940 Magda Trocmé received a persecuted Jewess, who came to the house because she knew that André had taken in Jewish refugees who left Spain after the establishment of the Franco regime . Magda hid it in the house of some friends who lived on the outskirts of Chambon. A year later and before the arrival of more refugees, Trocmé proposed to the presbytery of the parish to make Chambon a city of refuge, which the council approved, as well as later the entire assembly. With funding from the Quakers, they created a House of Refugees to feed, clothe, protect and educate the children of the deportees and put it under the direction of their cousin Daniel. [ 1 ]
There were always 500 or more refugees in the region. Up to 5,000 refugees were hidden in kitchens, stables, mansards, cellars or cellars and the village became an effective refuge village. "El Collado Florido" was a station that housed those who were going to flee to Switzerland; It was funded by CIMADE, an organization created in 1939 by women, which had built a network during the summer of 1942 that led refugees in greatest danger through the mountains. [ 1 ]
Under these conditions, the backbone of the parish were 13 groups of young people from Chambon who met every 15 days for the "Study on the Bible and resistance" and constituted a network of work, solidarity and communication. They prepared and carried out plans to "conquer evil with good." Each group acted separately from the others. Thus, if the police tortured a person responsible, they could not reveal anything that would destroy the entire organization. This organization allowed to maintain nonviolent resistance during the German occupation of southern France after 1942. [ 1 ]
Despite the fact that several messengers with money for the different solidarity institutions of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon and its surroundings were arrested and executed, financial aid grew, and Sweden , the International Red Cross [ 4 ] and Catholic and anti-fascist institutions of other orientations also collaborated.
Although most of the refugees were Jews, including children whose parents were in Nazi death camps, there were also anti-Nazi Germans and French youth.
The detention in the camp of Saint Paul d´Eyjeaux, Theis, Trocmé and Roger Darcissat for more than a month since February 13, 1943, did not change the inhabitants of Chambon in their decision to resist. [ 5 ] Trocmé then went into hiding for ten months. In 1944 his cousin Daniel was imprisoned, tortured and gassed by the Nazis in the Majdanek concentration camp , convicted of hiding Jewish children.
The solidarity of the mostly Christian population of the plateau, who remembered how clandestine Protestant shepherds hid in the region in the past, saved the lives of 3,000 people. [ 6 ]
Postwar for Peace
Called to the International Secretariat for Reconciliation, [ 7 ] he settled in Versailles in 1950. With his wife, he made the House of Reconciliation a reception home, not only for the movement's congresses, but for all active meditation, research disinterested or effort at the service of justice and peace. He traveled the world on a mission of peace and convincing strong personalities. He became friends with Martin Niemöller . In 1953 he published the book The Politics of Repentance (The Politics of Repentance).
He went to Africa before and after the start of the Algerian war ; he founded a center to help Algerians and with churches in Switzerland he managed to send truck mechanics and agricultural machinery. He founded Eirén (International Peace Service), with the Mennonites , the Church of the Brethren and Reconciliation for Christian conscientious objectors who worked from the Third World. In 1959 he served as president of the French Federation Against Atomic Weapons.
The last eleven years
In 1960 he was appointed as pastor of the parish of Saint-Gervais, in Geneva . There he was unceasingly active and opened many new paths for his parishioners. Preacher and prophet, he was a sower of ideas and instigator of actions. Worried reviews nonviolent this consumer society and to challenge the primacy of the profit capitalist , published in 1961 Jésus et la Révolution non-violent (Jesus and the Revolution Nonviolent), then translated into several languages, [ 8 ] book that focuses on the consequences of the proclamation of the Jubilee by Jesus ( ).
He knew how to take his life and his testimony together on a personal and universal level. In 1965 he traveled to Vietnam on an international mission for peace. He was interested in all human problems, he constantly observed the situation, took steps, produced, organized, until his death in 1971, when he had just received from Yad Vashem the title of " Righteous Among the Nations ". [ 9 ] [ 10 ] The remains of André Trocmé rest in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon.
- Swarthmore College (ed.). "Trocmé Papers" . Retrieved September 3, 2010 .
- Hallie, Philip P (1979). Lest innocent blood be shed. Nueva York: Harper & Row.
- Museum The place of memory , Le Chambon-sur-Lignon.
- Swiss working group for war-damaged children . "Secours aux enfants", Croix-Rouge suisse, 1942.
- Sabine Zeitoun (2012) History of the OSE: From Tsarist Russia to the Occupation in France (1912-1944) - The Work of Relief for Children from legalism to resistance : 390. Éditions L'Harmattan.
- Cabanel, Patrick; Philippe Joutard; Jacques Semelin and Annette Wieviorka (2013) The mountain refuge - Reception and rescue of Jews around Chambon-sur-Lignon : 393. Albin Michel. ISBN 978-2-226-24547-2
- Moore, Charles E. (2004) "Introduction"; André Trocmé Jesus and the Nonviolent Revolution: ix–xvii. Orbis Books. ISBN 1570755388
- Trocmé, André (1961) Jesus Christ and the non-violent revolution . Petrópolis: Vozes, 1973.
- French Committee for Yad Vashem (ed.). "Righteous: France" .
- Jesus and the Nonviolent Revolution by André Trocmé (1961) Charles E. Moore, editor; Orbis Books. Framington, PA: The Bruderhof Foundation Inc. 2004.
- André and Magda Trocmé
- André Trocmé 1901-1971