Hid­den on the Moutain: Sto­ries of Chil­dren Shel­tered From the Nazis in Le Chambon

Deb­o­rah Durlans DeSaix, Karen Gray Ruelle
  • Review
By – April 2, 2012
This non-fic­tion book is a unique col­lec­tion of real-life accounts from indi­vid­u­als who as chil­dren were shel­tered dur­ing the Nazi era in the moun­tains of South­ern France in a town called Le Cham­bon. This work is quite admirable, as indi­vid­u­als inter­viewed recall their expe­ri­ences in jour­nal form. The sto­ries attest to the heart­break and the real­is­tic dan­gers of the times, but pro­vide an added sense of hope and an appre­ci­a­tion for those who rose up against evil. Each entry is fol­lowed with an epi­logue that gives the read­er the sat­is­fac­tion of know­ing what has become of each child. The sto­ries are not with­out pain and great loss, but what shines through is the right­eous­ness of the cit­i­zens of La Cham­bon. The Jew­ish chil­dren who were sent to La Cham­bon, a Protes­tant com­mu­ni­ty, were sep­a­rat­ed from their par­ents. In the face of trau­ma, the chil­dren were warm­ly wel­comed into their new com­mu­ni­ty. The chil­dren attend­ed school, worked on farms, and par­tic­i­pat­ed in activ­i­ties with oth­er chil­dren. The unique­ness of La Cham­bon was in the sense of duty the entire com­mu­ni­ty had in pro­tect­ing the Jew­ish chil­dren. Many of the indi­vid­u­als dis­cuss their Judaism, includ­ing the strug­gle to make sense of their reli­gious iden­ti­ty. The Note to Read­ers” in the begin­ning of the book, clear­ly details the research process and the care tak­en by the authors to share these sto­ries with authen­tic­i­ty. The authors’ pas­sion for the project is felt through­out the book. For ages 11 – 16.
Bar­bara Bietz is a free­lance writer and children’s book review­er. She is cur­rent­ly a mem­ber of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Com­mit­tee. Bar­bara is the author of the mid­dle grade book, Like a Mac­cabee. She has a blog ded­i­cat­ed to Jew­ish books for chil­dren at www​.Bar​baraB​Book​Blog​.Blogspot​.com.

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