Austrian man leaves ‘large amount’ to village that saved family from Nazis

An Austrian man has left a bequest to a French village as a gesture of gratitude decades after residents took in his family during World War 2.

Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, in south-east France, protected thousands of Jews and has a long-standing reputation for shielding people from persecution.

Eric Schwam, who died last month at 90, arrived there with his parents and grandmother in 1943. The family was originally from Vienna. They had previously been held at a military facility in southern France used to intern civilians before its closure in 1942.

During World War 2, a local pastor and his wife led calls to protect Jewish refugees from the occupying Nazis and French collaborators. Word spread and the village became a hub of the resistance movement, with ordinary residents taking in and hiding those who fled.

The donated amount is thought to be about 2.4 million dollars. It will be used to fund education and youth initiatives.

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