“What’s that? Wednesday” – Week 5

The Trocme family pictured, including Andre, Magda, and their three children.

A portrait of the Trocmé family shortly after their arrival in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon. Nelly Trocmé is pictured on the far right.

The oldest of four, Nelly Trocmé Hewett was born in northern France in 1927 to Pastor André Trocmé and Magda Trocmé. In spite of the many years that have passed, Nelly speaks with clarity about the influx of refugees, many of whom found shelter on the Plateau after arriving by foot or by train. In 1947, Nelly left France to come to the United States where she eventually settled in Minnesota and taught high school French for 25 years.

In the video below, Nelly addresses her father’s pacifism and his belief in the principle of spiritual resistance when she reads an excerpt from one of her father’s sermons.

In response to the armistice signed between Nazi Germany and France, Pastors Trocmé and Theis addressed their parishioners in Le Chambon with the following words:


The duty of Christians is to resist the violence directed at our consciences with the weapons of the spirit. We appeal to all our brothers in Christ to refuse to agree or cooperate in violence especially in the coming days. We will resist when our enemies demand that we act in ways that go against the teachings of the Gospel. We will resist without fear, without pride, and without hatred.

Pastor Trocmé’s declaration gave some hope to his congregation after the German invasion and armistice. His sermon was the beginning of a larger movement that was joined by pastors in a dozen neighboring villages. His words of spiritual resistance helped inspire the goodness of the Chambonnais who together saved thousands of lives.