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A Rescuer's Story: Pastor Pierre-Charles Toureille in Vichy by Tela Zasloff

By Tela Zasloff

This can be the tale of a Holocaust rescuer, Pierre Toureille, a French Protestant pastor whose efforts led to the rescue of 1000's of refugees, so much of them Jewish. encouraged by means of his Huguenot historical past, Pastor Toureille participated in overseas Protestant church efforts to wrestle Nazism throughout the Thirties and headed a massive refugee reduction association in Vichy France in the course of global battle II. After the conflict, Pastor Toureille was once commemorated through the Jewish association Yad Vashem as one of many "Righteous one of the Nations."     In telling Toureille’s tale, Tela Zasloff additionally depicts the wide-ranging community of Protestant pastors and lay humans in southern French villages who participated in an competitive rescue attempt. She delves into their motivations, together with their historical past as contributors of a spiritual minority. Toureille’s rescue paintings lower than the Vichy regime, partially authentic after which more and more clandestine because the warfare progrressed. was once a vital a part of the French non-violent "spiritual resistance" opposed to Nazism.

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Example text

Boissin’s acquittal not only cleared him but pronounced Lagarde and the Protestants as the guilty parties. Despite the fact that moderate Catholic legislators and royal representatives were outraged at this outcome and defended the Protestants as victims of murderous civil disorder, the minister of justice could not bring Boissin back for a retrial since the vote of the jury was the final authority. Although invited by the mayor to leave Nîmes, Boissin remained free. Civil order was gradually established in France, and there were increased demands from moderate forces to protect the Protestants rights and bring the murderous elements to trial.

This kind of mob 22 a rescuer’s story violence was continually fomented by bands of reactionary vigilantes who, in this period of political instability and in the name of the king, were trying to seize power by forming their own army and terrorizing public officials. The Protestants were the natural targets of inchoate public rage. They were depicted as unrepentant enemies of the monarchy and the church, and thus the source of all disorder and violence. Following the local outburst near Lunel, and even though order was quickly restored by gendarmes, eight Protestant fathers were dragged to jail for defending their families, and 200 troops and a brigade of gendarmes were quartered in Protestant homes.

It did not address all the other crimes being committed in the south in the name of the king and, most importantly, said nothing about the source of the violence, which was oppression and mob attacks against the Protestants, fomented by the terrorizing groups that the assassin represented. The trial was obviously rigged. Boissin’s lawyer was a major in the same national guard in which Boissin had served as sergeant, and the chief witnesses were members of the national guard and the police. The audience was an enthusiastic mob, which drowned out any attempt at maintaining order and rationality.

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