Skip to main content

André Trocmé and Magda Trocmé Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SCPC-DG-107

Scope and Contents

The original accession of papers given by Magda Trocmé was processed ca. 1982, with later accessions put into separate boxes. Nelly Trocmé Hewett has sent additional material to the Peace Collection, including family papers, reminiscences and other items from people who knew her parents or were affected in some way by the events in Le Chambon during World War II. By 2003, the layout of the collection was difficult to understand and there was duplicate material throughout the various accessions. In 2003 the Trocmé papers were rearranged for easier access. The unpublished writings of André Trocmé are partially organized. When all of the Trocmé family papers have been received, then the collection will be reprocessed.

It should be noted that Nelly Trocmé Hewett's notes appear on some of the items she has donated to the Peace Collection, providing translations or explanations of the material. A bibliography of André Trocmé's works, produced by Pastor Boismorand [acc. 03A-072] is available in the Peace Collection's office files. The office files for DG 107 also contain the list/s produced by Magda Trocmé of the items she sent to the Peace Collection.

More material re: information about the Trocmés may be found in the records of the American Friends of the College Cévenol, located at the Congregational Library of the American Congregational Association in Boston (Massachusetts), as well as in the Erich and Louise Mendolsohn papers at The Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities, Los Angeles, California.

Dates

  • 1919-

Creator

Language of Materials

Materials are in English and French.

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

None.

Copyright and Rights Information

Yes. All versions of "Mémoires-notes autobiographiques" [autobiographical notes and memories], by Andre Trocme, will remain restricted until 2025. The Memoires, and some items may not be photocopied in their entirety.

Biographical / Historical

André and Magda Trocmé are perhaps best known for their work in the small French town of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon where, during World War II, they inspired the villagers to help protect and sometimes to assist in the escape of Jews and other poltiical refugees. This quiet and courageous assistance was given without resorting to violence. Historians estimate that about 3,500 Jews were harbored in the area in and around Le Chambon.

André Trocmé (1901-1971) was born in St. Quentin in the north of France to Huguenot parents. After seminary in Paris and graduate work at Union Theological Seminary in New York, he was ordained into the French Reformed Church and served for eight years among the coal miners and steel workers of Maubeuge and Sin-le-Noble, two small towns in the north of France. He preached nonviolence at a time when such views were unpopular in France. In 1934 André Trocmé accepted a call to be pastor in the remote Huguenot village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon on the Plateau Vivarais-Lignon in South Central France. These parishioners were more sympathetic to his views on nonviolence.

Magda Trocmé (1901-1996) was born in Italy to an Italian father and a Russian mother. She graduated from the University of Florence with a degree in literature and earned further degrees in French. She and André Trocmé met in the United States while she was attending the New York School of Social Work, and they were married in 1926. The couple had four children, Nelly, Jean-Pierre, Jacques, and Daniel.

In 1938, André Trocmé, and his pacifist colleague Édouard Theis, founded L'Ecole Nouvelle Cévenol in Le Chambon, a Protestant, co-educational secondary school. In addition to the usual French secondary school curriculum, tolerance, honesty, and nonviolence were taught as well. L'Ecole Nouvelle Cévenole soon gained an international focus, and after World War II the name of the school was changed to Collège Cévenol. Magda Trocmé taught Italian at this school which is still in operation today.

During the first part of World War II Le Chambon was located in the "free"( unoccupied) zone of France. By 1942 the Germans had occupied the entire country. However, the population of the Plateau Vivarais-Lignon continued to aid an increasing number of refugees. In 1943, André Trocmé, Édouard Theis, and the head of the public school, Roger Darcissac were interned in a camp by the Vichy police. These men were arrested for their part in assisting the refugees of the area. Trocmé, Theis, and Darcissac were released from prison after one month, but Trocmé and Theis went into hiding for the next ten months.

In the late 1940s André and Magda Trocmé traveled as European Secretaries for the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR). After their move to Versailles (France) in 1950, the Trocmé's founded La Maison de la Réconciliation. The Maison de la Reconciliation became an international peace center and the headquarters of the French and Continental Secretariat of the IFOR. During travels in the United States, under IFOR auspices, André Trocmé delivered the Robert Treat Paine lectures which became the basis for his book The Politics of Repentance, published in 1953. During the strife between France and Algeria, André Trocmé helped start Eirene (International Service for Peace), located in Morocco, which provided alternative service for conscientious objectors. He was also active in the movement against atomic weapons, becoming president of the French Federation Against Atomic Armaments in 1959. In 1960, André Trocmé accepted a call to become one of the ministers of the Saint-Gervais Church in Geneva, Switzerland. Many of the sermons he preached at Saint-Gervais were broadcast. His book, Jésus-Christ et la Revolution Non Violente was published in French in 1961 and subsequently in other languages (Orbis Books edition, 2004). In 1965, André Trocmé accompanied a peace mission to Vietnam.

After World War II André Trocmé was awarded the Rosette de la Résistance by the French government. The story of the Trocmé's pacifist leadership inspired Philip P. Hallie, a professor at Wesleyan University, to write the book Lest Innocent Blood by Shed, published in 1979. Eleven years later Pierre Sauvage produced the documentary Weapons of the Spirit (1988), explaining how his family survived Word War II, through the efforts of the people of Le Chambon.

André Trocmé died in Geneva on June 5, 1971, just a few weeks after he had been scheduled to receive the Médaille des Justes from the government of Israel. As more and more people were recognized as "Righteous Gentiles," the Yad Vashem honored all the residents of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon and the surrounding area. In their memory an engraved stele and rock garden were installed in the park of Yad Vashem (Israel).

After the death of her husband Magda Trocmé moved to Paris with Alice Reynier ("Jispa"), a close family friend who had lived with the Trocmé family since 1942. Alice Reynier shared their family life and their work. Magda Trocmé received an honorary degree from Haverford College in 1981 in the name of the people of Le Chambon and the surrounding area She died in Paris in 1996. André, Magda, their sons Jean-Pierre and Daniel, and Jispa, are all buried as a family in the cemetery of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon.

Extent

7.7 Linear Feet (7.7 linear ft.)

Overview

André and Magda Trocmé are perhaps best known for their work in the small French town of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon where, during World War II, they inspired the villagers to help protect and sometimes to assist in the escape of Jews and other poltiical refugees. In 1938, André Trocmé, and his pacifist colleague Édouard Theis, founded L'Ecole Nouvelle Cévenol in Le Chambon, a Protestant, co-educational secondary school, with a curriculum of tolerance, honesty, and nonviolence. By 1942 the Germans had occupied the entire country. However, the population of Le Chambon and the Plateau Vivarais-Lignon region continued to aid an increasing number of refugees. In 1943, André Trocmé, Édouard Theis, and the head of the public school, Roger Darcissac were interned in a camp by the Vichy police and later went into hiding. In the late 1940s André and Magda Trocmé traveled as European Secretaries for the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR).

Arrangement

This collection is arranged into several series. Series A contains biographical information about André and Magda Trocmé, and their nephew Daniel Trocmé and other family members. This series also contains historical information about the family and the village of Le Chambon, including material donated by Phillip Hallie, collected for his book, Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed. Series B, titled Public Life and Ministry, includes correspondence, speeches, and writings by both André and Magda Trocmé. Series C contains miscellaneous and reference material. Later accessions are listed at the end of Series C.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Magda Trocmé, Philip Hallie and Nelly Trocmé Hewett, 1979, 1982, 1992-present

Related Materials

For related materials, search the library's online catalog

Separated Materials

Items removed: - Photographs of the Trocmé family and of Le Chambon, etc.[removed to Photograph Collection] - 2 certificates and 2 hand-drawn maps [removed to Oversized Items Collection: Documents] - Posters [removed to Poster Collection] - Audiocassettes, reel-to-reel tapes, and compact discs [removed to Audiovisual Collection; search database at http://filemaker.swarthmore.edu/fmi/xsl/SCPC_AV_main.xsl, with the term 'Trocme' in the Location field] - Oil painting of André Trocmé by Howard Hoffman (2004; acc. 04A-078) [removed to Oversized Items Collection: Graphics] Books

Bibliographic References

Guide to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, 2nd ed., p. 69.

Bibliographic References

Guide to Sources on Women in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, p.26.

Legal Status

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Martha Shane in February, 1992 (papers originally processed under a NEH Grant No. RC20111-81/1655), and this finding aid was revised by Wendy Chmielewski in October, 1992. The papers were reorganized, and this finding aid was revised by Anne Yoder in August, 2003; finding aid was revised by Wendy Chmielewski in 2005, with additions in 2008.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Swarthmore College Peace Collection Library

Contact:
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore 19081-1399 USA US
610-328-8557
610-328-8544 (Fax)