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The town hall in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon
|• Mayor (2014–2020)||Eliane Wauquiez-Motte|
|Area1||41.71 km2 (16.10 sq mi)|
|• Density||63/km2 (160/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|INSEE/Postal code||43051 /43400|
874–1,139 m (2,867–3,737 ft) |
(avg. 1,000 m or 3,300 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Residents have been primarily Huguenot or Protestant since the 17th century. During World War II such residents made the commune a haven for Jews fleeing from the Nazis. They both hid them within the town and countryside, and helped them flee to neutral Switzerland. In 1990 the town was one of two collectively honored as the Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in Israel for saving Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe. The other town awardee was the Dutch village of Nieuwlande.
Under the remarkable leadership of local Protestant minister Pastor André Trocmé, and his deputy pastor Edouard Theis, the citizens of the village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon risked their lives to rescue and hide Jews from being rounded up. They hid the Jews in private homes, on farms in the area, as well as in public institutions. Whenever the Nazi patrols came searching, the Jews were hidden in the mountainous countryside.
After the war, one of the villagers recalled: "As soon as the soldiers left, we would go into the forest and sing a song. When they heard that song, the Jews knew it was safe to come home." The situation took a more tense turn when the Germans invaded the South Zone in 1942. Local people continued to protect the Jews in open defiance of the authorities. For instance, they gave Vichy Youth Minister Georges Lamirand a petition against the deportation of the Jews when he visited the village in 1942.
In addition to providing shelter, the citizens of the town obtained forged identification and ration cards for Jews to use. They helped them cross the border to the safety of neutral Switzerland. Some of the residents were arrested by the Gestapo such as Rev. Trocmé's cousin, Daniel Trocmé, who was sent to Maidanek concentration camp, where he was murdered.
It was estimated that the people of the area of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon had saved between 3,000-5,000 Jews from certain death. However, more recent estimates lower the figures to between 800 and 1000, though this remains disputed.
The ethos and practice of sheltering refugees continues, with migrants coming from many war zones, including Congo, Libya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Kosovo and Chechnya.
Alexander Grothendieck, a central figure of 20th century mathematics, was among the Jewish children sheltered during the war.
Malcolm Gladwell uses Chambon-sur-Lignon in his book David and Goliath as an example of how the rebellious origin of its people influenced their actions when protecting Jewish people during the Second World War. 
The town lies in the middle of the commune, on the right bank of the Lignon du Velay, which flows north-northwestward through the commune and forms part of its north-western border.
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