5,000

 

During World War II, starting in the winter of 1940-41, in and around the village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon in Nazi-occupied France, 5,000 Jews were sheltered…by 5,000 Christians.

The Protestant Huguenot villagers, mostly poverty-stricken themselves, protected the Jews at the risk of their own lives. Every home took in Jews, fed and protected them, right under the noses of the Gestapo. They were often hidden in the countryside when the authorities came to investigate. For four years they defied the Nazi régime and a French government that was collaborating with the Nazis. The citizens of Le Chambon sheltered these strangers, educated their children, and arranged for hundreds to flee to Switzerland or Spain via an intricate, wooded, underground escape route.

True to their beliefs, some citizens of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon penned a letter to the Nazi-influenced Vichy government, feeling spiritually obligated to admit that they were indeed sheltering Jewish refugees. They were clearly defiant in their determination to protect them – “We feel obliged to tell you that there are among us a certain number of Jews…whose only fault is to be born in another religion…We have Jews. You’re not getting them.”

No resident of Le Chambon, it is believed, ever turned away or betrayed a single Jewish refugee.

            “I do not know what a Jew is.  I know only human beings.”
André Trocmé, the Huguenot pastor of Le Chambon

5,000
They were welcomed

  Given shelter and refuge
  Without hesitation.
O
n the edge of violence.

Protected, without question
  Given food and a future
  At the risk of everything
I
n open defiance.


One life saved, f
or every hero
From a man
From a horrific plan
From a power, aiming for zero

Five thousand.
Spared a hateful demise
Five thousand.
Strong and assured
Five thousand.
Sharing one single purpose
Five thousand.
  And no one said a word.


Hiding strangers

Sharing what little they had
 Without hesitation
For a number of years.

A beacon of hope
  Sharing an indomitable spirit
  Without reservation
A
nd despite their fears.


Committed, as one, to uphold humanity

To do what was right
To the preservation of life 

 An immaculate deception, in the face of the enemy

Five thousand.
Hidden amongst them
Five thousand.
Their c
onviction, silently heard
Five thousand.
Sharing one selfless will
Five thousand.
  And no one said a word.

                                        Gary Greentree


Happy are those hungry and thirsty of justice…for they will be satisfied.”
-André Trocmé

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Transfixed

Alive 5
Transfixed

I catch myself staring
Strangely focused in my trance
Seeing so much in an instant
With just a casual glance

It’s likely mere seconds
I am mesmerized, then clear
The silence of my reverie
gives way to what I hear

Words jumping out at me
and then easing into place
I become rapt in your way
In the character of your face

The way your eyes dance
along with each word
Your spirit adding substance
to what we’ve all heard

You smile, and then scowl
as the conversation turns
Imbedded in your opinion

and the respect that it earns

Formulating as you listen
Anxious, with more to share
That little scar rises
like it’s keenly aware

Impatiently you wait
until it comes back to you
You burst out a little early
It’s just something that you do

Spilling out your conviction
with all that you have got
Pouring your passion
into every sharp thought

Meaning exactly what you say
You say exactly what you mean
Words that come from your heart
Faithful to where they’ve been

While I don’t always agree
with everything that you say
 I duly respect your tenacity
And I especially love your way…

The way you light up a room
with your passion and sincerity
The way you express yourself

with no need for clarity

The way you put it out there
with nothing to hide
The way you can agitate me
and stir me up inside

The way that you are steadfast
with nothing up your sleeve
The way your honesty reels me in
when my opinions want to leave

The way you never hesitate
to show who you are
The way my love approaches
when I see you from afar

The way you invest in life
Always ready, willing and able
The way that you transfix me
as I look across the table

 

Way

            Way

Never enough time
when it’s too late
Too much to takeimagesCABUIB4Q
when it’s far too soon

The only answer
is day to day

The direct glare of the sun
gives way
to the faint light of the moon.

Never enough rest
when it’s this raw
Too much to bear
when it cuts this deep

The only answer
is day by day

The constant snare of pain
gives way
to the fleeting escape of sleep.

Too much conviction
to just give up
Just enough energy
to keep going

The only answer
is day after day

The persistent wrench of doubt
gives wayTry3
to the calm assurance of knowing.

So much support
when you need it most
Family and friends
to strengthen you

The only answer
is you’ll find your way

The true treasure of living
every day
is enough to get you through.

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