LEST INNOCENT BLOOD BE SHED by Philip Hallie

LEST INNOCENT BLOOD BE SHED

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KIRKUS REVIEW

During World War II the people of Le Chambon, a Protestant village in Catholic France, participated in a risky ""kitchen struggle"": led by the local pastor, a nonviolence advocate, they secretly housed Jewish refugees, providing food and false papers, defying local Vichy and Gestapo authorities. This strangely flattened reconstruction of those years by a Wesleyan philosophy professor is a wholly admiring account, attempting to concentrate on the character of pastor Andr‚ Trocm‚ and the principles which supported his community's efforts. The little acts of disobedience--not saluting a flag or ringing a bell--came first, virtually without planning; the larger resistance--discrete activities which never were fully organized--required more conviction. Trocm‚ and his wife were cagy (disguises, circumlocutions, wise moves) but others were not so prudent: both a cousin and a former Schweitzer worker died in camps. And some mysteries remain: no one knows who supplied the blank identity cards or why Trocm‚ and two colleagues were released from a local camp despite refusals to take a loyalty oath. Author Hallie has a struggle of his own here, trying to make his version of those years vivid and yet subject the events to a discussion of Biblical injunctions and ethical motives. The result is a disjointed hybrid which is, unfortunately, more consciously ""inspirational"" than truly involving.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1979
Publisher: Harper & Row