Austrian Eric Schwam left 2 million euros to the French village Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, which offered him protection, as well as his family, from the Nazi regime.
Schwam passed away on December 25, aged 90, but first revealed that he wanted to donate much of his inheritance to this village located in southeastern France, known for receiving thousands of refugees, says the British newspaper The Independent.
The mayor of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon refused to specify the amount donated, but elements of the previous municipal executive revealed that they discussed the donation with Schwam and his wife personally and that was around 2 million euros.
The Austrian arrived in the village with his family in the middle of 1943 and hid in a school throughout the Second World War (1939-1945).
Schwam and his family continued to live in and Chambon-sur-Lignon until 1950.
Denise Vallat, Communication and Culture assistant in the French village, revealed, in statements to the French newspaper France 3, that the municipality was contacted about three weeks ago by a notary to discuss the details of the donation.
“He was a very discreet gentleman e didn’t want much publicity about your gesture. Little is known about the donor, but we did some research, ”said the official, adding that the research revealed that Schwam’s family was originally from Vienna, where her father was a doctor.
The village is known to receive several refugees from different periods of history: from priests of the French Revolution to Jews during the Holocaust.
Le Chambon-sur-Lignon is estimated to have received 2,500 Jewish refugees during World War II. The village was later recognized by Israel for its efforts in protecting the Jewish people, notes the British broadcaster BBC.
Sara Silva Alves, ZAP //