Austrian Man Leaves $2.4 Million To a Village That Hid Him From the Nazis

During World War II, the French city of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon protected thousands of Jews and had a long-standing reputation for shielding people from persecution. A local pastor and his wife led calls to protect Jewish refugees from the occupying Nazis and word spread through human rights groups and word of mouth. The village soon became a hub of the resistance movement, with ordinary residents taking in and hiding those who fled. In 1943, Eric Schwam (pictured below), from Vienna, Austria, arrived there with his parents and grandparents and were taken in and hidden by a family in the town. After the war, Schwam’s parents and grandparents returned to Austria, but he moved to Lyon, France, to go to pharmacy school. It was there that he met and married his wife. Schwam died in December 2020, and with his wife already deceased and no children, he made arrangements to leave the town of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon $2.4 million. Mayor Jean-Michel Eyraud said that Mr. Schwam's fortune would be used to fund education and youth initiatives.