WWII Refugee Leaves Fortune to French Town That Hid Him from Nazis in 1943

Eric Schwam came to the village Le Chambon-sur-Lignon in the South of France as a young Jewish refugee from Austria in 1943. The town’s residents hid him, his parents, and about 2,500 other Jews from the Nazis. He grew up and settled in Lyon, France, living a quiet life as a husband and pharmacist, with no children. In December, village officials learned Schwam had died and left an estimated 2 million euros (about $2.4 million) to the town in gratitude for its charity during the war.

How will the money be spent? Mayor Jean-Michel Eyraud told the Agence France-Presse news agency Schwam asked the funds support youth initiatives and scholarships. “It is a large amount for the village,” the mayor said.


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