Austrian leaves fortune to French village where he went under

The Austrian Eric Schwam left part of his fortune to the French village of Chambon-sur-Lignon, thanks for his and his family hiding there during the Second World War. 90-year-old Schwam died on 25 December.

Mayor Jean-Michel Eyraud had two meetings with the Austrian to arrange everything. He did not want to say how much money it is, but it is โ€œa large sum for the villageโ€. The predecessor of Eyraud also spoke with Schwam earlier, according to the former mayor, it is EUR 2 million.

The Austrian wants the money to be spent on education and youth initiatives such as education grants.

Schwam and his family came to the mountain village in 1943. The villagers housed the family in the local school to hide them from the Nazis, and the Schwam family left the village in 1950.

Famous hiding village

Chambon-sur-Lignon is a well-known hiding village. Residents helped many people during the Second World War. The village protected about 2500 Jews from the Nazis, and the villagers also helped people who fled during the French Revolution and the Spanish Civil War. More recently, they have taken in many people from Africa and the Middle East.