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A Portrait of Pacifists: Le Chambon, the Holocaust, and the Lives of Andre and Magda Trocme

A Portrait of Pacifists: Le Chambon, the Holocaust, and the Lives of André and Magda Trocmé by Richard P. Unsworth (with a forward by Peter I. Rose)

Richard P. Unsworth, a Senior Fellow at the Kahn Liberal Arts Institute, Professor Emeritus of Religion, and the College Chaplin, retired, has published a biography of Magda and André Trocmé, two leaders of a World War II rescue mission in France that saved the lives of 5,000 refugees.

The biography, titled A Portrait of Pacifists: Le Chambon, the Holocaust, and the Lives of André and Magda Trocmé and published by Syracuse University Press, tells the story of two remarkable individuals who made nonviolence a way of life. During World War II, the southern French town of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon and its surrounding villages became a center where Jews and others fleeing Nazi roundups could be hidden or led abroad, and where children with parents in concentration camps could be nurtured and educated. The courage of the Trocmés during World War II has been well documented in books and films, but the full arc of their lives, the impulse that led them to devote themselves to nonviolence and their extensive work in the decades following the war, has never been compiled into a full-length biography before.

Based on the Trocmés' unpublished memoirs, interviews, and the author's research, the book details the couple's role in the history of pacifism before, during, and after the war. Unsworth traces their mission of building peace by nonviolence throughout Europe to Morocco, Algeria, Japan, Vietnam, and the United States. Analyzing the political and religious complexities of the pacifist movement, the author undersocres the Trocmés' deeply personal commitment. Regardless of which nation was condoning violence, shaping international relations, or pressing for peace, and regardless of whose theology dominated the pulpits, both André and Magda remained driven by conscience to make nonviolence the hallmark of their life's work.


Since its founding in 1998, one fundamental principle of the Kahn Institute is that it supports faculty development without the requirement of a concrete "product." In the true spirit of liberal arts inquiry, faculty in Kahn seminars are invited to read, talk and think without the pressure to show a tangible outcome. This open-endedness sets the Kahn apart from other forms of research support available to faculty.

We all know, however, that Kahn projects have inspired and/or nurtured a range of work: books, articles, performances, art projects, new courses, and new curriculum units within courses. It seems appropriate to celebrate that work when participants themselves share it with us. In the summer of 2011, incoming Kahn Institute Director Rosetta Marantz Cohen invited Faculty Fellows from long-term projects that have taken place at the Institute over the past 13 years to share some of the work they have produced.

The descriptions they submitted touch on every aspect of faculty work, from writing and publishing scholarly books and articles, to obtaining grants, to presenting papers at conferences. Faculty also submitted descriptions of new courses they developed or augmented, as well as new programs to serve and support local communities and their members. It is a rich and varied list that clearly demonstrates the talent and commitment of the faculty to their research, to their students, and to contributing to and serving the community.

Click here to see the complete list of descriptions provided by Faculty Fellows.

The following Smith College students have been awarded fellowships in connection with the Kahn Institute's two yearlong projects for the 2011-2012 academic year. Fellows in the project Renaissances: A Multiplicity of Rebirths will consider the concept of "renaissance" as a process of change that involves broad social, scientific, economic, cultural, and philosophical transformations of a society and its traditions in confrontation with modernity. Student Fellows in the project Evil will join a diverse group of faculty scholars to explore the concept of evil and the practices of its invocation and reception.

Renaissances: A Multiplicity of Rebirths

Margaret Dodge '12, Comparative Literature

Dylan Farrell '12, Sociology, Study of Women & Gender

Janelle Gatchalian '12, Art History

Anna Hallman '13, Education & Child Study

Rachel Johnson '12, History


Emily Atkinson '12, Anthropology

Kristen Connor '12, Anthropology

Samantha Noble '12, English Language & Literature

Emily Rider-Longmaid '12, Chemistry

Hannah Shadrick '12, Philosophy

Alexandra Zaleski '12, History, Medieval Studies

Madeline Zehnder '13, Music, English Language & Literature


Kahn Fellows past and present and all of the Kahn's fans now have another way to keep in touch with what is happening at the Institute—we're on Facebook. Visitors to the popular social networking site can now find a page devoted to the Kahn Liberal Arts Institute, its Fellows, and its activities. If you are a Kahn fan, be sure to visit the page and "Like" it so we can start taking advantage of some of the features Facebook offers for linking Facebook pages with our Web site. You can find us at .


ePublishing: Star Messengers  |  Director's Note  |  Kahn Research Outcomes  |  Fellowships: Altering Bodies & Minds

Fellowships: Mothers & Others  |   2011-2012 Student Fellowships  |  Short-Term Project: Dress  |  Short-Term Project: Mill River Greenway

Why Educate Women? Project Final Report  |  Kahn on Facebook


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