Austrian Man Reportedly Leaves Millions to French Village that Rescued His Family from Nazis
A 90-year-old Austrian who died last year left a generous gift to a French village to thank them for protecting his family from the Nazis during World War II.
According to CNN, Erich Schwam came to the village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon in 1943 with his mother and father. The family was on the run from the Nazis who killed millions of Jews in German-occupied Europe.
In his will, Schwam reportedly left a large sum of money to the village to show his gratitude for hiding his family 77 years ago. He asked for the funds to be used for scholarships and schools, the outlet reported.
Although the amount was not officially disclosed, a former village mayor told BBC Schwam that he had contacted officials years ago about his plans and believed he had donated around $ 2.4 million.
After the news of the donation spread, the village tried to piece together part of Schwam's story.
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They believe Schwam's parents returned to Austria after the end of World War II while he moved to Lyon, a city in France, to study. He later met his future wife in town.
"He was a very discreet gentleman and he didn't want much publicity for his gesture," said Denise Vallat, a Le Chambon-sur-Lignon official, according to the BBC. "Little is known about the donor, but we have done some research."
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According to reports, Schwam and his wife never had children and he died a widower.
"We are very honored and will use the amount according to Mr. Schwam's will," added Vallat to CNN.
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Six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, and over 40,000 concentration camps and ghettos were formed during the war, NBC News reported.
The Nazis led by Adolf Hitler used gas vans, concentration camps and firing squads to murder Jews in an anti-Semitic campaign. The Holocaust ended in May 1945.
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