Etobon Project Blog - Journal posts are listed below
The Etobon Project

The Etobon blog

This blog is written as a chronological narrative.The most recent posts are found at the end of the journal.

The graves of some of those who died September 27, 1944

The Etobon blog contains portions of my translation of Ceux d'Etobon, by Jules Perret and Benjamin Valloton. Perret was an witness to a Nazi atrocity committed in the closing months of World War II in the village of Etobon, France. Perret's son, brother-in-law and son-in-law to be were victims of the massacre. has posted an article in which I've given the basic facts of the story of Etobon. Please visit the site and see other stories related to World War II prisoners of war.

You can find post links, most recent first, on the right side of each page.



Entries in Mont-Vaudois (2)


Why I'm Sharing This Story

The story of the suffering of the people of Etobon needs to be told and I'm in a unique position to tell it. I am the American pastor whose eyes were opened to what happened in Etobon and the neighboring village of Chenebier. I lived and worked for two years among the people who were there, whose family names are on the cemetery wall in Etobon. I was privileged to hold the post of Pastor of Etobon and Chenebier, part of the Paroisse du Mont-Vaudois, which includes all the surrounding villages and countryside. I baptized, married and buried the people who were formed out of this tragedy. I preached on Sundays in the church where the resistance hid its weapons and food and in the church where 39 men were murdered. I took part in the annual remembrance of the massacre. I know the principals, their children and grandchildren. I have read and translated their journals and memoirs. I have wept at their graves. They entrusted me with their story. Now I must tell it.


Learning My Way

Houses near the church in Chenebier

The week after the ceremony, I began to explore the villages of my parish. While my colleague, Jean-Jacques, had responsibility for the town of Héricourt and the villages immediately surrounding it, I oversaw the more distant ones. During my work in France, I’d often “faire le tour” of my territory, just to see what was going on. Had the snow been plowed in Chagey? Was there still road construction outside Champey? Had they finished the work on the village square in Couthenans? I’d drive from one village to the next, on the lookout for people and events.

That last week in September, after driving the short distance from Couthenans to Chagey, I drove out through the woods towards Chenebier. It was the first time I’d driving out there myself without following someone who knew the way.

I turned left off the main road towards the village of Chenebier, and then saw a sign that said, Rue d’Etobon, Etobon Street, on my left. I thought, that must be the way to Etobon and the church at Chenebier. I knew the church was on the top of the hill on the left, overlooking the main part of the sprawling village. I followed the Rue d’Etobon for a while, until I saw it was leading me away from the landmark steeple instead of closer to it.

I turned around and retraced my route, something I did a lot of in France. I got back to the main road and followed it through the twists and turns, hills and valleys of Chenebier, trying to keep the “arrow” of the steeple in view. I finally turned one last corner and was in front of the church. I pulled into the tiny parking area and got out. I had brought my camera along, already feeling the need to document this story, the massacre, the mystery.