Elizabeth and her family were in Paris when war began. As the Germans advanced in 1940, she and her mother fled southward. Elizabeth eventually reached Le Chambon, where she helped care for children sheltered by the town's pastor, Andre Trocme, and his wife. In late 1941 her father was among 1,000 intellectuals who received special US visas from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The family escaped from France in 1942 on one of the last passenger ships to cross the Atlantic during the war.
Pastor Trocme was a very distant person. I've read several descriptions of him as a person, and he was all of them. All of the descriptions were...are true. When I say he was a very distant person, then I mean he was a very distant person at the beginning, at the outset. He...he was...he was a leader. He was a leader. To...to his wife he was completely different. His relationship with his wife, it was completely different. He was very warm. So he was both warm and distant. [Interviewer: And Mrs. Trocme?] And I have a tendency to call her Maman Trocme. Maman Trocme was a wonderful caring person who, who did everything. She, she would do, peel potatoes as much as she would help another person.