The Courage to Defy
"I believe that we have no right to deport our fellow citizens and that any Frenchman who becomes an accomplice to this infamy is a traitor" Jean Phillipe, French Police Inspector in Toulouse
The deportations of the Jews were a major undertaking. Jews were arrested in their homes, taken to assembly points and detention centers, and from there were put on deportation trains. This required the extensive participation of local police forces. Most policemen followed orders, some warned the Jews and enabled them to escape, but only very few refused to obey the orders.
Jean Phillipe was appointed chief of police in the 7th arrondissement of Toulouse in late 1942. He used his position to help Jews and resistance fighters. But when in January 1943 he was ordered to submit a list of all Jews in his precinct to the Germans, he felt that he could no longer serve in the police force and tendered a letter of resignation in which he vehemently denounced the Vichy government’s collaborationist policies.
Phillipe went underground and continued his resistance activity. An imprudent move on the part of his colleagues led to his arrest on January 28, 1943. He was interrogated, tortured, imprisoned in Karlsruhe in Germany, and executed on March 1, 1944.
Jean Phillipe's letter of resignation:
On January 2, 1995, Yad Vashem recognized Jean Phillipe as Righteous Among the Nations.