Julien Henri Marius & Pauriol Heniette Augustine
Before the Second World War, Henry and Henriette Julien were teachers in La Treille in the Marseille area in the south of France. They established an innovative school that was well known for its unique educational qualities. The couple’s political orientation was of the left. They volunteered to help the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, established special homes for children of the Spanish refugees and adopted a Spanish orphan.
When France was occupied by Nazi Germany, they soon became active in resistance work and in the rescue of Jews. They used their experience and helped rescue organizations establish homes for children.
In 1942 they created a special home in Mausanne for Jewish children and for children of political prisoners and resistance members. Groups of Jewish children would be brought to their home and Julien and his wife would take care of them and help smuggle them over the border into Switzerland.
Conditions in the children’s home were difficult. There was no electricity or heating, and life was dominated by fear from denunciation and raids.
Jean Margulies, whose nickname was Nouf-Nouf, was one of the children they hid. He was the son of Jewish refugees from Austria. His parents, Dr. Moritz and Dr. Ida Margulies were both communists who had fled with their son to France in 1940 and were active in the resistance movement. The father was caught and deported, but managed to escape from the transport and return to his resistance activity. The mother used forged papers to penetrate the German Headquarters in Paris and spied on behalf of the resistance movement. After her identity was uncovered, she was tortured, but survived the Holocaust. Before embarking on their clandestine activity, the Margulieses brought their three-year-old son to Henri and Henriette Julien, where he stayed until the end of the war.
At the beginning of 1943 the Juliens were asked to take over another children’s home – Le Mas Blanc - situated between Saint Remy de Provence and Taracson. Denise Flore Elert was six years old when she was brought to the Juliens’ care. It was after most of her family had been caught and deported in the great roundup in Marseille in January 1943. With the help of the communist underground, the child’s aunt, Mathilde Arama managed to escape with her niece and her own two children, Maurice and Denise-Gisele, and find refuge at the Julien home.
In 1944, when the raids and searches by the Germans and the French Militia increased, the home was moved to Rovon near Vercors.
The number of children under Julien’s care sometime was as high as 150. Despite the difficulties and ever-present dangers, the two rescuers tried to maintain as normal a life as possible for their wards and continued their education.
After liberation they couple returned to Provence and continued their educational activity.
The story of the home and the children was depicted in a series of comic books.
On 22 June 2008 Yad Vashem recognized Henri and Henriette Julien as Righteous Among the Nations.