This week, children in Israel, the US and elsewhere are returning to school after the long summer break. As school gets underway, a new online exhibition at www.yadvashem.org spotlights teachers who have been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations – those remarkable individuals who took extraordinary risks to rescue Jews during the Holocaust.
Joseph Migneret was the principal of a public elementary school on the Rue Hospitalières St. Gervais, in the heart of the Marais quarter in Paris. During the massive roundup of the Jews of Paris on July 16-17, 1942, many of the Jews in the Marais were arrested. The Marais, known as the "Pletzl" in the interwar period, was the Jewish quarter where many Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe had settled. Migneret, who saw how his present and former students were taken away from their homes, held in appalling conditions and incarcerated in camps prior to their deportation, dedicated himself to saving as many Jews as he could. He joined a resistance network and began to provide false documents to fleeing Jews and to shelter others. Sarah Traube, who had attended Migneret’s school, hid for nearly two years in his home. Shlomo Fisher, another student of the school, was hidden by Migneret until a safe place could be found for him. Migneret supplied others with forged papers that enabled them to reach the South of France. One former student, fourteen-year-old Joseph Schulman, who had been severely wounded while escaping from a transport to Auschwitz and who was hospitalized under police supervision, was taken care of by Migneret, who visited him and tried to obtain his release. On March 28, 1990, Yad Vashem recognized Joseph Migneret as Righteous Among the Nations.
The new exhibition, “Their Fate Will Be My Fate Too..": Teachers Who Rescued Jews During the Holocaust, brings the story of a dozen teachers, men and women from Germany, Albania, France, Italy, Serbia, Poland, Denmark, Belgium, Ukraine, and the Netherlands, who took action when so many others looked the other way. Initiating rescue activities, hiding people in orphanages, homes and more, some of these Righteous paid the ultimate price.