A Principled Principal
The Fellowship | March 28, 2018
Having taught at a public school in Paris since 1920, Joseph Migneret took over as principal of the school in the city’s Jewish Quarter shortly before the Nazis overtook France and began persecuting, deporting, and murdering the country’s Jews.
When the Nazis occupied the country in 1942, they began a massive roundup of the Jews who lived in Migneret’s neighborhood. The kindly principal was horrified to see his former and current pupils dragged from their homes, jailed in horrific conditions, and deported to extermination camps. Migneret dedicated himself for the rest of the war to saving as many Jews as he possibly could.
First, he joined the resistance and began providing false identification papers to Jewish people who were ready to flee. He also provided shelter to Jewish families. Sarah Traube, who had been one of Migneret’s students, hid for almost two years in the principal’s home. Shlomo Fisher, another of Migneret’s charges, also hid in his home until he could be whisked to safety.
One of Migneret’s former students, a fourteen-year-old Jewish boy named Joseph Schulman, was deported to Auschwitz. Schulman was able to escape the transport, but was seriously wounded in the process and caught. Migneret visited the boy while he was being held and world to obtain his release.
While Joseph Migneret passed away shortly after World War II, his selfless actions were not forgotten. Yad Vashem recognized him as Righteous Among the Nations in 1990.