“I am unable to serve with loyalty”
Jean Phillipe (born 1905) held various positions in the army and the police. Shortly after the collaborationist government of Vichy France signed an armistice with Germany, Phillipe joined the resistance movement and became a leading member of the Alliance network. In late 1942 he was named chief of police in the 7th arrondissement of Toulouse, the capital of the département of Haute-Garonne. He used his position to prevent the arrest of many Resistance fighters and to provide false papers to Jews. Lucien David Fayman, a member of the Jewish underground network “La Sixième”, testified after the war that police chief Jean Phillipe had helped him obtain forged identity papers with authentic police seals for delivery to young Jews whom “La Sixième” smuggled to Switzerland or placed in hiding places in France.
In January 1943, when Phillipe was ordered to submit to the Germans a list of all Jews in his precinct, he categorically refused and tendered a letter of resignation, in which he vehemently denounced Vichy government’s collaborationist policies. He added that he could not serve a regime that, in his opinion, did not represent the ideals of France, to which he had sworn allegiance. Phillipe stressed that Jews were no less entitled to life than were other citizens, including and that whoever delivered them to their murderers was a traitor, even if he was Petain (the leader of Vichy France) himself. The same day he wrote a second letter to the regional police chief in which he said: "Being too loyal to commit treachery, I believe that I can no longer assure you of my devotion….Your authority as police head will blame and repudiate me, but I have the secret conviction that your soldier's heart will understand."
Immediately after submitting his letter of resignation, Phillipe went underground and continued his resistance activity. An imprudent move on the part of his colleagues led to his arrest by the Gestapo on January 28, 1943. He was interrogated, tortured, imprisoned in Karlsruhe in Germany, and executed on March 1, 1944.
On January 2, 1995, Yad Vashem recognized Jean Phillipe as Righteous Among the Nations.