|A Catholic School Opens its Doors
Lucien Bunel, or “Father Jacques” as he was known by everybody, was a Carmelite priest and the director of a Catholic boarding school for boys in Avon, France.
During the Nazi occupation, Father Jacques made the courageous decision to open the institution’s doors. Three young Jewish boys were admitted to the school at no cost, where they lived and studied under false names. While the boys had initially been sent by an underground rescue operation to live across the street from the school and attend as day students, Father Jacques insisted they must board on school property, where they would be safer.
In 1944, following an informer’s tip, the Gestapo invaded the school and arrested the three Jewish boys and Father Jacques. The boys were deported to Auschwitz, where they were killed. Father Jacques was interned in Mauthausen, and though he survived until the liberation, he died just days after.
It was reported to Yad Vashem that shortly before his arrest, Father Jacques said: “I am sometimes accused of imprudence; I am told that since I am responsible for the children at the Petit College, I do not have the right to expose myself to possible arrest by the Germans. But do you not think that, if that happened and, if per chance I should be killed, I would thereby bequeath to my students an example worth far more than all the teaching I could give?”
More details on yadvashem.org