When France fell under the Nazi occupation, Andre and Magda Trocme did all in their power to save Jewish people from the vicious hands of the Nazis. As the Pastor of a town, Andre encouraged the people to give shelter for Jewish refugees. Even when the Vichy authorities order him to provide a list of the Jews in the town, he refused and said: "We do not know what a Jew is. We only know human beings" (Hallie, 1979, p.103).
Was his lie just? To evaluate this question I would rely on Immanuel Kant 's deontology that state we should treat humans as an end and never merely as means. After explaining it, I will argue that lying to the Vichy authorities was the right thing to do because the value of life is higher than the duty not to lie. I will defend this argument by discussing one of the critiques on deontology.
The goal of deontology is to find a categorical, unconditional imperative that will enable the creation of universal laws of nature, legislated by rational and free beings. The categorical imperative is formal, while the substance is decided by the person. The idea is that by a process of reasoning, one can check his intuitions and desires and see if they can become a general rule for moral behavior.
Kant bases his theory on three main concepts: the good will, the duty and the law. The moral worth of an action is measured in its intention. If the intention was of a good will, so the action is just, regardless of the consequences. Though, while good will is