One of the largest actions to save European Jews

One of the largest actions to save European Jews

Polish diplomats conducted one of the largest rescue operations for European Jews during World War II; employees of the Polish embassy in Switzerland issued them with false passports of Latin American countries - reminds the daily "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" on the occasion of the recently issued by TVP document "Polmission: secrets of passports".

"Polmission" means the Polish Legation in Bern, one of the few operating diplomatic missions in Nazi-occupied Poland at the time, explains the German newspaper, explaining that "diplomats collaborated with the Polish government in exile in London and issued false Latin American passports."

"FAZ" recalls that the operation to save European Jews, "one of the largest at that time", became known to the world only two years ago, when the then Polish ambassador to Switzerland, Jakub Kumoch, found diplomats' documents. "The breakthrough came when Switzerland made its archives available to Polish diplomats. They also gained access to police documents," the daily reported.

The newspaper explains that employees of the Polish embassy in Bern, cooperating with the Polish government-in-exile, personally issued authentic, blank passports, handed over to them by representatives of Latin American countries, in the names of European Jews. Thanks to this action, at least several hundred Jews were saved from the Holocaust.

"FAZ" writes that the police chief in Bern admonished the Poles from the facility in 1943 not to carry out such activities in Switzerland. Polish Ambassador Aleksander Ładoś, "head of the counterfeiter's group," as the newspaper calls him, and the then Swiss Foreign Minister Marcel Pilet-Golaz argued whether genuine passport documents filled in by a third party could be considered forged.

Diplomats invented "a passport procedure to get people out of Soviet-occupied eastern Poland. Over time, more and more requests for help began pouring in from Jews from various parts of Europe through Jewish organizations," the newspaper writes.

The Warsaw correspondent of "FAZ" Gerhard Gnauck points out that the authors of the film "Polmission", led by the director Jacek Papis, managed to reach Holocaust survivors and children who survived thanks to "Paraguayan passports".

"FAZ" reports that approx. 3.5 thousand. holders of false passports, 700 of whom were saved, are known by name, and the remainder is still being sought. Additionally, approx. 7 thousand Jews survived in Switzerland thanks to Polish passports issued by Ładoś and his associates. (PAP)