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Lecture by Polish Ambassador to Switzerland, Jakub Kumoch, delivered on 4 February 2018, at the Shoah Museum in Paris

Ladies and Gentlemen!

I would like to express my gratitude for the invitation and for the opportunity of presenting the modus operandi of the Bernese Group, diplomats who during the Second World War, in Switzerland, produced Latin American passports to save Jews from the Holocaust.

As we know, such passports after 1942 saved Jews from immediate deportation to German death camps and gave their bearers a better chance of surviving the Holocaust. Diplomats from Bern and Geneva played a decisive role in this process. Among them were staff members of the Polish Legation (embassy), including my predecessor Aleksander Ładoś. That is why I requested a worldwide search for archival documents on this issue. I would like to express my gratitude and deep respect to our diplomats who have managed to find these materials. Some of them will, I guess, be new even to you, Holocaust scholars.

1 - Dokumenty odnalezione przez zespól Ambasady RP w Szwajcarii
Documents sourced by diplomats of the Polish embassy in Switzerland.

I am standing before you today not as an author but as a civil servant who gained access to these documents while performing his duties. Some of these documents have never been seen. I want to share them with you today.

Before that, I would like to point out that numerous works on the Latin American passports have already been written, starting with the study by the Yad Vashem institute published in 1957[1] and ending with the recent revelations proven by journalists Mark MacKinnon[2], Zbigniew Parafianowicz and Michał Potocki[3]. This issue was also touched upon by certain authors who are with us today and by a researcher from the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Dr. Agnieszka Haska[4], and Jan Zieliński[5], who were the first ones to draw attention to this issue in Polish literature[6], though in a limited manner. This subject also can be found in Swiss literature,  but it is a minor topic there.

Why am I presenting the current state of research so briefly? Because I want to show you its fundamental weakness. We know that the Bernese diplomats produced passports for Jews of Polish, Dutch, and other origins. We know there was a “black market” for passports—as Zionist activist Abraham Silberschein, one of the top participants in the forgeries, admitted during his interrogation[7].  We also know that some diplomats sold or produced the passports from their respective countries for profit[8] and some acted for humanitarian or patriotic reasons[9]. My predecessor and his subordinates belong to the second group.

Until today, we have, however, not received a clear answer to two fundamental questions:

1. What was the structure of the 1941-43 passport operation? Neither, historians or journalists nor we, diplomats, have managed to unambiguously decide when the passport action was initiated and the extent to which it was coordinated. We are not able to completely reconstruct its funding and modus operandi of its non-diplomatic players, in particular the Jewish organisations that took on the smuggling of documents and fundraising. I am talking here, of course, about Vaad Hatzalah, Agudat Yisrael and RELICO.

2. We know neither the number of survivors nor the final number of issued passports. One Polish study claims there were 4,000 documents and the number of survivors at 400[10]. In 1945, Agudat Yisrael mentioned in a thank-you letter to the Polish government about “many hundreds” of survivors[11],  whereas Silberschein, in his report of 7 January 1944, stated that at that time there were 9,500 passport holders[12].  They were at detention camps and were still risked death. Several months before their liberation, the number of passport holders at Bergen-Belsen was estimated at 1,100 souls[13],  but some of them survived in other camps or in hiding. I am afraid here we are facing the same scientific challenge as the one you often confront in your work: the lack of a unique and unambiguous methodology to estimate the number of Holocaust survivors.

Historians are not to blame for the lack of answers to these questions, mainly because the action was conspiratorial. The production as well as smuggling of these passports constituted illegal activities and were concealed by the majority of Latin American consuls from their governments. Unfortunately, retrospective materials offer little help. Juliusz Kühl’s[14] autobiographical note contains only general references to the passport operation. Aleksander Ładoś announced in his unpublished memoirs that he would describe the process in detail, but he passed away in 1963 leaving the book unfinished[15].  Neither Silberschein nor, as far as I know, any of the consuls involved left any memoirs related to the operation.

What we know about the passport production comes from the following sources: the Swiss Federal Archive, the Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum in London, Archiwum Akt Nowych in Warsaw, which after the war received documentation from the Polish Legation in Bern, as well as what is known as the Juliusz Kühl[16] Archive, donated to the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington after Kühl’s death. There is also an incredibly interesting private collection I am familiar with but, unfortunately, I cannot tell you more about it due to an agreement I have reached with its owners. You can see some of the passports in the Silberschein[17] Archives donated to the Yad Vashem Institute. Finally, some passports still remain in the hands of the families whose relatives were rescued. I have been in touch with several of these people since the first articles about the passport operation appeared. Almost all the documents were written in one of four languages: German, French, English, or Polish. There are also some single documents in Yiddish, Hebrew, or Spanish.

In the Polish literature, the Latin American passports are usually presented through their acquirers’ viewpoint and are often perceived as a German provocation aimed at luring Jews still in hiding in Warsaw. Even the explanation to the powerful poem Paszporty [Passports] by Władysław Szlengel, written several months before his death, during the liquidation of the ghetto, presents the documents from Paraguay, Costa Rica, Uruguay, and other Latin American states more as a myth of rescue than a viable way to it[18].  Furthermore, the production of passports was fully attributed to Jewish organisations.

Why have we gathered these materials at all? Among Swiss Jews, there was a legend about the “good Polish ambassador” and we wanted to learn the truth of it and, most of all, we wanted to exclude the possibility that any of our diplomats could have operated for personal profit. If that had been the case, we would have to be ready to face up to the difficult reality. Hence our work on reconstructing the rescue operation. Only after gathering hundreds of documents did we exclude such a possibility, but at the same time we were gradually discovering the complexity of the passport operation.

I am talking here about the aim of gathering documentation to prove its comprehensiveness.

Of particular importance are the transcripts of interviews with Rudolph Hügli[19], the Honorary Consul of Paraguay, Juliusz Kühl[20], a Polish diplomat, Chaim Eiss[21], one of the Agudat Yisrael leaders, and Silberschein[22], who was also an activist of the World Jewish Congress. All four were interrogated by Swiss police in 1943 and their testimony came down to one and the same thing: the Polish Legation invented the passport operation. The gathered materials also include correspondence between the Legation, Silberschein and Eiss, as well as—and this is their greatest treasure—traces of passport production itself, handwritten notes made by the person who produced the Paraguayan documents. No historian has ever written about this diplomat before and I will tell you about him in a minute.

When did the Latin American passports appear?

It is commonly agreed that the first Latin American passport, issued to a Jew from the Warsaw Ghetto, is the one given to Guta Eisenzweig, obtained in the autumn of 1941 by her future husband, a member of the influential Swiss Jewish Sternbuch family[23].  However, there is a contradiction in the notion this was the first passport and the words of Guta Sternbuch herself, who wrote in her autobiography that to obtain the document her future family contacted Kühl, then an employee of the Polish Legation and a Jew from southern Poland[24].  Kühl, interrogated by the police in January 1943, stated that the idea occurred at the end of 1939 and the beginning of 1940, and that the passports were used to get several dozen influential Jews out of the Soviet Union[25]. 

2 - Jeden z wydanych paszportów
Guta Eisenzweig’s Paraguayan passport from 1941

To provide you with the context, I will remind you of some facts: In September 1939, Poland was invaded by Germany and the Soviet Union, and then divided into two zones. Both were inhabited by Jewish communities; however, in the Soviet zone there was also a large group of Jewish refugees from German-occupied territories. These people were tolerated by the Soviets, but they were not allowed to leave the former Polish territory. This resulted in their actual incarceration in the limited space. Those who had given distinguished service to Poland were under threat of violent Soviet persecution and deportation to Siberia, exactly like the non-Jewish population of the territory. According to Kühl, Latin American passports were created to allow them to leave the USSR as foreigners. In this way, an unspecified number of people, usually believed to be no more than 30, went to Japan[26].  Presumably, the same way of obtaining a passport was used in the case of Miss Eisenzweig in 1941.

I hypothesize that Kühl passed this pattern on to numerous Jewish communities, who would then make the effort to obtain the passports on their own account. This would have alarmed the Polish Legation, as the operation was carried out in a chaotic and unprofessional manner, and the price of a single passport was exorbitant—Latin American consuls, all members of the influential Bernese lawyer elite—demanded 1,000 or even 2,000 contemporary francs for a single document[27].  The lack of professionalism, such as producing passports without proficiency and using the wrong seals, as was the case with one of the consuls, would have risked the life of the other passport holders to a great extent.

In those circumstances, in 1942, Silberschein joined the operation. A member of the Polish pre-war Sejm and a lawyer from Lwów (Southern Poland, now Lviv in Ukraine). He managed to leave for Geneva before the war. Initially, Silberschein helped Jewish refugees in Switzerland. In 1942, he was visited by two Polish diplomats. One of them was Stefan Ryniewicz, a deputy of the Polish envoy in Bern. The following quotation describing the meeting comes from an interview with Silberschein, who was briefly arrested in September 1943:

“It was a case of a real ‘black market’ in passports. Those gentlemen of the Legation made known to me their desire that I should take charge of the matter; I accepted the proposal in the name of ‘RELICO’”[28] 

Silberschein testified that generally, Latin American honorary consuls worked for profit and Poles treated them like service providers. He would either hand the money to the consuls himself or ask the Poles to “organise” the passports and to handle the bribe themselves. The most important things were the lists of beneficiaries’ names along with their photos. Silberschein probably preferred to entrust them with the Polish diplomats rather than run the risk that a corrupt consul would turn out to be a police informant.

3 - Korespondencja konsula Rokickiego
Testimony of Abraham Silberschein, September 1943.

Therefore, Silberschein provided the Poles with the lists of persons and their photos. A Zurich-based orthodox rebbe Chaim Eiss, operated in a similar way. On some occasions, Poles acted as intermediaries, ensuring diplomatic protection. Documents from Honduras, Bolivia, and Haiti were obtained this way. Passports from El Salvador were received for free, as Consul Castellanos allowed his Jewish co-worker George Mandel-Mantello, a free hand to help rescue his brethren. Paraguay constitutes a special case: its honorary consul, Rudolph Hügli, did not write the passports himself. Practically all Paraguayan passports were not but Polish fakes.

What was the practice like? 

I will show you the process of producing the Paraguayan passports based on police reports and a document I am going to present in a minute.

Hügli owned a mansion in Helvetiaplatz, around 500 metres from the Polish consulate[29].  He would be visited by Mr Kühl, who collected blank passports and took them to the Polish consulate[30]. What happened next? In this picture we can see one of the documents. Note that the person, who entered as a child, lives today in Zurich.

4 - Jeden z paszportów
Passport issued to German Jews from Holland: Mr. Joseph Strauss, his wife and child.

Other passports are written by the same hand. This is a very specific calligraphy with original numbers—one can notice that the numbers are written in an unwonted way: note the “4” and “5,” the “9” without the swash, and the “1” as a vertical line with a careful “2” contrasting with it.

5

Now, let me show you a document that has never been described by anyone.

First, I will compare the passport number with a handwritten note found in the Silberschein archive, constituting a part of a letter he received from the Polish Legation. The numbers in both documents are written by the same hand.

6

The document contains the consul’s remarks on list number 1503 sent by Dr. Silberschein.

“Is she a Miss or a Mrs [...] letter cannot be written without the name.”

The person who made the remark is the author of the Paraguayan passports and, in all likelihood, the direct rescuer. At the bottom of the document, we see the words “Pana Doktora” (“Mister Doctor”)—this is how the Poles would address Silberschein.

7

The notation technique used here, which I am going to compare with another note, is specific. Its author is the same person. However, at the bottom of the document there is a signature which belongs to Consul Konstanty Rokicki. Surely, most of you have never heard this name before.

8

Rokicki was born in Warsaw in 1899. He was a cavalry lieutenant who received two awards for bravery during Poland’s wars of independence (1918-1920)[31]. He joined the consular service and worked as a consul in Riga, Minsk, and Cairo[32]. We know that he was married and had a daughter, born in 1938, who was a UN employee in Geneva before she died several years later[33]. Rokicki passed away in Lucerne in 1958[34], leaving no written memoirs.

9 - Konstanty Rokicki
Konsanty Rokicki

According to another hypothesis, Kühl was the one who would fill out the passports. In light of the documents presented here, this hypothesis does not stand. Most correspondence between Eiss and Silberschein was carried on via Rokicki[35]. No wonder, Rokicki was an experienced consul, whereas Kühl, a remarkable organiser and businessman, had no consular experience. The passports themselves were too valuable to be given to an unexperienced person to risk their damage.

10
Correspondence between Chaim Eiss and Abraham Silberschein with Consul Rokicki

After the passports were filled out, Kühl would deliver them back to Hügli to sign and seal them, make copies of them, and, finally, as a notary, he certified that they constituted true copies of the original documents.  This is what the Swiss police state in a report drawn up from an interrogation of both of them.

What happened next? Hügli concluded an agreement with the Poles—thus with Silberschein—that no passport would leave Switzerland[36]. The original documents would be given to Eiss and Silberschein, who were obliged to keep them in their safes and to destroy them immediately were the war over. The copies certified by Hügli[37] were given to Jewish organisations and they smuggled to occupied Poland, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Slovakia and other countries, where they would be passed on to their recipients.

Hügli was afraid he would be exposed. He seemed to believe that he was safe as long as none of the passports left Switzerland. He may have also believed that the case did not concern Switzerland and that the forgery took place in exterritorial space. This conviction would be continuously strengthened by the Poles. This is a note written by the Swiss foreign minister following the meeting with my predecessor, Aleksander Ładoś[38], in October 1943. Ładoś protested against surveillance of Polish diplomats and interference with the passport production. He threatened Switzerland that the Polish government would create a scandal over this case if Switzerland did not turn a blind eye to this practice. Ładoś would justify his attitude by saying that this case did not concern Switzerland at all, as it concerned Poland and Paraguay[39]. 

11

There were also fears that the mass arrival of passport holders in Switzerland would alarm the federal authorities and lead to exposure. In 1943, there were signals coming from Germany that the action had been successful and that the majority of passport holders had survived the liquidation of ghettos in 1942-43. Ładoś was aware of the existence of the Vittel internment camp and he would alert the Polish government in exile about the necessity of exerting pressure on Latin American states. Poland advocated the following solution: “Latin American” Jews should be traded for Germans interned by the Allies. At one point, the German MFA was also interested in that. However, there was no consent from the Allies, in particular, the U.S., which believed that such an exchange would lead to infiltration by smuggled German spies. Stefan Ryniewicz, Ładoś’ deputy, intervened in that matter and below you can see a transcript of his conversation with police chief Heinrich Rothmund, in which he refers to the arrangements made with the U.S. diplomats.

12

The role of Poles in the production of Honduran passports is unclear. The documents were filled out by the consul, Anton Bauer, but Rokicki could have been involved in bribing and handling of the lists of beneficiaries and their photos. In the following letter to Rokicki, dated 27 May 1943, Silberschein informs him that he is coming to Bern the following day and asks him to obtain several passports. Below, you can also see one Honduran passport, found in Silberschein’s archive, which was filled out on the same day. We presume that this letter was sent from Geneva and that Rokicki went to the Honduran consul’s seat in Marktgasse on the same day.

13-15

We have very few documents related to the consul of Peru, Jose Barreto, who was honoured as Righteous Among the Nations and who had issued 28 passports before the practice came to light, leading to his dismissal.

It is evident from the documents that the Polish deputy head of mission, Stefan Ryniewicz, made an intervention to ‘rescue’ Barreto. Below, you can see his letter to Silberschein in which he states that the Peruvians do not want to revise their decision. At the same time, Ryniewicz informs Silberschein that Barreto had committed procedural errors. There is some evidence of an argument between Ryniewicz and Silberschein related to this matter. They would apologise to each other for that afterwards. The Poles reproached Silberschein for acting on his own, which resulted, according to them, in a hitch, and that is how he lost one of the passport sources.

16

It is worth saying a few words about Ryniewicz, who has not been really mentioned by historians yet. He was a friend of Rokicki, with whom he worked for the legation in Riga. Ryniewicz was born in Tarnopol (today’s Ukraine) in 1903. In the 1920s, he started working for the foreign service. He held the position of consul and worked in Bern twice—during the second period, he worked as the head of the political department and deputy head of the legation[40]. When the war was over, he emigrated to France, and then, to Argentina, where he became a citizen. In 1987, Ryniewicz died in Buenos Aires. His family still lives in Argentina and the U.S. [41]. 

17 - Stefan Ryniewicz
Stefan Ryniewicz

It should be noted also that after Barreto’s release, the Peruvian Legation demanded that he give them a list of those who had obtained passports from him. It turns out that neither Barreto nor Silberschein had the list and it was in the possession of the Polish Legation. It is unclear to me why, but it strongly suggests that the role of the Polish Legation in producing non-Paraguayan passports was much bigger than we had believed. Probably, the Poles and Silberschein decided that the passports were safer in the legation than in the WJC’s Geneva office.

18

The question of the Polish government-in-exile’s attitude towards the activity of its diplomats is of considerable significance. Did Ładoś, Ryniewicz, Kühl, and Rokicki—the four individuals unequivocally identified by us as rescuers—act in line with government instruction, or, as did the consuls from several Latin American countries, they act contrary to a prohibition? This is a huge and complex question. Most of all, though, let us not lose sight of the fundamental issue: the consuls of Peru, El Salvador, and the Honduras represented functioning states that maintained relations with Germany and were recognised by all parties to the Second World War. Ładoś, Ryniewicz, Rokicki, and Kühl were diplomats representing a state without territory, reported to a government based in London, and the sending of documents involved the risk of exposure. Presumably, that’s why my predecessor did not inform the government about forging other countries’ passports. He undertook the risk of being deemed persona non grata, or maybe even being expulsed from Switzerland. He knew perfectly the case of one Polish diplomat expulsed in 1940 for smuggling Polish soldiers[42], so at least he had to bear in mind such a prospect. No cable sent from Bern to London contains any information about forging passports by the diplomats.

The government only learnt about it from Jews during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and in May 1943, it sent the following cable to Ładoś: “For strict humanitarian reasons, we feel obliged to make far-reaching concessions”—this is one of the strongest statements related to the passport operation. It was post factum approval.

19

Ładoś did not receive this telegram until December 1943, when the passport operation was practically over. This document was also drawn up when many of the passports had already been produced. Hügli’s exequatur was withdrawn in the autumn of 1943, Barreto was dismissed, several states categorically refused to recognise the documents, and most Polish Jews were murdered in German extermination camps or during the liquidation of the ghettoes. The fight to rescue those held in internment camps was—as Ładoś reasonably concludes—the only thing he could get involved in. Below, you can see a document dated 4 January 1944, in which Ładoś demands the intervention.

20

The diplomatic action was continued in relation to Paraguay and El Salvador. Eventually, both countries recognised the passports, but for their numerous holders it was too late. From the spring of 1944, Germans would systematically deport prisoners from the Vittel internment camp to Auschwitz. Out of 200-300 people, only a dozen survived. More people survived in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, even though some would die during the typhus epidemic that broke out before liberation. There are three other camps mentioned in Silberschein’s document dated 7 January 1944: Tittmoning, Liebenau, and Bölsenberg[43]. 

The number of survivors is unknown, and we have to accept that we may never know it. Here is a letter from Agudat Yisrael thanking Ładoś, Rokicki, Kühl, and Ryniewicz for their actions. This letter mentions the successful rescue of “many hundreds of people”[44]. 

21

There is one methodological question that is also important here: what does it mean to be a survivor? Undoubtedly, the passports could have played a significant role in saving their holders from deportation to Auschwitz and Treblinka in 1942 and 1943. The passports prolonged their holder’s life but much depended on the place where they were sent. People were highly unlikely to survive in Vittel, but the probability of surviving seems to have been higher in other camps. I presume also that there were an unspecified number of people who used the passports but later decided to go into hiding. Therefore, we cannot say that the passports saved their lives, as they constituted only one factor in their survival. This group is probably very small: for no Paraguayan or Honduran passport has ever been found in Poland. However, it should be noted that Silberschein met passport holders when he was in Warsaw in May 1946[45].  I presume that these people mainly survived did so as “internees”.

And finally, we have the group of people who were the beneficiaries of the Latin American passports whose survival was affected by other factors. The passports constituted, somewhat, their last resort. We do not know the number of them, as we do not know the number of such passports[46]. 

In my public speeches, in the absence of other methods, I note with caution that there were “many hundreds” of survivors, since it was mentioned in the letter of thanks from Agudat Yisrael, but I also assume that this number is bigger, since there were other sources from which passports could have been obtained (in particular, the network created by Silberschein). 

I owe you one more explanation. Why am I showing you all these documents only in 2018, 75 years after the passport operation? What is the reason apart from the very few studies dedicated to this subject, that no monograph has ever been written and the Polish state has never published these documents? 

I think the answer is quite simple. The communist government that took over the legation in Bern in 1945 believed that any commemoration of non-Communist diplomats was contrary to its interests, and in relation to the Holocaust, it adopted a strategy of including such commemoration in the general “suffering of the Polish nation”, so it neglected the memory of both the victims and the rescuers. Only in a democratic Poland is the memory of the Holocaust, showing both the painful and meritorious pages of its history, able to be recalled. The memory I have presented to you today was only known to a small number of specialists in Poland until the summer of 2017, and the two figures—Ryniewicz and Rokicki—were not mentioned at all.

I also draw your attention to the fact that all heroes from the Bernese Group, that is Silberschein, Ładoś, Eiss, Rokicki, Kühl, and Ryniewicz, as well as their collaborators and other rescuers, Castellanos, Mandel-Mantello, Archbishop Bernardini—let us not forget that the Papal Nuncio supported the operation, even though he did not produce passports himself, Barreto, and the consuls who would sell the passports, operated in deep conspiracy. Therefore, according to one conspiratorial rule, each was convinced of playing a particular role. Hence, the significant role played by Kühl[47] and Eiss[48] in Jewish journalism, whereas Ładoś has been ignored and Rokicki has been totally unknown. In Polish journalism, in turn, Ładoś is presented as the main hero[49], whereas Eiss and Silberschein are only his customers. In light of the documents I have presented here both depictions are false.

The Bernese Group was a Polish-Jewish conspiracy, and the production of passports included their manufacturing, raising funds from the Polish state treasury, the Sternbuch family, the World Jewish Congress and from other sources, and then the smuggling of documents.

Poland was, to my knowledge, the only Ally whose legation backed the attempt to save Jews and took on the production of some of the documents. The U.S. legation, among others, strongly objected to it for most of its time[50]. However, the action would have been totally pointless if it had not been for Silberschein, Eiss, and the Jewish organisations that managed to create the networks of document smugglers, which, in turn, would not exist if Poland had not been in favour of it. I note that they were ultimately uncovered by the Swiss police, but owing to the diplomatic intervention made by the Poles in Silberschein’s defence, combined with the diplomatic skills of Ładoś and Ryniewicz, the government in Bern decided that the Jews would not face any consequences. Despite pleading “guilty”, Silberschein was neither indicted nor expelled from Switzerland after the end of the war. No measures were taken either against Kühl, whose diplomatic status was not recognised[51]. What was demanded was his dismissal, but this was dismissed after Ładoś’ refusal.

The Polish Legation and the Silberschein’s and Eiss’s organisations constitute, according to one hypothesis, the core of the passport production process.

Under this scheme, the Latin American consuls were mainly service providers, the passports they would sell for gain or, in one or two cases, for humanitarian reasons. This group includes, among others, Consul Castellanos and his Jewish subordinate Mandel-Mantello, who, like Kühl and his Polish colleagues, did not take money[52]. 

Being fully aware of the deficiencies of this presentation, which had to be limited to the activity of the diplomats, without elaborating on the financing and smuggling of the documents, I call for the farthest-reaching research into the Bernese passports and promise to give you access to the materials we possess. I think that a general request made to the governments of other states, in particular, the Latin American ones, to make their documents related to this remarkable action also available to you, would not be out of order.

I know that Polish scholarship, cinematography, and literature do not consider this subject to be closed. A book on the passports is being written at the moment, and the development of at least three films, including two documentaries, are in the works as well. I believe this is just the beginning. Every historian who wants to delve deeper into this matter will receive all necessary assistance from me.

Thank you!




[1] N. Eck, “The Rescue of Jews with the Aid of Passports and Citizenship Papers of Latin American States,” Yad Vashem Studies, 1957, Iss. No. 1, pp. 125-152.
[2] M. MacKinnon, “‘He should be as well-known as Schindler’: Documents reveal Canadian citizen Julius Kühl as Holocaust hero,’ Daily Globe and Mail, 7 August 2017.
[3] M. Potocki, Z. Parafianowicz, “Polak na polecenie rządu ratował Żydów od Holocaustu. Świat się o tym nie dowiedział,” Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, 8 August 2017.
[4] A. Haska, “‘Proszę Pana Ministra o energiczną interwencję’: Aleksander Ładoś (1891–1963) i ratowanie Żydów przez Poselstwo RP w Bernie,” Zagłada Żydów. Studia i Materiały, 2015, pp. 299-309.
[5] J. Zieliński, “Lista posła Ładosia i doktora Kühla,” Zeszyty Literackie, No. 4, 2000, pp. 157-167.
[6] P. Stauffer, “Polacy, Żydzi, Szwajcarzy,” PIW, 2008; J. Picard, La Suisse et les juifs, 1933–1945: antisémitisme suisse, défense du judaïsme, politique internationale envers les émigrants et les réfugiés, Editions d'en bas, 2001.
[7] “Audition de Abraham Silberschein: de 1er Septembre 1943,” dossier A. Silberschein, Archives fédérales suisses, C 16/2032.
[8] Ibidem.
[9] “Verantwortlichkeit einzelner Beamten der Polnischen Gesandschaft in der Passfälschungesache Hügli, 9 August 1943,” Archives fédérales suisses, B23.22.Parag-OV, “Ansicht über ein Gesuch der Aufthenhaltsverlängerung, 3 Dezember 1946,” dossier K. Rokicki, B.22.21.Pol –CG.
[10] D. Drywa, “Działalność Poselstwa RP w Bernie na rzecz polsko-żydowskich uchodźców w latach 1939–1945,” in: W. Grabowski (ed.), Okupowana Europa. Podobieństwa i różnice, Institute of National Remembrance, 2014, p. 118.
[11] Letter: H. Goodman to M. Lachs, January 1945, Agudat World Organisation.
[12] “A note by the RELICO Committee,” 7 January 1944, Yad Vashem, archive of A. Silberschein, M 20/20.
[13] Yad Vashem, archive of A. Silberschein, M 20/155.
[14] Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, Dr. Julius Kühl Collection, 1935-1982.
[15] Unpublished diaries of A. Ładoś, Wojskowe Biuro Badań Historycznych, Vol. III.
[16] Julius Kühl collection, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 1988.003, RG-27.001.
[17] Yad Vashem, archive of A. Silberschein, M 20/166.
[18] W. Szlengel, “Paszporty,” Selected Poems II, www.zchor.org.
[19] “Notiz in Sachen Rudolf Hügli, geb. 13 Juni 1872, 4 August 1943,” Archives fédérales suisses, dossier R. Hügli, B.23.22.Parag-OV.
[20] Ibidem
[21] “Abhörungsprtokoll von Eiss Israel, geb. 16. 9. 76., 13 Mai 1943,” Archives fédérales suisses, dossier R. R. Hügli, E 4320 (B) 1990/266.
[22] “Audition de Abraham Silberschein: de 1er Septembre 1943,” Archives fédérales suisses, dossier A. Silberschein, C 16/2032.
[23] M. Potocki, Z. Parafianowicz, op. cit.
[24] G. Sternbuch, D. Kranzler, “Gutta: Memories of a Vanished World. A Bais Yaakov Teacher’s Poignant Account of the War Years with a Historical Overview,” Feldheim Publishers, 2005, p. 97.
[25] “Notiz in Sachen Rudolf Hügli,” op. cit.
[26] Ibidem.
[27] Ibidem.
[28] “Audition de Abraham Silberschein,” op. cit.
[29] “Bericht über dir Tätigkeit von Notar Rudolf Hügli, Helvetiaplatz 5 in Bern, in seiner Eigenschaft als Konsul der Republik, Paraguay, 1 Juni 1943,” Archives fédérales suisses, dossier R. Hügli, 0 101/80/MY.
[30] Ibidem.
[31] Obituary of K. Rokicki, Życie Warszawy, July 1958.
[32] The correspondence between the First Secretary of the Polish embassy in Bern, Jędrzej Uszyński, and the Bureau of Archives and Information Management of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, 14 July 2017.
[33] Obituary of Wanda Rokicka, www.hommages.ch.
[34] “Todesbescheiningung nr 578 von Konstantin Rokicka [original spelling],” Zivilstadamt Luzern, 18 July 1958.
[35] Copies of correspondence between Eiss and Silberschein from spring and summer 1943 are held by the Polish Legation in Bern.
[36] “Audition de Abraham Silberschein,” op. cit.
[37] “Notiz in Sachen Rudolf Hügli,” op. cit.
[38] “Notice du Chef du Département politique, M. Pilet-Golaz, Berne,” 13 October 1943, Documents diplomatiques Suisses, https://dodis.ch.
[39] Ibidem.
[40] “Passeport diplomatique de Stefan Ryniewicz,” Archives fédérales suisses, dossier S. Ryniewicz, 495/480/40.
[41] Exchange of correspondence between the First Secretary of the embassy of the Republic of Poland in Bern, Jędrzej Uszyński, and Patricia van Ryn, Alexandra MacMurdo Reiter and Janek Ryniewicz on 30 October–4 November 2017.
[42] “Notice du 4 juillet 1940,” Archives fédérales suisses, dossier S. Radziwill.
[43] “A note by the RELICO committee,” op. cit.
[44] Letter: H. Goodman to M. Lachs, 12 January 1945, Agudat World Organisation, the Sikorski Institute in London, Ref. No. 67/45.
[45] Letter: From A. Silberschein to A. Schwartzbaum, 9 May 1946, Yad Vashem, archive of A. Silberschein, M 20/48.
[46] According to estimates by the embassy of the Republic of Poland, Consul Rokicki issued at least three series of passports with the following reference numbers: 42, 43, and B/43. These passports have ascending serial numbers placed in the top right corner. The highest number found for series 42 is 341/42, for series 43 it is 572/43, and for series B/43, it is 143/B/43. In total, that equates to at least 1,056 passports. On average, there are 2.1 people entered into each passport. This has allowed us to hypothesise that there were at least 2,200 people entered into the Paraguayan passports. However, the existence of other lists cannot be excluded. Furthermore, for several thousand people, Rokicki obtained only certificates of Paraguayan citizenship, without producing passports. We still do not know how many people used these documents in the end. 
[47] M.N. Penkower, The Jews Were Expendable: Free World diplomacy and the Holocaust, University of Illinois Press, 1983, pp. 68-71, 190, 201, 204, 209-210, 253, 247, 250-251, 255, 257-258, 261, 287; D. Kranzler, The Heroine of Rescue: The Incredible Story of Recha Sternbuch, Mesorah Publications Ltd.,1984; D. Kranzler, The Brother’s Blood: The Orthodox Jewish Response During the Holocaust, Mesorah Publications Ltd., 1987, pp. 195, 200-203; Y. Israel, Rescuing the Rebbe of Belz: Belzer Chassidus—History, Rescue and Rebirth, Artscroll, 2005, pp. 358, 416.
[48] S. Goldfinger, “Reb Chaim Yisroel Eiss, the Man at the Center of Orthodoxy's World War II Rescue Activities,” Dei’ah Vedibur, 9 August 2004; Ch. Shalem, “‘Remember there are not many Eisses now in the Swiss market.’ Assistance and Rescue Endeavors of Chaim Yisrael Eiss in Switzerland,” Yad Vashem Studies, 2005, No. 33, pp. 347–349.
[49] J. Zieliński, “Lista posła Ładosia i doktora Kühla,” Zeszyty Literackie, No. 4, 2000, pp. 157-167; D. Drywa, “Działalność Poselstwa RP w Bernie na rzecz polsko-żydowskich uchodźców w latach 1939–1945”, in: W. Grabowski (ed.), op. cit.; A. Haska, op. cit.; M. Potocki, Z. Parafianowicz, op. cit.
[50] “A note by the RELICO Committee,” op. cit.
[51] “Note de Département fédéral de justice et police de 30e décembre 1943,” Archives fédérales suisses, N42/47WI.
[52] “Ansicht über ein Gesuch der Aufthenhaltsverlängerung, Dezember 1946,” Archives fédérales suisses, dossier K. Rokicki, B.22.21.Pol –CG-, 3.



 
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