History of ‘Bernese Group’ to be promoted in the US

At a meeting at the Polish consulate in New York City, Jakub Kumoch, the Polish ambassador to Switzerland told the story of “Bernese group,” a group of Polish diplomats who forged passports to save Jews during WWII.

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Mr Kumoch told participants of meeting that Polish Consul Konstanty Rokicki forged at least 1,056 Paraguayan passports in Switzerland for 2,200 or more people. Fifty percent of their names are already known. Kumoch estimated that thanks to Rokicki's efforts, and others of the 'Bernese Group,' at least 800 people were rescued.

Among the participants of the meeting were members of the World Jewish Congress, American Jewish Committee, and Consulate General of Israel in New York. Some of the participants spoke about the necessity of promoting the Bernese Group activities.

"As a certain piece of Holocaust history, it attracts great interest abroad. Huge interest can especially be seen in Israel, where those saved are living. They narrate these stories to journalists, who fight for the memory of our diplomats and their Jewish partners. New articles on these subjects appear from time to time," the ambassador Kumoch said.

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He also stressed that the history of the “Bernese Group” is becoming more and more popular in South America, especially in Paraguay, the country which substantially contributed to saving people's lives.

Mr Kumoch said that Paraguay was a “brave country”, which considered human's life more important than "blind application of justice,” because it has recognised the passports forged by the “Bernese Group”.

Maciej Golubiewski, the Polish General Consul to the New York City said that the Western New York Division of the Polish American Congress, along with the Kościuszko Foundation and representatives of the Polish community, have already made efforts to enrich educational materials concerning Holocaust used in the New York schools' curriculum with information of the passport forging by the “Bernese Group.”