Polish diplomat saved hundreds of Jews in face of adversity: Ładoś’s biographer

“Before God Looks Away” is a biography of Aleksander Ładoś a Polish ambassador to Switzerland who saved hundreds of Jews during WWII and the book’s author is Sebastian Ładoś – a relative of the courageous diplomat – who told PolandIN the story of his ancestor’s exploits.

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To watch the full interview, click here.

“In light of recent research, we know that Polish diplomats issued more than a thousand false passports of southern American states for Jews threatened by the Holocaust,” said Sebastian Ładoś, adding that “thanks to the help of the Polish diplomats more than 400 Jews were saved.”

By saying “the Polish diplomats” PolandIN’s guest meant the the Ładoś Group, also called the Bernese Group, headed by Aleksander Ładoś, Poland's ambassador to Switzerland during WWII. The group was comprised of Polish diplomats: Aleksander Ładoś, Konstanty Rokicki and Stefan Ryniewicz, and also Jewish activists Abraham Silberschein, Chaim Yisroel Eiss and Juliusz Kühl.

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That task was pulled off despite the ambiguous stance of the Swiss officials with the police carrying out an investigation of the Ładoś Group on one hand, and Switzerland’s President Marcel Pilet-Golaz discontinuing the investigation and helping the Polish diplomats on the other.

The biography’s author said Aleksander Ładoś scrutinised the development of Nazi ideology while holding the office of Poland’s Consul-General in Munich (1927-1931) and predicted that some form of atrocities that would be later known as the Holocaust, would come.

“This [Munich] period is very important in his life… because in Munich Aleksander Ładoś could observe how the Nazi movement developed,” said Sebastian Ładoś.

Therefore, Aleksander Ładoś believed that the extermination of Jews was taking place, despite himself being in Switzerland away from the centre of these terrifying developments. PolandIN’s guest said he believed that Aleksander Ładoś knew what the German Nazis were planning.

All Ładoś Group members in one picture

A joint photo of the Ładoś Group, which helped Jews escape Europe using fake passports, and the Swiss Jewry was found by Poland’s Ambassador to...

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Sebastian Ładoś’s book also sheds light on other, lesser-known activities of the group such as helping many of the 12,000 Polish soldiers who crossed the French-Swiss border after taking part in the French defensive campaign of 1940 against the invading Germans, and were interned in Switzerland. At that time, Aleksander Ładoś exerted himself to deliver medical care to these soldiers and even established universities so that they could educate themselves.