Index of thousands saved by Ładoś Group published

The Ładoś List documents the efforts of the group of Polish diplomats in Switzerland headed by Aleksander Ładoś and Jewish organizations which conducted a large operation that consisted of handing fabricated Latin-American passports to Jews in order to save them from death in the Holocaust. The list is published today – on December 12, 2019 – by the Pilecki Institute.

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The index consists of 3,262 names of people who received forged Latin-American passports fabricated by the Ładoś Group headed by Aleksander Ładoś, Poland's ambassador to Switzerland during the war, comprising of Polish diplomats Konstanty Rokicki, Stefan Ryniewicz, and Jewish activists Abraham Silberschein, Chaim Yisroel Eiss, Juliusz Kühl.

“This list is groundbreaking as it demonstrates the Polish State and the Polish government-in-exile’s participation in the salvation of the Jewish population sentenced to death,” the head of Pilecki Institute Wojciech Kozłowski told Polish Radio, adding that the composition of the index is the fruit of the Pilecki Institute’s collaboration with the Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), the Jewish Historical Institute, the Polish Embassy in Berne and the state Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum - Former German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp.

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The putting together of the index was done using scientific methods and Jakub Kumoch, Polish Ambassador to Switzerland, is one of the authors of the Ładoś List.

During the scientific research that is the foundation of the seminal publication, it was revealed that the Ładoś Group was closely cooperating with the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and Agudat Israel in 1941-1943. The group was illegally purchasing and fabricating passports and proofs of citizenship of Paraguay, Honduras, Haiti and Peru.

These documents were acquired from, among others, honorary consuls representing Latin-American states in Switzerland. They increased their holders’ chances of surviving WWII because “citizens of third countries” were placed by the Germans on the lists of people marked for replacement. Such people were then redirected to internment camps and not death camps.

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However, the co-author of the list Monika Maniewska told Polish Radio that the Ładoś Group’s mission “was not about saving Poles alone. People from other countries are found on the list. Dutch people, Germans and other nationals abound on the list.”

Ms Maniewska stressed that the publication of the Ładoś List is an introduction to further research because, according to researchers, the Ładoś Group issued approximately 8,000 passports. “In terms of archives, we have reached a dead-end,” said Ms Maniewska, adding that viewing private archives could prove helpful for the broadening of the list.

Apart from Ambassador Jakub Kumoch and Monika Maniewska, the publication is co-authored by the 1st Secretary of the Polish Embassy in Berne Jędrzej Uszyński and Bartłomiej Zygmunt od the Pilecki Institute.

The list will also be made available on the net.

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