Rescuing Jews was coordinated action of Polish diplomacy: experts

Jewish Community Centre JW3 in London hosted a discussion panel about the role of Polish diplomacy in rescuing Jews during WWII.

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Among the speakers were Mordecai Paldiel, who for many years had been head of Righteous Department at Yad Vashem Institute, Professor Antony Polonsky, specialist in the history of Polish-Jewish relations and the main consultant of the permanent exhibition in Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews, and Wojciech Kozłowski, director of The Pilecki Institute. The discussion was chaired by a journalist Jenni Frazer.

The Polish Ambassador to UK, Arkady Rzegocki said during the opening of the discussion that deeds of Polish diplomats have to be remembered, especially now, when there are attempts at falsifying the real history of WWII.

Mr Paldiel spoke about the so-called “Ładoś group” also known as “Bernese Group: operating in Bern, Switzerland. Members of the group, led by the ambassador, Aleksander Ładoś, were forging Latin-American passports in order to save Jews.

He also announced that he sent a report to Yad Vashem about recognising Mr Ładoś and his deputy, Stefan Ryniewicz as the Righteous Among the Nations.

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“Apart from the ‘Bernese group’, there were other Polish diplomats who helped Jews during the war,” professor Polonsky pointed out. He mentioned Tadeusz Romer, the ambassador to Japan and Tadeusz Brzeziński, the General Consul in Montreal, Canada. He also said that in November 1940, Polish government-in-exile issued a declaration guaranteeing Jews freedom and equal rights in the future, liberated Poland.

Mr Kozłowski spoke about the activities of The Pilecki Institute. “We conduct research about the higher number of Polish diplomats who were involved in similar endeavours and it looks like we will be able to speak about coordinated activities, not only those of Ładoś, but the whole campaign run under the supervision of the government-in-exile,” the director of The Pilecki Institute said.

During WWII, the Polish authorities based in London tried to conduct many activities to support and rescue Jews endangered by the Holocaust conducted by the Nazi Germans, including forging passports, issuing visas, and supplying financial and food support by the “Żegota” Council to Aid Jews.

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