The Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament established that 2021 will be the year of the Ładoś Group, to commemorate the efforts of the Polish diplomats and their associates who helped rescue Jews from the Holocaust by forging Latin American passports.
The resolution about establishing 2021 as the year of the Ładoś Group was supported by 446 MPs, two were against and one abstained.
The Ładoś Group was a Polish-Jewish organisation during WWII. It dealt in the mass-forging of documents in an attempt to save European Jews from the Nazi German death camps. It was centred on the Polish consulate in Bern, Switzerland.
Headed by Aleksander Ładoś, Poland’s ambassador to Switzerland during the war, the group was composed of Polish diplomats and Jewish activists. It forged Latin American, predominantly Paraguayan passports, which were then smuggled into Nazi German-occupied Poland. Their efforts went unknown by the broader public for decades. Last year, Poland gained access to the so-called Eiss Archive which has shed new light on the scale of the group’s work.
In December 2019 a list of names of 3,262 holders of passports issued by the Ładoś Group was presented at the Pilecki Institute in Warsaw. However, it is estimated that from 5,000 to 7,000 names of recipients of the passports remain unknown.