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  • 14 June 2019

    4.6. Lucerne, Switzerland – Polish Authorities, Holocaust survivors and members of the Polish and Jewish communities in Switzerland are set to mark the 120th birthday of Konstanty Rokicki (1899-1958), Polish wartime vice-consul in Berne, who massively fabricated Paraguayan documents to rescue Jews from the Holocaust, the Embassy of Poland in Berne said in a statement.

    “Rokicki died alone in a homeless shelter more than 60 years ago and his heroic deeds went unnoticed until very recently. We want to pay tribute to this unquestionable hero of humanity”, Ambassador Jakub Kumoch said.


    The ceremony will take place on June 16 at noon at the Lucerne Friedenthal cemetery where Rokicki’s gravestone was restored in 2018. It will co-incide with a recent decision by the Israeli Yad Vashem institute to grant the diplomat the title of Righteous Among the Nations. Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin as well as members of Rokicki family are expected to attend the ceremony.


    Konstanty Rokicki, second lieutenant of the Polish Army and veteran of the independence war (1918-20), served in Berne as vice-consul between 1939 and 1945. He is best known for having illegally purchased and manually filled out thousands of passports and confirmations of citizenship of Paraguay.


    Rokicki acted under the direct command of the Polish wartime envoy, Ambassador Aleksander Ładoś and his deputy Stefan Ryniewicz and in full co-operation with his Jewish subordinate Julius Kuhl and representatives of the World Jewish Congress and Agudath Yisrael organization.


    The plot, known as the Ładoś Group or Bernese Group, also acquired and forged documents of Honduras, Haiti and Peru. Recent historical research show that at least 8,000 people from all around Europe were in possession of these protective papers during the Holocaust. They protected many of their owners from being sent to Nazi death camps. Instead they were often interned as citizens of neutral countries.


    The Ładoś List, which contains almost 3,200 names, is set to be published in September this year. Among many hundreds of identified Jewish passport survivors, nearly 300 were Polish, 220 Dutch, 195 German and 22 Austrian. Other survivors were from prewar Czechoslovakia, France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Mandatory Palestine and Lithuania.


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