Poland obtains WWII archive showing efforts to save Jews

Poland obtains archive that documents efforts by Polish diplomats to get Jews out of Europe.

Arutz Sheva Staff and JTA,

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Flag of Poland
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Poland has obtained a World War II-era archive that documents efforts by Polish diplomats to get Jews out of Europe by issuing fake passports from Latin American countries, JTA reported on Tuesday.

The Eiss archive shows that 330 people survived the Holocaust due to the efforts of the Polish diplomats based in Switzerland, and another 387 were killed despite having the forged passports. The fate of 430 others is not known.

Poland’s Culture Ministry and the Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum negotiated with a private owner in Israel for the archive for the past year, the museum said in a statement.

The statement calls the archive “irrefutable proof that Poles, the Polish state, and its representatives systemically and institutionally were involved in saving Jews during World War II.”

“The activities of the then-Polish diplomats in Switzerland, newly discovered and documented, can be an inspiration for historians, but also for writers, filmmakers, and creators of culture,” it added, according to JTA.

The rescue effort was led by the Polish ambassador to Switzerland, Aleksander Lados, as well as three other Polish diplomats and two representatives of Jewish organizations. The archive is named for Rabbi Chaim Eiss, one of the Jewish activists, who died of a heart attack in late 1943. The documents reportedly came to Israel with one of Eiss’ descendants after World War II.

The collection includes eight of the false Paraguayan passports; photos of Jews requesting the passports; and letters between the Polish diplomats and Jewish organizations. It also includes a list of Jewish children in Warsaw orphanages.

The documents, which will be displayed at first in Bern, Switzerland, will become part of the collection at the Auschwitz museum next year. They will be subject to conservation and thoroughly analyzed by archivists and historians once they arrive at the museum.

Earlier this year, Poland approved a controversial law making it a criminal offense to accuse the country of complicity in the Holocaust.

The law prompted sharp protests from Israel, as well as criticism by the United States, among other countries.

Jewish organizations, including the World Jewish Congress, complained the law was a violation of free speech and impediment to historical research of the Holocaust.

Poland recently changed the legislation to remove fines and jail terms of up to three years for anyone found guilty of ascribing Nazi crimes to the Polish nation or state after it sparked outrage in Israel.








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