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Israel, Yad Vashem Institute. Aleksander Ładoś and Stefan Ryniewicz not recognized as Righteous Among the Nations. Commentary from the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland

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Polish diplomats active in Switzerland during World War II, Aleksander Ładoś and Stefan Ryniewicz, were not recognized by the Yad Vashem Institute as Righteous Among the Nations. The decision of the Institute was commented on by the head of the International Policy Bureau in the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland, Jakub Kumoch. “Ładoś was called Righteous by his Jewish colleagues during the Holocaust, but this title was refused by Israelis, some of them born many years after the war” – commented Kumoch.

Aleksander Ładoś and Stefan Ryniewicz were Polish diplomats active in Switzerland during World War II. Thanks to the fabricated passports of Latin American countries issued by Poles, it was possible to save Jews from the hands of the German occupiers. The so-called Ładoś Group saved Jews in the years 1941-1943.

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Institute of Remembrance of Martyrs and Heroes of the HolocaustReuters Archive

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However, the Yad Vasem Institute did not award Ładoś and Ryniewicz the title of Righteous Among the Nations. According to the head of the International Policy Bureau in the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland, Jakub Kumoch, this is an “unprecedented decision”.

Aleksander Ładoś | NAC (Signature: 1-D-1111)

“Ładoś was called Righteous by his Jewish colleagues during the Holocaust, but this title was refused by Israelis, some of them born many years after the war” – commented Jakub Kumoch, who previously served, among others, as an ambassador to Switzerland and for many years has been presenting the activities of the Ładoś Group .

Jakub Kumoch points out that the Institute’s letter to Markus Blechner, Honorary Consul of Poland in Zurich, did not provide any reasons for refusing to grant titles to Polish diplomats. It was noted in it that Ładoś and Ryniewicz helped Jews during the Holocaust, and that Jad Waszem always “positively assessed” their attitude.

The activity of the Ładoś Group

The Lados, who headed the Polish legation in Bern during World War II, and the group around him (known as the Ładoś Group or the Bernese group), which also included Ryniewicz, who worked as a diplomat, manufactured passports for Paraguay and three other Latin American countries – reminds Kumoch.

In 2020, the Pilecki Institute published the “Ładoś List” – a list of the names of 3,262 Jews to whom passports were issued. The documents certainly saved the lives of 796 people from this group, 957 did not survive the Holocaust, and the fate of the rest is not known yet. Historians emphasize that the list is incomplete and estimate that the Bernese group could have issued passports for 8-10 thousand. people.

The English version of the “Ładoś List” was presented in LondonThe Pilecki Institute

As Jakub Kumoch points out, one of the members of the Ładoś Group, consul Konstanty Rokicki was awarded the title of Righteous in 2019, but his family refused to accept the medal as a sign of protest against the failure to consider Ładoś.

The title of Righteous Among the Nations is awarded on behalf of the State of Israel and the Jewish people to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust, informs Yad Vashem on his website. So far, nearly 28 thousand. such titles, most of them, 7177 – to Poles.

Main photo source: | NAC (Signature: 1-D-1111)



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