US Congress honors Polish diplomats who saved hundreds of Jewish families during the Holocaust

The U.S. Congress awards the Congressional Gold Medal to Polish diplomats from the Ładoś Group who worked tirelessly to save persecuted Jewish families during World War II

Some of the Jews saved by the Ładoś Grup during the Holocaust (Source: Pilecki Institute FB page, video picture grab.)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
2 Min Read

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill to posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to 60 diplomats for their courageous efforts in saving Jews during the Holocaust.

The bill, titled “The Forgotten Heroes of the Holocaust,” honors diplomats from 28 countries, including five from Poland.

Four of them: Aleksander Ładoś, Konstanty Rokicki, Stefan Ryniewicz, and Juliusz Kuhl, were members of the so-called Ładoś Group based in Switzerland under the leadership of Aleksander Ładoś, who headed Poland’s diplomatic mission in the country. 

The group forged passports and identity documents for Latin American countries, which were then smuggled into German-occupied Europe to save the lives of thousands of Jews facing extermination in the Holocaust.

Congress also honored Henryk Sławik, a Polish politician, diplomat, and social worker who, as the head of the Citizens’ Committee for Care to Polish Refugees in Hungary, helped save many Hungarian and Polish Jews. He was executed in the Nazi German concentration camp Mauthausen in August 1944.

The bill, which was unanimously adopted by the House of Representatives, states that the Congressional Gold Medal, the oldest and highest civilian honor in the U.S., is being awarded to diplomats who “resisted the antisemitic Nazi agenda, risking their families, careers, and lives to help innocent Jewish people flee persecution.”

It also honors those who “valiantly defied that systemic hatred by bravely doing what was right to stand up not only for the Jewish community but for all of mankind.”

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