Consul issued passports for 2,000 Jews in 1940s - Polish embassy

Consul Konstanty Rokicki issued more than 1,000 false Paraguayan passports to about 2,000 Polish Jews in the 1940s, stated the Polish embassy in Bern on Twitter.

As such, there were many more documents that saved Jews during the Holocaust than previously estimated by historians.

"Polish consular officer, Konstanty Rokicki, during the years 1942-43, issued at least 1,056 false Paraguayan passports; each was issued, on average, for two persons," the Polish embassy announced on its Twitter account. Its diplomats also found the resting place of the consul who died in 1958 at the city cemetery in Lucerne and intend to restore his tombstone.

According to the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Bern, Jakub Kumoch, the number of passports was determined on the basis of their serial numbers and based on materials from the so-called Silberschein archive at the Yad Vashem Institute in Israel. The documents ended up there after the death of Abraham Silberschein (1882-1951), a Zionist activist from Poland, who during the Second World War managed the RELICO emergency committee in Geneva which co-operated with the Polish-Jewish envoy.

As he added, a sample of approximately one hundred physically recovered copies of the first pages of the passports makes it possible to establish that on each document there are the surnames of about two people, which today places the number at 2,100 passport holders. "Whole families were entered into the documents - on some are the names of a husband, wife and five children," the diplomat stated, adding that almost all of the Paraguayan passports bear traces of Rokicki’s handwriting.

At the same time the Polish embassy in Bern said that Consul Rokicki (1899-1958) was buried in the cemetery in Lucerne, but his tombstone is gone. "It is confirmed that one of the greatest heroes of the Bern rescue action in 1942-43 died in poverty - he was buried at no cost, and only information about his death was included in the newspapers," announced the embassy while declaring a restoration of the grave.