Monday, December 14, 2020

Israel Hayom Reveals Previously Untold Story of Polish Ambassador Who Rescued Jews: Wojciech Rychlewicz


From Israel Hayom. Wojciech Rychlewicz 

From the article: 

Wojciech Rychlewicz (1903-1964) was the head of the Polish Consulate General in Istanbul in the early years of WWII and was responsible for the rescue operation of Polish Jews who fled from the Nazis and the Soviets, an operation first revealed here. Using his position, Rychlewicz issued hundreds of false official documents confirming that Jewish refugees, who arrived in Turkey and sought to immigrate to other countries, were Christians. This apparently enabled hundreds, possibly thousands, of Polish Jewish refugees to emigrate to Brazil, other countries in Latin America, and then-British Palestine. In issuing these false official certificates, Rychlewicz took a very big risk.

As far as is known so far about this rescue operation, Rychlewicz did not demand money for his services. His and his wife's post-war lifestyle is evidence that the ex-consul – unlike some diplomats, did not get rich from rescuing Jews. This affair is another piece in uncovering the important role played by Polish diplomats, who represented Poland's exiled government in London, in efforts to save Jews during World War II.

It is doubtful that the rescue operation of the Polish consul in Istanbul would have been revealed had it not been for the determination of dr Bob Meth, a Jewish doctor from Los Angeles and a former member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, to reveal the identity of the man who saved his mother, grandfather and other relatives in those tumultuous times of World War II. 

 the Polish consul in Istanbul issued countless affidavits to Polish Jews trapped in Turkey What made the Polish Consul act the way he did? Was it simply an act of goodness, an act of decency? Kumoch asked one of his diplomats to check the information Bob had provided in the Archiwum Akt Nowych (AAN) in Warsaw. In July, they located in the archive hundreds of nearly identical documents, each of which was dated 1940-1942, most of them in French - the diplomatic language of those days - and some in Turkish and Polish. All of these documents evidence the scope and complexity of the secret rescue operation.

A large part of the documents confirmed the belonging of people with clearly Jewish given names and surnames to the Catholic Church Quite a few documents confirm the emigration of the recipients of the documents to travel to then-British Palestine. It follows that the Polish consulate in Istanbul issued fictitious "Christian certificates" to Polish Jews not only so that they could overcome the difficulties of immigration to Latin American countries, but also so that they could circumvent the immigration restrictions imposed by the British Mandate authorities.

Read full article here


  1. Here's another positive development:

    Wishing you and your readers a peaceful and happy Christmas and health and happiness in the New Year. Let's hope we're all back to some kind of normality soon.

    1. Michal it is so nice to hear from you. Thank you for that great link! Good news! :-) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

  2. Janina has recently referred your text about "Maus". I have just bought the book. I may accept dangerous Poles as pigs (Kpaos, smugglers), but why a helpful Polish woman has a snout?? A Jewish woman is a Communist in pre-war Poland, during terrible Soviet genocides. (There should be published a simil;ar comic book about the Holodomor.) General Gouvernment is described as a Protectorate. But there was only one Protectorate, a Czech one, a nice place during the war. The General Gouvernment was a hell. The book pretends that all prisoners of Auschwitz were Jewish (Mice) and shows only Polish Kapos. It is not true, there were prisoners and Kapos of many nationalities.

    1. I actually have a counter-MAUS cartoon that I developed, and I call it Mungo. In it, the Jews are rats, the Germans are snakes, and the Poles are mongooses.

  3. Jews are rats? I see that the Peczkis leopard hasn’t changed his spots. I presume he means that Christian Poles are mongooses. Why aren’t Jewish Poles the same?

    1. Why a good Christian Polish woman is a pig in "Maus"? Why is the "Maus" used to teach/indoctrinate young people in several countries?

    2. Evidently, Karski has not changed his spots, and is once again getting personal with me.

      If Spiegelman can makes Jews into mice, why can't I make Jews into rats? And if Spiegelman can make Jews distinct from Poles (pigs), then why can't I also make Jews distinct from Poles (mongooses)?

      The issue is double standards, not "two wrongs making a right". I will not stand for it.

  4. I am by no means defending ‘Maus’. My argument is that two wrongs don’t make a right.

    1. I won’t be getting into any arguments with Mr Peczkis. Been there. Done that. If anyone wants to see our previous discussions, my article on ‘Maus’ is still available on Danusha’s blog from a while ago.

      My own view is that just as Polish Americans are Americans first and Polish second, so Jewish Poles ought to be described in the same order.


Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
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