Aleksander Lados

Polish Ambassador to Switzerland, 1940-45

Ambassador Lados supervised the massive forgery of passports of Latin American countries. His diplomats, Juliusz Kühl, Stefan Ryniewicz and Konstanty Rokicki bribed the respective consuls, especially the Paraguayan one, and obtained hundreds, possibly thousands blank passports. Between 1941 and 1943 they hand-filled them with the names of Polish Jews and delivered them to Jewish organizations, which had them smuggled to German-occupied Poland. The funds to buy the passports were raised among others thanks to two Jewish partners, Abraham Silberschein (RELICO) and Chaim Eiss (Agudath Yisrael). Lados provided his subordinates with full diplomatic and political support, defended them against charges issued by the Swiss police and convinced the Swiss authorities to turn a blind eye. In late 1943, Lados launched a diplomatic intervention, after which the Polish Government in exile supported by the Holy See, convinced Paraguay to temporarily recognize the passports. In January 1945 Harry A. Goodmann of the Agudath Yisrael World Organisation assessed the number of people rescued by Lados, Kühl, Rokicki and Ryniewicz at ‘many hundreds’.  In addition, Lados granted Isaac and Recha Sternbuch the possibility to use Polish diplomatic cables, so that they were in constant touch with representatives of American Jewry and in fall 1944 they could inform about the ongoing negotiations on evacuation of Jews still held by the Nazis.

Markus Blechner, Rt. Hon.
The Honorary Consul of Poland
Zurich – Switzerland