Giorgio Jorge Perlasca

”Acting Chargé d’Affaires” of the Spanish Legation, Budapest, Hungary, 1944-45

Giorgio Perlasca, an Italian, is credited with saving thousands of Jewish refugees in Budapest. He was granted Spanish citizenship for fighting with Franco in the Spanish Civil War. Perlasca volunteered to work with the Spanish legation’s efforts to rescue Jews in Budapest. In the fall of 1944, under Perlasca’s supervision, the number of Jews under the protection of Spanish safe houses in Budapest grew from 300 to about 3,000. In November 1944, the Spanish Ambassador left Budapest and Perlasca began acting on his own authority. Perlasca soon appointed himself ”Spanish Ambassador” and continued to issue thousands of protective passes stamped with the legation’s seal. His bluff worked, and Nazi officials accepted his authority. Perlasca also protected the Spanish safe houses in Budapest from Nazi and Arrow Cross raids. Perlasca is credited with saving more than 3,000 Jews.