Hiram Bingham

US Vice Consul in Marseilles, France, 1940

Hiram Bingham was an American Vice Consul in charge of visas, stationed in Marseilles, France, in 1940. Shortly after the fall of France, Bingham, against the orders and policy of his superiors, issued visas, safe passes, and letters of transit to Jewish refugees. Many visas were falsified in order to protect the refugees from internment. Bingham worked closely with Varian Fry, of the Emergency Rescue Committee, and other rescue operations. He was, in part, responsible for saving more than 2,000 Jews. Among them were Jewish artists, intellectuals, writers and scientists, such as Marc Chagall, Max Ernst, André Breton, Heinrich Mann, and Jewish Nobel Prize winners.