April 5, 2018

Konstanty Rokicki

Polish Consul in Bern, Switzerland, 1939-45

A a former consul in Riga, Cairo and Minsk, Konstanty Rokicki was heading a Consular Section of the Polish Legation in Bern. He manually forged between 1942 and 1943 hundreds of Paraguayan passports and obtained many citizenship certificates. Most possibly he was also involved in obtaining forged documents of other countries. Rokicki bribed other consuls, received the samples, filled them with the data of the ghetto-incarcerated Jews which was being sent from the founder of RELICO Committee Abraham Silberschein and Agudath Israel leader Chaim Eiss. As the Swiss documents demonstrate, this action was carried on ‘purely humanitarian and patriotic motives’.

In summer of 1943, at the height of the action, each month Rokicki would receive scores of names and photographs which were then carefully written (even today, on some of passports of the rescued persons one can easily notice  very peculiar and characteristic way of writing the numbers which is identical with his hand-writing). The action, carried under the supervision and protection of the head of the Polish Legation, Aleksander Ładoś, his deputy Stefan Ryniewicz, and in close cooperation with Rokicki’s subordinate, Julius Kühl, was cut short in September 1943, due to the efforts of the Swiss authorities. Rokicki was issued a warning about the ‘inadmissibility of his actions’, but no further sanctions were introduced because Ładoś and Ryniewicz stood in his defense.

In January 1945 Harry A. Goodman from World Agudath Israel admitted in his letter to the Polish government that without cooperation of the Polish diplomats from Bern (Ładoś, Ryniewicz, Rokicki, Kühl) ‘rescuing many hundreds of Polish Jews would not have been posssible’. After the war Rokicki stayed in Switzerland, living in Bern, Zug, Uri. He died in oblivion in Lucerne in 1958.

The Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland