Sebastián de Romero Radigales

By the middle of April 1943, Sebastián de Romero Radigales arrived to Athens as the new Consul General of Spain. Since his arrival to the Greek capital, Romero Radigales put every effort in defending the Sephardic Jews (over 800 persons between the communities of Athens and Salonicca). As Sanz-Briz and others had done, Romero Radigales proclaimed a decree that offered Spanish nationality to the Sephardic Jews, though without any specific requirements.

In a document dated April 30th, 1943 (taken from the German Ministry of Foreign Affaires), the German ambassador in Athens, Günther Altenburg deplored the insistent demands of Romero Radigales. As a consequence of requests, Altenburg was forced to postpone the deportation of several hundreds of Jewish Sephardim. He wanted the intervention of the Ministry to ask Madrid to give instructions to Romero Radigales to stop interfering with the deportations.

Romero Radigales adopted initiatives, which had the result of the evacuation of 150 persons in an Italian military train. He also fought until the last moment to avoid the deportations of the 367 remaining Jews, provoking a deep discomfort in the German authorities. His first efforts were fruitless.

However, in February 1944, the Germans authorized the move of the deported Jews to Spain. He also orders to deposit the goods of Sephardic Jews in the Spanish embassy, with the aim of protecting them from falling in the power of the nazis and allowing their subsequent recuperation.

Translation: Lara Schujovitzky

Sebastián de Romero Radigales Honored on Postage Stamp