August 5, 2021

Spain recalls in Greece the diplomats who saved Sephardim from the Holocaust

Spain recalls in Greece the diplomats who saved Sephardim from the Holocaust

The Embassy of Spain in Athens today announced the exhibition "Beyond duty, the humanitarian response of Foreign Services to the Holocaust," which will be held from October 4 to 19 in Thessaloniki, with the collaboration of the Greek Sephardic community.

The exhibition recalls the efforts of some Spanish Foreign Service officers, many times against the official policies of the State, which managed to save the lives of thousands of Sephardic Jews threatened in the middle of the Holocaust.

They achieved this through diplomatic work and supported by a law of 1924 that granted Spanish nationality to "former Spanish proteges or descendants of these, and in general individuals belonging to families of Spanish origin that have been inscribed in Spanish Registries on occasion. "

The exhibition can be visited in the Byzantine Culture Museum of Salonica, the second most important city in Greece, and historically inhabited by Sephardim, who arrived at the end of the 15th century with the expulsion of Spain from the Jews ordered by the Catholic Monarchs.

Until the 20s and 30s, the Jews were the largest ethnic group in Thessaloniki, but then anti-Semitic ultranationalist organizations began campaigns against it with the support of the central government, and later the occupation of Greece by the Axis forces.

Around the exhibition will also be held other events, such as a round table on Sebastián Romero Radigales, consul general of Athens between 1943 and 1945, who received the title of Righteous Among the Nations for having saved hundreds of Jews from the Nazi extermination.

When the diplomat arrived in Athens, Greece was already under German occupation and the deportation of Jews from Thessaloniki to Auschwitz had begun.

In just five months, 48,000 people were deported to concentration camps.

In addition to securing the release and transfer to Spain of 365 survivors from the Bergen-Belsen camp, Romero Radigales intervened to release the inmates in the Haidari detention camp in the suburbs of Athens; He kept belongings of arrested Jews and sheltered dozens of Jews who escaped deportation in a hotel and his own residence.

In the round table will participate, among others, Elena Colito, descendant of Romero Radigales, Isaac Revah, survivor of the holocaust, Jessica Sanromán, of the Sephardic House in Madrid, and the ambassador of Spain in Greece, Enrique Viguera.


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