Spanish diplomat who saved thousands of Jews honoured in Budapest

Spanish diplomat Ángel Sanz Briz, who saved about 5.500 Jews in Budapest was honoured by the Hungarian Jewish community, on the occasion of the 15th European Maccabi Games, which  are taking place in Budapest.

The event was held at the headquarters of MAZSIHISZ, the country’s EJC affiliate, in cooperation with Maccabi Spain and the European Maccabee Confederation.

The diplomat’s son, Juan Carlos Sanz Briz, was excited and honored by this tribute, which he considered important to raise awareness among younger generations about what happened in Europe 75 years ago. He was accompanied today by survivor Eva Leitman Bohrer, who was nine months old when she was saved by the ‘Angel of Budapest’, as Mr. Sanz Briz is known.

Sanz Briz obtained in 1944 the permission of the Hungarian authorities to protect about 200 Sephardic Jews, a tiny minority among the more than 800,000 Jews living at that time in the country.

He then proceeded to issue many more falsified permits with a simple trick: that the number of the document never exceeded that maximum figure. He managed to save some 5,500 Hungarian Jews.

Apart from issuing passports and letters of protection, the “Angel of Budapest” rented several buildings in the center of the Hungarian capital as annexes of the Spanish embassy, ​​thus offering diplomatic protection to officially Sephardic Jews.

Angel Sanz Briz was recognised as “Righteous Among the Nations” in 1968, although the Spanish Franco regime did not authorise him to travel to Israel to receive it.

The city of Budapest has previously honored the Spanish diplomat several times and has placed a statue on a street that received his name, where the Spanish embassy has planted a maple tree to honour his acts.

Click here to see the photo gallery of the event.

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