Israel’s Holocaust centre Yad Vashem on Sunday posthumously honoured a Chilean diplomat who risked his career to help rescue over a thousand Polish Jews during the Holocaust.
Prof. Sergio Della Pergola, member of the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous, and Irena Steinfeldt, Director of the Department of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem, presented Dr. Christian Beals Campos, a relative of Samuel del Campo, with the medal and certificate of honour on behalf of Yad Vashem, the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
Del Campo was a diplomat in the Foreign Service of the Republic of Chile who served as Chargé d’Affaires at the Chilean Representation in Bucharest from 1941 to 1943. During this time he assisted Jews by issuing various documents – mainly to Polish Jews in Czernowitz, which is now part of Ukraine.
“To act righteously requires one to, first and foremost, recognise the reality of what is happening around them. Del Campo was a foreign diplomat who lived in Romania and saw what was happening to the Jews,” said Steinfeldt. “Instead of saying, that it is none of my business and that I am not guilty of anything, he chose to open his eyes and act, and thus, endangered his position.”
Yad Vashem has recognised a number of diplomats as Righteous Among the Nations and is currently preparing a special exhibition together with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to honour them.
To date, Yad Vashem has recognised over 26,500 Righteous Among the Nations from around the world.