Yad Vashem explains honouring just one Bernese Group member

Yad Vashem said that Poland’s wartime consul in Switzerland was a key figure among other diplomats in Bern and that is why he is the only one to be named Righteous Among the Nations. However, Poland’s Ambassador to Switzerland considers the situation to be a misunderstanding.

Bernese Group’s member awarded Righteous Among Nations

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Poland’s wartime consul in Switzerland, Konstanty Rokicki, was posthumously awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations earlier in April for his role in saving Jews from the Holocaust by providing them with forged Latin American passports.

In a letter sent to the Polish Press Agency this week, Yad Vashem argued that Konstanty Rokicki was at the centre of the operation and that is why he is the only Polish diplomat from Bern to be honoured.

It announced that Ambassador Aleksander Ładoś and his deputy, Stefan Ryniewicz, would be granted letters of commendation for their efforts.

Distinguishing one Bernese Group member over others raises questions

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Poland’s Ambassador reacts

Responding to Yad Vashem’s statement, Poland’s Ambassador to Switzerland Jakub Kumoch told Poland IN that the exclusion of Ładoś and Ryniewicz appears to be a misunderstanding.

“Konstanty Rokicki is presented as a key person among other members, while in reality it was not him but Ambassador Aleksander Ładoś who was the leader of the group and of the whole diplomatic post,” Mr Kumoch said. However, he added that he does not seek any bad will from Yad Vashem.

“I think that someone provided the commission with an incomplete and inaccurate motion. The name of Aleksander Ładoś was misspelled, his position at the embassy was incorrect. In fact, all it takes is proper research and one finds out the importance of Aleksander Ładoś and his deputy, Stefan Ryniewicz, in the Bernese Group,” Ambassador Kumoch said. “They deserve the same treatment as Konstanty Rokicki.”