"The passport is the noblest part of a human being. It is also not a simple way like a human being. A person can anywhere come about in the most careless manner and without due reason, but a passport never." Bertolt Brecht in 1941, writes in his work "refugee talks", and continues: "For that he is acknowledged (Pass) also, if he is good, while a man can still be so good and yet is not recognized." Thus, Brecht describes the reality of many people in the Second world war, whose only way out was a foreign passport.
another quote leads to a long-forgotten track: "what I'd do with a Paraguayan passport," said Wladyslaw Szlengels song "Paszporty", which he composed in 1942 in the Warsaw Ghetto. This is not a poetic fiction but the song refers to a historically verifiable assistance – from Switzerland.
A network that helped
For the current special exhibition, "passports, profiteers, the police," the grub, the Team of the Jewish Museum, a Swiss war secret that was swept under the rug and eventually forgotten. Letters, files, and photos from the war, tell one of the helpers network, which exhibited Thousands of Jewish citizens of Latin American passports, and escape from the occupied zones enabled. Than five years after the coming to power of Adolf Hitler in 1938, the borders of many countries for Jews to be closed, is to leave the country without official documents is hardly possible. In the diplomatic circles of various Swiss cities, a network of helpers,working closely with the Polish Embassy together, while Poland is divided between the Soviet Union and the German national socialists developed, however. Despite the rich historical source location, which occupies nearly 10000 passes, has a portfolio of Property, not previously explored.
The exhibition is divided in the ground floor of the Museum at the Peter digging in several stations: The helper, the journey, the passes and the prices will be discussed.
CHF 500 per Pass
the Latter varied remarkably: Rudolf Huegli, the honorary Consul of Paraguay, collected in the rule 500 CHF per Pass, what wages, at the time, one to two-month a Secretary equivalent to: "As the (...) persecution of Jews in 1938, in Germany, was my Bureau formally assailed by the Jews, who hoped, on the basis of a visa for the Republic of Paraguay, members of (rescue)." Hügli was noticed by the authorities. He was being monitored.
Other consuls take 1000 to 2000 francs, a lawyer in Zurich even raises fees to 600000 Swiss francs. The latter was four times taken and paid for.
On most passes, Rudolf Huegli presented, however, which is six years after the war, died. Where all the money has remained white to this point, nobody. On the ground floor, some original passports. Those who are allowed to leave the country to Paraguay, have been issued with the hand – writing – always from the same Person. This is the Polish Consul Konstanty Rokicki.
Unfortunately could not all the help of the search to be saved: In may 1943, the police officers surprise a few helpers with simultaneous house searches in Geneva, Lausanne, Montreux and Zurich. Letters and passport photos will be confiscated, which are now on display in the first floor of the exhibition on a wall. The persons depicted did not survive the war years with a large probability.
"passports, profiteers, police. A Swiss war mystery", a collaboration of the Jewish Museum of Switzerland with the archive of contemporary history of ETH Zurich, is to be seen in the gallery at the Peter Graben 31.www.Jewish museum.ch
Created: 29.11.2019, 18:03 PM