The story of Samuel del Campo: The Chilean consul who saved 1,200 Jews and was honored in Romania – Duna 89.7

Samuel del Campo was Chilean consul in Romania. He came from a wealthy family in the Linares sector, from where he emigrated to Europe to study engineering. His work is remembered after delivering 1,200 Chilean passports to Polish and Romanian Jews between 1941 and 1943.

As World War II raged in Europe, Jews suffered the cruelty of the Nazi regime. They were tortured, killed and forced to live in ghettos and concentration camps.

Years later, different characters have been highlighted for their humanitarian work in favor of the persecuted. Famous is the case of Oskar Schindler, an Austrian businessman who, upon witnessing the harassment, recruited thousands of Jews in his kitchen utensils and weapons factory, avoiding their death. This story was made into a film by Steven Spielberg in “Schindler’s List” and is considered by many specialists as one of the best films in history.

Something similar is what the Chilean Samuel del Campo did, who “hissued letters of protection for Polish Jews and passport validations with the stamp of the Republic of Chile”, As reported to EFE in 2017, Eliyahu Rosenthal, a professor at Tel Aviv University and a Holocaust survivor.

The consul’s deed was outside the law and did not obey the regulations of the time in Chile, which today could be considered anti-Semitic.

“In Chile at the time, an immigration policy prevailed that, from being very restrictive at the beginning of the 1930s, became directly anti-Semitic at the end of that decade. This policy was accentuated with the beginning of the Second World War, even establishing the prohibition of granting visas to people who had a Jewish grandfather or grandmother”, explained Jorge Schindler del Solar to El Maule Informa, who wrote a book telling the story of the diplomatic.

“Through complete political reports, he unsuccessfully tried to sensitize the government of the time, in 1942, with the persecution and extermination of European Jews and thus justify his action in favor of the persecuted. It was in vain”Solar’s Schindler added.

In 1943 Chile broke relations with Romania and the venue in charge to represent our country was Switzerland, how far del Campo had to go to protect its integrity against the imminent Nazi persecution.

However, his address was Turkey, where he was required to go to Switzerland, an inaccessible country due to the German occupation. Later he moved to Paris, where he died in 1960.

In 2017, Samuel del Campo was recognized as “A Righteous Among the Nations” by the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem and recently the Chilean was remembered in a religious ceremony held at the Great Synagogue in the Romanian capital of Bucharest, where he was inaugurated a plaque in his honor remembering his actions.

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