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Salvadoran Colonel Who Saved Over 25,000 Jews Honored in Germany

Jose Castellanos helped save tens of thousands of Jews from Nazi persecution and is now memorialized as a great heroic icon of World War II.


An army colonel and diplomat from El Salvador who helped save tens of thousands of Jews from Nazi persecution during World War II by providing them with false Salvadoran identity papers was honored in Germany.

The tribute to Jose Arturo Castellanos, who served as El Salvador’s consul general in Geneva, was held last week by Germany’s Ministry of Foreign Relations and the Berlin Jewish Center, the news portal reported.

The film The Rescue, which documents Castellanos’ little-known but heroic acts during the Holocaust, was screened to the audience, which included El Salvador’s ambassador in Germany, José Atilio Benitez Parada.

Yad Vashem representative Sandra Witte said that Castellanos, who was recognized posthumously as Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli Holocaust memorial and museum in 2010, is a distinguished icon among all saviors.

“We can say that very few are like Jose Castellanos or Raoul Wallenberg, who have saved several thousands. And it happened in times that they say there was no margin for action and nothing could have been done. Castellanos proved something can be done,” Witte said.  Felix Klein, a German foreign affairs diplomat, said Castellanos’ example shows that denying the Holocaust is inconsistent.

“If a diplomat from a foreign country could be aware, many Germans could be, too,” he said.

While in Switzerland during World War


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