Chilean diplomat who saved over 1,200 Jews honored as Righteous Among the Nations


RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — A Chilean diplomat was honored as a Righteous Among the Nations for saving more than 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust.

Samuel del Campo, who served as chargé d’affaires at the Chilean embassy in Bucharest, Romania, was honored Sunday at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.

A relative of Del Campo received a medal and certificate of honor from Yad Vashem officials during the ceremony, which was attended by Milenko Skoknic, director general of the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Del Campo began to issue Chilean passports for Jews of Polish nationality in October 1941, when a ghetto was established in the city of Czernowitz, and deportations to ghettos and camps in Transnistria began. Members of the Kiesler family of Czernowitz and the Rosenthal family from Bucharest were saved by Del Campo.

After the deportations from Czernowitz to Transnistria resumed in June 1942, Del Campo continued to intervene with the Romanian authorities in favor of “the Jews under the protection of Chile.”

Based on recorded minutes from discussions in the Council of Ministers of Romania, Yad Vashem was able to estimate that approximately 1,200 Jews received Chilean passports providing them with protection against the deportations. The documents that Del Campo issued were not in line with the Chilean government’s policy. He died in Paris in the 1960s.

Samuel del Campo is one of just two Chilean Righteous Among the Nations recognized by Yad Vashem.

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