Jerry P. Shinley Archive:From: firstname.lastname@example.org
George Mantello Praised by Cong. Schumer 1989
Subject: George Mantello Praised by Cong. Schumer 1989
Date: 25 Feb 1999 00:00:00 GMT
Congressional Record Extension of Remarks May 4, 1989 p8406Mr. Schumer. Mr. Speaker, today I am introducing H.R. 2253, a bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to George Mantello, who is truly one of the great unsung heroes of the World War II era. Mr. George Mantello, now 87 years old, is one of the most outstanding examples we have of a single individual standing up and mobilizing the world against the atrocities of Nazi Germany and its death camps.
A Bill to Award a Congressional Gold Medal to George Mantello
Hon Charles E. Schumer
of New York
in the House of Representatives
Thursday, May 4, 1989
George Mantello, who served as the First Secretary of the El Salvadoran Consulate in Switzerland from 1942 to 1945, saved nearly 30,000 Jews from almost certain death in the Holocaust, and perhaps hundreds of thousands more by the means of two extraordinary feats of rescue.
At a time when the Nazis and their Hungarian collaborators were deporting up to 10,000 Jews a day to Auschwitz, threatening to completely exterminate the Hungarian Jewish population of Budapest, Mantello took action which led directly to a halt in these deportations. Almost single-handedly, he initiated a press campaign in Switzerland that finally awakened the Western world to the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps, and forced an end to the deportations in Hungary.
At the heart of this remarkable event lies Mantello's disclosure to the press of the "Auschwitz Protocol." These protocols were contained in a 30-page document that described the ongoing atrocities in the concentration camps, and was based on the testimony of two young escapees from Auschwitz, Joseph Lanik and Rudolph Vrba.
With the help of four leading Protestant theologians who supported Mantello's campaign, the "Auschwitz Protocol" was reported in over 400 articles published in 120 Swiss newspapers, which condemned the mass murders at Auschwitz. The response to the report was quick and stunning. It finally evoked an international outcry from such leaders as President Roosevelt, the Pope, Britain's Anthony Eden, the King of Sweden, the international Red Cross, and the Swiss Government. They demanded that Admiral Horthy, the Regent of Hungary, put an end to the deportation of the remaining Jews in Budapest. Despite the ever increasing pressure from Eichmann to complete the "Final Solution," on July 18, 1944, Horthy halted the deportations, and the nearly 200,000 Jews still living in Budapest were saved from the gas chambers.
George Mantello's second rescue effort, though not as dramatic, was responsible for saving an equally impressive number of people during the war. He produced and distributed 15,000 Salvadoran citizenship papers to Jews and non-Jews throughout Nazi occupied Europe. These served as "protective papers" for their holders, and over 95 percent of these families survived the holocaust. While many Latin American consuls made fortunes selling their country's passports, Mantello provided these papers gratis, out of purely humanitarian motives. All of this was fully supported by the Government of El Salvador.
In addition to his rescue work, Mantello was extremely useful to both the American and British intelligence services, while never taking a penny for his services. Using his diplomatic pouch, Mantello slipped millions of dollars of Swiss technical instruments that were necessary for the war effort out of Axis-surrounded Switzerland and into Allied hands.
Mr. Speaker it is with unspeakable admiration that I bring to my colleagues' attention the remarkable, and until now relatively unrecognized achievements of Mr. George Mantello. Surely this great humanitarian hero deserves our deepest gratitude and the highest honor this body can bestow upon an individual, the Congressional Gold Medal. I ask each of my colleagues to join with me in sponsoring this important bill...
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