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4 crazy forgotten side stories from WWII


A fake diplomat gave refugees very real papers

We told you about diplomats how Chiune Sugihara, the Jews gave life-saving visas despite express instructions not to do so. But to perform heroic diplomatic acts, you’d have to be a diplomat, right? Not exactly.

Giorgio Perlasca was a staunch Italian fascist until Mussolini passed anti-Semitic racial laws and joined Hitler because there is fascism and then there is like: fascism, You know? Perlasca, disaffected with the treatment of his Jewish friends, spent the war procuring supplies for Italy̵

7;s Eastern Front. In 1943 he was working in Budapest when Italy capitulated and broke with the axis. While many of his colleagues decided to return to the sad little puppet state Hitler had given Mussolini, Perlasca swore allegiance to the Italian throne and prompted Nazi-lined Hungary to throw him in prison.

His prison was a relatively cozy castle reserved for VIPs, but after a few months he got his hands on a medical passport and applied for asylum at the Spanish embassy. Spain, like the style of the time, was fascist, but had stayed out of the war and was Reluctantly accepting Jewish refugees based on the Allied policy of pointing out Hitler’s mounting military defeats and asking which sights visitors should visit in Madrid.

Perlasca had fought for the fascists in the Spanish civil war, so the embassy welcomed him with open arms. Instead of sitting around, Perlasca assumed a fake identity and began working with Spanish diplomat Angel Sanz Briz to give Hungarian Jews protection certificates. These papers guaranteed their owners access to Spanish safe houses until they could be smuggled out of the country, and Briz himself saved about 5,000 Jews.

This lasted until 1944 when Hitler, who never got his priorities in control, decided that his ally was not genocidal enough and ordered a German occupation of Hungary. Briz and his associates had to flee to Switzerland, and the new Hungarian rulers declared that diplomatic relations had been broken so that they could do whatever they wanted with the Jews under Spanish protection. And here Perlasca entered.

Perlasca ignored his own invitation to Switzerland, stating that Briz had taken responsibility for the Spanish embassy and anyone who questioned that fact or his Italian accent was likely a colossal idiot. Swinging the abandoned Spanish seal and his own giant balls, Perlasca continued to issue protective papers while monitoring the safes for signs of Nazi duplication. Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who is busy saving lives himself, Witness Perlasca Talk to two boys from a train to Auschwitz by facing Adolf’s goddamn Eichmann.

4 forgotten side stories from WWII |  Adolf Hitler and Adolf Eichmann

Federal Archives, picture 146-1990-048-29A / CC-BY-SA 3.0
The Nazis really doubled in to make sure no one should ever use that name again.

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