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Foreign Minister of El Salvador at Yad Vashem Tomorrow

28 February 2011

Tomorrow, March 1, 2011, the Foreign Minister of El Salvador, Hugo Martinez, will visit Yad Vashem.

Following are media arrangements for his visit:  

9:00: Arrival and tour of the Holocaust History Museum: CLOSED to cameras

9:45: Hall of Names: PHOTO-OP: OPEN

10:10: Memorial Ceremony, Hall of Remembrance: OPEN

10:20: Children’s Memorial: Closed to Cameras

10:25: Signing of the Guest Book: OPEN

10:30: Unveiling of the name of Jose Arturo Castellanos, Righteous Among the Nations from El Salvador in the Garden of the Righteous: OPEN  

Even before the war began, when he was a Consul in Hamburg, Castellanos urged his government to allow German Jews to emigrate to El Salvador. In response, he received written instructions forbidding him from providing visas to Jews. During the war years, Castellanos, now a consul in Geneva, along with George Mantello, a Jewish man of Romanian origin, that Castellanos named first secretary of his Embassy, issued some 10,000 visas and false citizenship papers to more than 20,000 Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe, in particular Hungary. In many cases, the papers issued were good for 2,3 or 4 people, thus potentially saving the lives of thousands of Jews. Castellanos and Mantello did not take any payment for the papers. In May 2010, Castellanos was recogznied as the first (and thus far only) Righteous Among the Nations from El Salvador.

Thus far, some 23,700 people have been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations.