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Yad Vashem to Honor Samuel del Campo, Righteous Among the Nations from Chile, on Sunday

20 October 2017

On Sunday, 22 October 2017, Yad Vashem will host a ceremony posthumously honoring Samuel del Campo from Chile, as Righteous Among the Nations. Prof. Sergio Della Pergola, member of the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous, and Irena Steinfeldt, Director of the Department of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem, will present Dr. Christian Beals Campos, a relative of Samuel del Campo, with the medal and certificate of honor on behalf Yad Vashem, the State of Israel and the Jewish people. The ceremony will be attended by H.E. Mr. Milenko Skoknic, Director General of the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Allan Najum, Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy of Chile in Israel; Modi Ephraim, Deputy Director General of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Holocaust survivor Prof. Eliyahu Rosenthal.

Samuel de Campo will be added to the Wall of Honor in the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem.

A memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance will be held at 11:00 followed by the awarding of the medal and certificate in the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations. The events will be conducted in Hebrew and Spanish and translated simultaneously. The event is open to the press, in coordination with the Media Relations Dept.: 02 644 3410.

The Rescue Story:

Samuel del Campo was a diplomat in the Foreign Service of the Republic of Chile. From 1941 to 1943, he served as Chargé d'Affaires at the Chilean Representation in Bucharest, Romania, and assisted Romanian Jews by issuing various documents – mainly to Polish Jews in Czernowitz.

During October 1941, a ghetto was established in the city of Czernowitz, and deportations to Transnistria began. In the absence of an official Polish representation in Romania, the representation of the interests of Polish citizens in Romania was transferred to Chile, and Del Campo began to issue Chilean passports for Jews of Polish nationality, including to members of the Kiesler family of Czernowitz and the Rosenthal family from Bucharest.

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.

In the spring of 1943, diplomatic relations between Chile and Romania were severed, and Switzerland began to represent the interests of Chile. The documents del Campo issued were clearly not in line with the Chilean government’s policy; when Swiss envoys asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile to clarify the policy of the Ministry regarding the granting of Chilean passports, they were told that "they would prefer not to grant new passports without the approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile."

Del Campo was appointed Consul-General in Zurich, but the appointment never came into effect, and Del Campo never returned to serve in Chile's Foreign Ministry. He died in Paris in the 1960s.

On 23 November 2016, the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous Among the Nations decided to recognize Samuel Del Campo as Righteous Among the Nations.

To date, Yad Vashem has recognized over 26,500 Righteous Among the Nations worldwide. More information about the Righteous Among the Nations program.