A Jewish organization Tuesday honored four “unsung heroes and humanitarians” it said helped rescue more than 250,000 people during the Holocaust.
According to Rabbi David Baron of Temple Shalom for the Arts, which honored the group, three of the four are former diplomats who risked their lives and careers to help issue tens of thousands of bogus exit visas to help Jews escape an almost certain death.
The four are:
* Carl Lutz, a former Swiss counsel in Budapest who helped secure more than 48,000 exit visas;
* Feng Shan Ho, a Chinese consul general in Vienna;
* Aristides de Sousa Mendes, former Portuguese consul general in Bordeaux France, and
* Floyd Dade, a member of the African American 761st Tank Battalion, which was among the first troops to liberate concentration camps in Germany.
All three diplomats are deceased and their children traveled to Los Angeles to accept awards issued by Temple Shalom at a brief ceremony in Beverly Hills.
Dade came down from his home in San Francisco to talk about his experiences and show his photograph collection from World War II.
Rabbi Baron said that in the spate of recently proclaimed Holocaust heroes, these four stand out.
“Dade was a true liberator, and the diplomats involved broke the rules to save lives--not just a family or two but tens of thousands of lives,” he said.
Baron said the four were given recognition on the day before the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which emphasizes atonement.
“Some of the countries where these men are from have in recent years been striving for atonement for their sins during the Holocaust,” he said.
“But first they have to do right by these heroes. Many of these people were discredited by their own governments.
“We’re trying to reestablish their reputations.”