Gilberto Bosques Saldívar, a diplomat known as "the Mexican Schindler" for his efforts to house and protect refugees during the Holocaust, was posthumously honored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) with its Courage to Care Award for his heroism in rescuing European Jews and other refugees marked for death in Nazi concentration camps.
"Gilberto Bosques Saldívar's life is a shining example of human decency, moral courage and conviction, and his actions highlight the less well known initiatives of Latin Americans who helped to save Jews during the Holocaust," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor. "He is an outstanding example of a man who answered the call of his own conscience."
Bosques was posted by Mexico to Marseilles, France in 1939 to serve as his government's Consul General. During his service from 1939-1943, he instructed the Consulate personnel to render help to anyone who wished to escape to Mexico. He rented two chateaux to house and protect European Jews and other refugees, including leaders of the resistance and Spanish Republicans, who were marked for deportation to concentration camps by the Nazis.
In addition, in the port town of Marseilles, Bosques chartered ships to transport Jews and those threatened with persecution to African countries where they later moved on to Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and other countries. In two years' time, under his auspices, as many as 40,000 visas were issued to those fleeing Nazi tyranny.
In 1943, the Gestapo forcibly took Bosques, his wife and three children and 40 other consular staff members into custody, and held them for a year's captivity in the German town of Bad Godesberg, near Bonn. Released by an agreement between Mexico and Germany, Bosques was able to return to his native country. He later served as Ambassador of Mexico in Portugal, Finland, Sweden and Cuba. He died in 1995 at the age of 103.
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