Ángel Sanz Briz

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Memorial, Zaragoza, Spain
Ángel Sanz Briz memorial: In this house lived the ambassador of Spain, Ángel Sanz Briz, who saved thousands of human beings from the Holocaust in Budapest in 1944

Ángel Sanz-Briz (Zaragoza, September 28, 1910 - Rome, June 11, 1980) was a Spanish professional diplomat of the Francoist Spain during World War II who helped save thousands[1] of Hungarian Jews from Nazi persecution.

After studying law, his first diplomatic posting was to Cairo. He was sent to Budapest in 1942 where he was helped by Giorgio Perlasca, an Italian veteran of the Spanish Civil War, with saving the lives of 5,200 Jews from the Holocaust by issuing them fake Spanish papers; as Spain was neutral in the war, this made the difference between life and death for those Jews. In 1944, as the Red Army approached Budapest, he was ordered to leave for Switzerland. After that time Perlasca continued his labor with fake documents.

After these events, Sanz Briz continued his diplomatic career: he was posted to San Francisco and Washington DC, Lima, Bern, Bayonne, Guatemala, The Hague, Brussels and China (1973, where he became the first Spanish ambassador). In 1976 he was sent to Rome as Ambassador of Spain before the Holy See, where he died on June 11, 1980.

Sanz Briz himself tells how he was able to save the lives of so many Jews, in Federico Ysart's (es) book Los judíos en España (1973). He is also the subject of the 2011 Spanish television series El ángel de Budapest. In 1991, he was recognized by the Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem of Israel, and gave his heirs the title of Righteous Among the Nations. In 1994 the Hungarian government gave him the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "El silencio y la soledad de un gran diplomático: Ángel Sanz Briz". El Pais. 3 October 2010. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Homenaje a Angel Sanz Briz, el ”Schindler español”". 29 October 2008. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 

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