11 December 1901
|Died||25 April 1992
|Known for||Rescue of Jews during the Holocaust|
|Children||Enrico, Andrea and Susanna|
|Parents||Baruch Yehudah Mandl and Ida Mandl (née Spitz)|
|Relatives||Rabbi Yitzchok Yaakov Mandl (paternal grandfather)
Josef Mandl (brother)
George Mantello (11 December 1901 – 25 April 1992) was a Jewish diplomat who, while working for the Salvadoran consulate in Geneva, Switzerland from 1942 to 1945, saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust by providing them with fictive Salvadoran citizenship papers. He was also instrumental in publicizing in mid-1944 the deportation of Hungarian Jews to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Mantello was born György Mandl to Orthodox Jewish parents – Baruch Yehudah Mandl and Ida Mandl (née Spitz) – in Lekence, Transylvania, a Hungarian-speaking region of Romania. David Kranzler writes that his father owned a mill and the family was regarded as well-to-do. Mantello had three sisters and two brothers, one of whom, Josef, became involved in Mantello's rescue work.
Second World War
Mantello became a textiles manufacturer in Bucharest, where he met Salvadoran consul Colonel José Arturo Castellanos in the 1930s. After escaping to Switzerland from the Romanian Fascists, he went to work for Castellanos at the Salvadoran consulate in Geneva.
In 1944 he became involved in the effort to halt the deportation of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz. With the aid of a diplomat from Romania, Florian Manoliu, he obtained two documents provided by Mosher Krausz in Budapest. One was Rabbi Michael Ber Weissmandl's version of the Vrba–Wetzler report and two other reports that jointly came to be known as the Auschwitz Protocols. The reports described in detail the operations of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The other document was a report about deportations of Hungarian Jews.
In contrast to many leaders who received these reports and failed to act on them, Mantello publicized the details within a day of receiving them. This triggered a significant grass roots protest in Switzerland, including Sunday masses, street protests and the Swiss Press Campaign; over 400 headlines in the Swiss press demanded (against censorship rules) an end to the deportations. As a result of the press coverage, world leaders issued appeals to Hungary's Regent, Miklós Horthy, and the mass transports, which had been deporting 12,000 Jews every day since 15 May 1944, ended on 9 July 1944. The lull in deportations made it possible to organize significant rescue activities in Hungary, such as the Raoul Wallenberg and Carl Lutz missions.
- Kranzler, David (2000). The Man Who Stopped the Trains to Auschwitz: George Mantello, El Salvador and Switzerland's Finest Hour. Syracuse University Press. pp. 9–10. ISBN 0815628730.
- "George Mandel-Mantello" The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation
- Burns, Margie. "El Salvador, a rescuing country" (profile of Mantello), International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.
- Embassy of El Salvador in Israel. "El Salvador and the Holocaust: An almost unknown chapter in the history of El Salvador."
- Kimche, Jon. "The war's unpaid debt Of honour: How El Salvador saved tens of thousands Of Jews," Jewish Observer and Middle East Review.
- Lamperti, John. "El Salvador's Holocaust Hero", personal website.
- Lévai, Jenö. Zsidósors Európában, Budapest, 1948 (Hungarian)
- Lévai, Jenö. "Abscheu und Grauen vor dem Genocid in aller Welt", Toronto 1968 (German)
- Meyer, Ernie. "The Unknown Hero: One sympathetic foreign diplomat saved thousands of Jews in Europe by providing them with foreign citizenship papers."
- Meyer, Ernie. "The greatest rescue of the Holocaust."
- Pineda, Rafael Ángel Alfaro. "El Salvador and Schindler's list: A valid comparison," Raoul Wallenberg web site.
- "Where is the Conscience of the World?" (editorial), Orthodox Tribune.
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