Eduardo Propper de Callejón

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Eduardo Propper de Callejon)
Jump to: navigation, search

Eduardo Propper de Callejón (9 April 1895, Madrid – 1972, London) was a Spanish diplomat who is mainly remembered for having facilitated the escape of thousands of Jews from occupied France during World War II between 1940 and 1944.

He was the father-in-law of The Honourable Raymond Bonham Carter and the maternal grandfather of British actress Helena Bonham Carter.[1][2]


Propper de Callejón was First Secretary of the Spanish Embassy in Paris, when France surrendered to Nazi Germany on 20 June 1940. In order to prevent the Wehrmacht from plundering the art collection that his wife's family kept at the Chateau de Royaumont, he declared this castle to be his main residence, so it would be treated in the same privileged way as the accommodation of any other diplomat. Among the art works thus saved are a triptych of Van Eyck (one of Adolf Hitler's favourite painters).

In July 1940, he issued from the Spanish Consulate in Bordeaux, in co-operation with the Portuguese Consul Aristides de Sousa Mendes, more than 30,000 transit visas to Jews, so that they could cross Spain to reach Portugal. When Spain's Foreign Minister Ramón Serrano Suñer learnt that Propper de Callejón was issuing visas without prior authorization, he had him transferred to the Consulate of Larache in the Spanish protectorate in Morocco. Afterwards, he would be posted to Rabat, Zurich, Washington D.C., Ottawa and Oslo.


Propper de Callejón's father, Max Propper, was a Bohemian Jew; and his mother, Juana Callejón, was a Spanish Catholic. They raised him and his brothers in the Catholic faith. His wife, Hélène Fould-Springer, was a socialite and painter. She was from a notable Jewish French-Austrian banking family, the daughter of Baron Eugène Fould-Springer (a French banker, who was descended from the Ephrussi family and the Fould dynasty) and Marie Cecile von Springer (whose father was Austrian-born industrialist Baron Gustav von Springer, and whose mother was from the de Koenigswarter family). She converted to Catholicism after World War II.[3] Her sister was prominent Paris art patron and philanthropist Liliane de Rothschild (Baroness Élie de Rothschild, 1916–2003) of the prominent Rothschild family (who had also married within the von Springer family in the 19th century).

He never gained public recognition for his heroic acts before his death in 1972 in London.

In 2008, he was officially recognised as a Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust remembrance authority in Israel.[4] This was accomplished by the testimony of Austrian Archduke Otto von Habsburg who had disclosed his knowledge of Propper de Callejón's actions at the Nazi occupation of France during an interview with Felix Pfeifle for the film Felix Austria (2012).


  1. ^ Costa, Maddy (3 November 2006). "It's all gone widescreen". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 May 2017. 
  2. ^ Barber, Lynn (20 April 1997). "Helena Bonham Carter: 'Couldn't she just wear a babygro?'". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 May 2017. 
  3. ^ Pfefferman, Naomi (30 July 2008). "Helena Bonham Carter: Jewish mother?". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Archived from the original on 2 September 2016. 
  4. ^ Frazer, Jenni (8 February 2008). "How Helena's grandfather was finally recognised as a true hero". The Jewish Chronicle. Archived from the original on 10 February 2008. 

External links[edit]