The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will honor the late Salvadoran Consul-General José Arturo Castellanos and his First Secretary George Mandel-Mantello whose extraordinary efforts during the Holocaust saved thousands—perhaps as many as 5,000—Jews throughout Nazi occupied Europe at a special event on Monday, September 20 at 7:00 p.m. at the Museum. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required at www.ushmm.org/events/sept20.
José Arturo Castellanos was recently recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem, and earlier this year, Mandel-Mantello’s son, Enrico Mantello, donated more 1,000 recently discovered Salvadoran citizenship certificates that his father and Castellanos distributed to Jews throughout Europe to help them avoid deportation and death. Several certificates will be on display at the ceremony. Mandel-Mantello’s son Enrico, Castellanos’ daughter, Frieda Castellanos de Garcia, and several Jewish families whose parents and grandparents were saved will also attend the ceremony.
“The families of those who were saved by Castellanos and Mandel-Mantello are living testaments to the power of action in times of hatred and indifference,” says Museum Director Sara J Bloomfield.”
In the summer of 1942, George Mandel-Mantello, a Hungarian Jewish businessman, joined his friend Castellanos in Geneva to work at the Salvadoran Consulate. With the cooperation of Castellanos, he assisted other Jews across Europe find safety by creating and issuing them Salvadoran citizenship certificates. Museum archivists are currently researching the fate of the people Castellanos and Mandel-Mantello so desperately tried to rescue.