Page 32 - proof

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F
OCUS ON
D
I SSENT
S
AVIOR
D
IPLOMATS
:
F
INALLY
R
ECEIVING
T
HEIR
D
UE
30
F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / J U LY - A U G U S T 2 0 1 1
he commission of the Holo-
caust Memorial in Israel, Yad Vashem, has conducted an
extensive search to identify “the Righteous among the Na-
tions,” non-Jews who saved Jews during WorldWar II. To
be recognized, Yad Vashem requires that a Jewish party
make the nomination; the assistance must be repeated
and/or substantial; assistance to a family member or Jew-
ish convert to Christianity does not count; and there can-
not have been any expectation of financial gain. More than
20,000 individuals have been so designated thus far.
Drawing on Yad Vashem’s research and other sources,
the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation has compiled a list of
60 “savior diplomats” (not all of whom have been desig-
nated “Righteous among the Nations”), including five
Americans, on its Web site. The list contains only one
woman, Brazilian Aracy Moebius de Carvalho Tess, who
was chief of the passport section at the Brazilian consulate
in Hamburg. However, this presumably just reflects the
fact that few women were employed as diplomats then.
Getting Out
Jews attempting to flee Germany or German-occupied
countries during the 1930s and 1940s had to provide evi-
dence of a visa to another country in order to receive per-
mission to leave. In addition, they had to obtain transit
visas for any countries that they had to cross in order to
reach their final destination. Jews would circulate from
consulate to consulate in desperate search for the appro-
priate visa, and long lines would immediately form when-
ever word got around that a particular office was more
generous with its issuances.
In U.S. practice at the time, and continuing to this day,
each consular officer had to determine whether a poten-
tial immigrant was “likely to become a public charge” be-
fore issuing a visa. To overcome the presumption that this
was the case, the applicant had to present either proof of
sufficient funds or an affidavit of support from a sponsor in
the United States.
Because numerical limits were not generally applied to
transit visas, consular officials had more discretion to issue
those.
Harry Bingham
While stationed at the U.S. consulate inMarseille from
1940 to 1941, Hiram (“Harry”) Bingham IV and Miles
S
EVEN DECADES LATER
,
THE EXAMPLES OF THESE
60
COURAGEOUS PUBLIC SERVANTS STILL OFFER
LESSONS FOR MEMBERS OF TODAY
S
F
OREIGN
S
ERVICE
.
B
Y
M
ICHAEL
M. U
YEHARA
Michael M. Uyehara, a Foreign Service officer since 1986,
is currently a political-military affairs officer at the U.S.
Mission to International Organizations in Vienna. This ar-
ticle is based on a research paper he wrote for a graduate
course in international relations.