‘Bolivia’s Schindler saved 10,000 Jews from Holocaust’
HISTORICAL NOVEL NARRATES TRUE STORIES THROUGH A FICTITIOUS CHARACTER
Paris: A Jewish immigrant to Bolivia who made a fortune mining tin saved 10 times as many lives during the Holocaust than the star of Oscarwinning Hollywood blockbuster “Schindler’s List,” a journalist and writer said.
Oskar Schindler was turned into a household name by the 1993 Hollywood epic directed by Steven Spielberg, telling the tale of the German industrialist who saved more than 1,000 Jews by employing them in his businesses in Nazi-occupied Poland. But according to Veronica Ormachea, Moritz Hochschild saved 10,000 Jews from Adolf Hitler’s gas chambers during World War II. “It was an unprecedented historic event in the history of Jews in Bolivia and the world,” Ormachea said from her office in La Paz. “It was a historic fact that he managed to save 10,000
Jews,” although not his sister, who was killed at Auschwitz.
Born in Germany in 1881, Hochschild became one of Bolivia’s three “tin barons” in the early part of the 20th century, alongside Simon Patino and Carlos Aramayo, who wielded great influence in the South American country until the 1952 revolution in which mining was nationalised.
In her historical novel “Los Infames” (the villains), Ormachea relates how thousands of European Jews arrived in the heart of South America as they fled Nazi terror. Using the fictitious character of Boris Kominsky, the novel describes how the mining magnate helped save thousands of Jews.
Ormachea points to a 1940 letter from Hochschild to James Rosenberg, a Jew living in New York, asking for financial help, as evidence to support her claims.
In the letter, Hochschild says he’s managed to transport to Bolivia “between 9,000 and 10,000” Jews and that his plan, which had the support of Bolivia’s military leader of the time, German Busch, was to bring 30,000 people to the country. With help from two of Hochschild’s companies, the Jews arriving in Bolivia were given farm work in the cocagrowing region of Yungas, to the east of La Paz.
Children in the Holocaust concentration camp in Auschwitz after it was liberated; (R) writer Veronica Ormachea Gutierrez