‘Bo­livia’s Schindler saved 10,000 Jews from Holo­caust’

HIS­TOR­I­CAL NOVEL NAR­RATES TRUE STO­RIES THROUGH A FIC­TI­TIOUS CHAR­AC­TER

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - W RLD - —AFP

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.

—AFP

Chil­dren in the Holo­caust con­cen­tra­tion camp in Auschwitz af­ter it was lib­er­ated; (R) writer Veron­ica Or­ma­chea Gu­tier­rez

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