Recently I have been delving into new questions related to my book. I want to know more about the falsified passport that saved my grandfather from being sent to Auschwitz. This is what I know so far:
- It was obtained from the Paraguayan Consulate in Bern Switzerland. I say “obtained” because I do not know if it was bought, bribed, forged or gifted from the consulate.
- The then Mayor of Basel and a business associate of my grandfather were the ones who managed to get this passport.
- There were actually several passports that these two men managed to get and they proceeded to send them to their Jewish friends in Amsterdam.
- Of the approximate two-dozen families hoping to get these passports, only our family received one. The Nazis who were censoring the mail confiscated all the other documents.
The daughter of the businessman told me that her father’s non-Jewish secretary smuggled the passport into Germany and mailed it from there. I am assuming they thought mail out of Germany would be subject to less censoring than that from Switzerland. And here is where my new questions have been coming from. Who was this woman who smuggled the passport? Was she young, adventurous, and wanting to do something, anything, to help a Jew who was caught in Nazi occupied lands? Was she unhappily married and trying to make an impression on her boss? Did she offer to risk this journey for a handsome fee in order to make ends meet and feed her young children?
Last night I dreamt that I received a package in the mail. It contained her journal. In my dream I was as excited to receive this journal as my grandfather must have been when he opened the envelope with the passport. I had trouble holding back the tears of joy. She had spelled out exactly what she did and why. The journal even had her train tickets from Basel to Lörrach and a pen and ink drawing of the disguise she wore. There were also many pieces of paper in an envelope that needed to be put together like a puzzle. I was working hard on organizing those when I woke up. I really wish I had slept a little longer.