A Hatter and Hero of the Holocaust

Stand for Israel  |  July 13, 2021

French Jews like those rescued by hatter Amparo Otero Pappo
(Photo: German Federal Archives)

Born to a Christian family in Cuba before the fin de siecle, hatter Amparo Otero moved to Paris in the 1920s to pursue her career. In France, she married a Jewish man, Jacob Pappo, and the two began a family. Jacob died, however, before the start of World War II, leaving Amparo to raise their young son.

No sooner had Amparo’s husband passed away than World War II began, the Nazis overrunning France and beginning to exterminate the country’s Jews – including Jacob’s family, who the widowed hatter loved as her own.

Despite the risk it posed to her, Amparo sheltered Jacob’s family, including his mother, brother, sister, nephew, and niece. Otherwise the Pappo family would have ended up like so many Jews – like those seen above – herded and deported and murdered in Nazi extermination camps.

Auschwitz was the fate of the grandmother of a 13-year-old Jewish girl named Liliane Frangi. While her grandmother was ripped from her home and murdered at the death camp, Liliane found refuge in the home of Amparo.

Many years later, an elderly woman herself, Liliane learned of the Righteous Gentiles recognized by Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust memorial. So, although Amparo Otero Pappo had herself passed away in 1987, this hatter and Hero of the Holocaust was officially named Righteous Among the Nations in 2011, the only Cuban Righteous Gentile so far recognized.

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