Ecuador’s First Righteous Gentile

Stand for Israel  |  October 5, 2021

Yad Vashem ceremony for Dr. Manuel Munoz Borrero, Righteous Gentile from Ecuador
Yad Vashem

Ten years ago, Yad Vashem (Israel’s official Holocaust memorial) recognized the very first – and thus far only – Righteous Among the Nations from Ecuador. As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage month, let’s learn the story of Righteous Gentile, Dr. Manuel Munoz Borrero.

Born, raised, and educated in Ecuador, Dr. Munoz Borrero began serving as Consul to Stockholm in 1931, which positioned him to help his Jewish brothers and sisters when the Nazis began persecuting them.

In 1941, Dr. Munoz Borrero sent 80 passports that helped save Polish Jews. These actions, however, led to the ambassador being fired. But while Ecuador informed Sweden of his firing, Sweden did not confiscate the consulate materials from Dr. Munoz Borrero, who used them to do further good.

Sweden’s Jewish leaders learned of the extra passports and approached the former ambassador. Dr. Munoz Borrero began issuing these passports to European Jews, believing false identities as Latin American Jews might protect them from deportation.

Sadly, the passports did not save many of these Jews, who were murdered at Bergen Belsen and Auschwitz.

But some of those Jews who received passports from the ambassador from Ecuador did survive the Holocaust. And it was thanks to the stories of these survivors that, in 2011, Dr. Manuel Munoz Borrero from Ecuador was named a Righteous Gentile in the ceremony shown above.

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