Letter: Flight of the Angel of Budapest

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The Independent Online
Sir: I was intrigued by Phil Davison's article 'The Angel of Budapest' (2 May), but I think the role of Angel Sanz-Britz in saving 5,200 Jews in Nazi-occupied Budapest has been exaggerated. Almost none of these people would have eventually been saved, but for the extraordinary heroism of Giorgio Perlasca, the Italian who set himself up as bogus Spanish charge d'affaires after the departure of Sanz-Britz.

Giorgio Perlasca told me personally in 1992 that as far as Angel Sanz-Britz, the real Spanish charge d'affaires in Budapest in 1944, is concerned:

1. Sanz-Britz had not been 'recalled' to Madrid, but had fled Budapest, terrified by the chaos and by the approaching Russian army.

2. He had not deliberately left the Embassy seal and papers to facilitate Perlasca's work in safeguarding the 'Spanish' Jews.

3. That there was a specific Spanish policy throughout Nazi- occupied Europe to save Jews of Sephardic origin.

Without Perlasca's constant efforts to protect the 5,200 Jews in the so-called Spanish houses, long after the departure of Sanz-Britz, none of them would have survived.

Yours sincerely,


Verona, Italy

3 May