George György Mantello (Mandel) (1901 - 1992)

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Nicknames: "György Mandl", "György Mandel", "George Mandel-Mantello"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Bistriţa, Romania
Death: Died in Roma, Lazio, Italia
Occupation: Hungarian/Swiss Diplomat , Banker, Businessman,
Managed by: David Prins
Last Updated:
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About George György Mantello (Mandel)

George Mantello, born György Mandl or Mandel (1901 – 1992) was a Jewish diplomat who, while working for the Salvadoran consulate in Geneva, Switzerland, saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust by providing fictive Salvadoran citizenship papers and rescued tens of thousands and possibly hundreds of thousands by publicizing in mid-1944 the deportation of Hungarian Jews to the death camps.

George Mantello was a descendant of a prominent Rabbinical family born in 1901 to Orthodox Jewish parents in Bistriţa, Transylvania, a Hungarian speaking region of Romania. Already in his twenties George Mandl proved himself to be a brilliant businessman and banker; he was also an active Zionist. 

In 1928 he married [http://www.geni.com/people/Iréne-Mantello-Berger/6000000014387157184 Iréne Berger], and their only child, Enrico Mantello, was born in 1930.

Originally a textiles manufacturer as an adult in Bucharest, he met Salvadoran consul Colonel José Arturo Castellanos in the 1930s. After escaping to Switzerland from the Romanian Fascists he went to work for Castellanos at the Salvadoran consulate in Geneva.

In 1944 he mounted his most ambitious effort -- to halt Adolf Eichmann's secret deportation of Jews from Budapest to Auschwitz. With the aid of a diplomat from Romania, Florian Manoliu, he obtained two documents provided by Moshe Krausz in Budapest.

1. One was Rabbi Michael Ber Weissmandl's version of the Vrba-Wetzler Report - also known as the Auschwitz Report and as the Auschwitz Protocol, which described in detail the operations of Auschwitz.

2. The other document was a report about deportations of Hungarian Jews.

In contrast to many leaders who received these reports well before Mantello and failed to act on it, he publicized details of atrocities within a day after receiving the reports. This triggered a significant grass roots protest in Switzerland, including Sunday masses, street protests and the Swiss Press Campaign: over 400 glaring headlines in the Swiss press (against censorship rules) demanding an end to Europe's brutality toward Jews.

Ultimately the large scale and vocal Swiss publicity led to threats issued against Hungary's Regent, Horthy, and to the stopping of the transports, which until then took 12,000 Jews daily to the death camps. The lull in deportations made it possible to organize significant rescue activities in Hungary, such as the Raoul Wallenberg and Carl Lutz missions.

The same figure is given by historian David Kranzler, who published a book about the diplomat in 2000 called "The Man who Stopped the Trains to Auschwitz" that also describes Mantello's critical role in publicizing the so-called Auschwitz Protocol, a description of the Nazis' biggest death camp by two escaped inmates.

In addition to issuing citizenship papers, Mandel-Mantello went to great lengths to publicize reports about the mass murder of European Jewry after receiving a copy of the "Auschwitz Protocols". Though copies of the Protocols had been previously leaked to individuals in the West to little effect, Mandel-Mantello immediately hired students to translate and recopy the reports and then distributed copies to church leaders, diplomats, journalists and government officials.

With the backing of prominent Protestant theologians like Karl Barth, Emil Brunner and Paul Vogt, he launched a press campaign which for the first time broke through Swiss censorship regulations that prohibited the dissemination of reports of Nazi atrocities unless they were first published in another neutral country.

During the early summer of 1944, more than 400 articles appeared in the Swiss press condemning German atrocities and Hungarian complicity. The press campaign generated protests by the Pope, President Roosevelt, British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden, the King of Sweden and the International Red Cross, all of whom demanded that the Hungarian regent, Admiral Horthy, stop the deportations of Hungarian Jews.

On July 7, 1944, surprised by the extent of the international outcry, Admiral Horthy ordered a stop to the deportations and the infamous Eichman was called back to Germany. The Jews of Budapest had an unexpected reprieve of three important months.

Later, on October 15, the Nazis had Horthy overthrown and replaced by Ferenc Szalasi and his murderous Arrow Cross and Eichman was sent back to Budapest to finish his mission. Fortunately the publication of the Auschwitz Protocols by Mantello disrupted Eichman’s deportation schedule. This has saved the lives of tens of thousands of people.

In May 2010, Yad Vashem honoured Col. Castellanos as Righteous Among the Nations. It is not known how many lives were saved by Mantello's documents - "definitively, hundreds," says Mordecai Paldiel, a Holocaust studies professor at Yeshiva University in New York. A letter from Carl Lutz, a Swiss diplomat who worked with Mantello, speaks of "thousands" saved.

After the war, George Mantello should have been honored in Switzerland as a hero.  Instead, he faced a government investigation for alleged bureaucratic “crimes” during his efforts to save lives. 

Heinrich Rothmund, the head of the Swiss Alien Police and a fanatical anti-Semite, was apparently behind this attack; indeed, Rothmund had tried at every opportunity to sabotage the earlier rescue efforts.  Fortunately the proceedings brought forth many testimonials to the value and selflessness of Mantello's work and he was fully cleared of all charges. 

Mantello chose not to remain in Switzerland, and lived in Rome for the rest of his life, making frequent visits to the new state of Israel.  He died in 1992.  

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http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/saviors/others/george-mandel-mantello-264

GEORGE MANDEL-MANTELLO’S ACTIONS WERE RELATED BY MANY HISTORIANS IN DOZENS OF BOOKS AND PUBLICATIONS:

EUGENE (JENO) LEVAI

  • 1946 – FEKETE KONYV
  • 1947 – RAOUL WALLENBERG
  • 1948 – ZSIDOSORS EUROPABAN
  • 1949 – BLACK BOOK ON THE MARTYRDOM OF HUNGARIAN JEWRY
  • 1968 – ABSCHEU UND GRAUEN VOR DEM GENOCID IN ALLER WERT
  • 1988 – RAOUL WALLENBERG (foreword by Per ANGER and S. WIESENTHAL)

WERNER RINGS (1910)

  • 1966 – ADVOKATEN DES FEINDES

RANDOLPH L. BRAHAM (1922)

  • 1981 – THE POLITICS OF GENOCIDE
  • 1990 – A. MAGYAR HOLOCAUST

DAVID KRANZLER (1930)

  • 1987 – THY BROTHER’S BLOOD
  • 1991 – TO SAVE A WORLD

THEO TSCHUY (1925)

  • 1995 – CARL LUTZ UND DIE JUDEN VON BUDAPEST

OTHER HISTORIANS AND AUTHORS MENTION MANDEL-MANTELLO OR HIS TWO ACTIONS:

  • Ben HECHT - PERFIDY – 1961
  • Per ANGER - WITH WALLENBERG IN BUDAPEST – 1966
  • Nora LEVIN - THE HOLOCAUST – 1968
  • Edgar BONJOUR - HISTORY OF SWISS NEUTRALITY 1980
  • Alois PIEBERGER - ZU MEINER ZEIT – 1988
  • Jean-Claude FAVEZ - UNE MISSION IMPOSSIBLE – 1988 and 1996
  • Robert A. GRAHAM, S.J. - VATICAN DOCUMENTS – 1996
  • John S. CONWAY - THE FIRST REPORT ABOUT AUSCHWITZ -1998

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Grandfather, Yitzchok Yaakov Mandl was related to Rabbi Yekusiel Teitelbaum, the great Hasidic Admor (grand rabbi) known by the name of his magnum opus, The Yetiev Lev.

Rabbi Yitzchak Yaakov Mandl had come to Transylvania from Alsace in the middle of the nineteenth century and served as the chief rabbi of Beszterce in an area of Transylvania called the Siebenbergen, or the seven mountains.

George Mantello's family was well to-do; his father owned a mill and held an appreciable number of shares in a bank in Beszterce.

He had two brothers and three sisters (another two brothers and a inter died in infancy). One of the brothers, Josef, who was his elder by two years, later played an important role in his rescue work.

Source

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George Mandel-Mantello's Timeline

1901
1901
Romania
1928
1928
Age 27
1992
1992
Age 91
Roma, Lazio, Italia