Spanish Nationals in Greece and their Fate during the Holocaust
The legal status of Spanish Jewish nationals in Greece was recognized by the Germans who deferred to Spain because of Germany’s vital interests in Spain. Spain did not exploit the situation in order to rescue Jews. Spain was prepared to permit the transit of Jews through Spain but not to allow them to reside therein. The readiness to receive her nationals was contingent on the Joint Distribution Committee’s guarantee to assist their emigration from Spanish territory. Furthermore, the government insisted that no refugee group would be allowed into Spain until the preceding group had been evacuated. Thus, Jews from Salonika and Athens, to their detriment, spent months waiting for entry permits to Spain. Part of this delay was due to postponement of the Allied decision at the Bermuda Conference to set up a refugee center in North Africa. The Spanish attitude to the Jews during the Holocaust showed that official Spanish policy was not to permanently absorb their Jewish nationals stranded in Greece. However, the Spanish government demonstrated a permissive police towards illegal Jewish refugees within her borders and Spanish diplomats conferred protection on Jews in various other countries as exemplified by Romero Radigales in Athens.