Gissot was charged with trafficking visas

Walter and I began our investigation into our mother's refugee journey with the idea that the Ringel family made it over the many border crossings with liberal use of bribes paid under the table to corrupt officials. "Things could be arranged by greasing the right palms," Helga told Walter in the oral history she gave in 2004.

As we have seen, one key location in their journey was Toulouse in July 1940 when they acquired important documents. Our ongoing investigation about what happened in Toulouse has previously identified four consular officials from three countries who were involved in supplying those those papers.

Perhaps naively, I have written of the four diplomats as minor Holocaust heros, who saved the lives of the Ringel family members and possibly hundreds of others through their selfless actions. Now I have received new information that may move the narrative back in the original direction--something closer to Casablanca than to Schindler's LIst.

Rui Afonso, the biographer of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, has sent me the 11-page disciplinary file "Irregularities of the vice-consul of the Consulate in Toulouse, Mr. Gissot," which I knew of but had not previously seen. Based on charges by the consul of Marseille, as well as by the Portuguese secret police, the report issued December 19, 1940 by the Bureau of Business and Consular Affairs details allegations of corruption against Gissot and concludes that they are grounds for his dismissal.

I have done a rough translation of the document and will share that in the next post.