The Polish consul identified as Stanisław Dygat

The Polish consul identified as Stanisław Dygat

I went to the Hoover Institution Archive on campus at Stanford University yesterday. Quite an experience--just finding it, getting registered, learning the procedures, and then finally being able to open these boxes of incredible original documents.

Letters, telegrams, reports, budgets. These were records of the Polish consulate in Toulouse (Tuluzie) from 1940. One batch of mainly budget memos and reports, listing employee names and salaries. Another batch of letters and telegrams relating to the closure of the consulate in September of that year, including accounts of the critical events in June and July. 

Polish uses a lot of weird characters with unfamiliar diacritical marks, but it turns out to be basically a Latin language. I was able to enter unaccented characters into Google Translate on my iPad and get pretty decent results in English. So in a few hours, I was able to review four file folders of documents, pick out particular items of interest, and photograph them with the iPad. This will allow me to undertake a partial translation of key documents beginning today. 

The most exciting result is that I now know the name of the Polish consul who issued Elly Ringel a passport on July 5, 1940—and he turns out to be really interesting. His name is Stanisław Dygat. He became quite famous as a novelist and screenwriter in postwar Poland. His first novel, Bodensee (Lake Constance), published in 1946, about a German internment camp, might contain further clues for us. It was also a movie. Also, Magda Dygat wrote a memoir about her father. All in Polish of course. 

There are several lengthy letters by him from July and August, including one of seven handwritten pages, which is going to be tough to translate. One thing that is not in the file is a listing of passport recipients. I didn't see any specific reference to a Ringel family.  I'm set up with a three-month registration at the archive and can return for a follow up visit any time. Right now, I have plenty of work I can do with the document photos but likely will want to go back in a few weeks for a deeper dive.