Holocaust hero dies at 97

Adolfo Kaminsky was a forger who helped save thousands of lives in the Holocaust by falsifying documents for Jewish people.

Holocaust hero

A native of Argentina, Kaminsky grew up in France after moving there with his parents as a child. He began working in a dry cleaner’s shop that dyed clothing as a young man, and it was there that he learned the skills that would make him invaluable to the French Resistance. He had professional expertise in removing ink stains, which included ink on paper. Kaminsky collaborated with the Resistance to falsify documents by removing Jewish-sounding names and replacing them with names that would not catch the attention of Nazis. Kaminsky is believed to have created life-saving documents for at least 10,000 people. After the war, he continued to work as a forger for many years, including falsifying ID papers for American draft dodgers during the Vietnam War. Kaminsky gave up forgery in later years in favor of working as a photographer.

Notable quote

“I saved lives because I can’t deal with unnecessary deaths — I just can’t. All humans are equal, whatever their origins, their beliefs, their skin color. There are no superiors, no inferiors. That is not acceptable for me.” —from a 2016 interview for the New York Times


Tributes to Adolfo Kaminsky