«Not to be shown to researchers»: Spanish Foreign Policy towards the Deportation of the Spanish Sephardic Community of Salonica, in 1943
The present chapter analyses the process by which the Spanish regime under General Francisco Franco dealt, from February 1943 on, with the problem of the extension of German repressive measures against the Jews to all territories conquered by the Third Reich, focusing on the example of Spanish nationals within the Sephardic community of Salonica. Following this decision, Spain found herself facing a grave dilemma, arising from the 1924 restricted recognition of citizenship rights to Sephardic Jews, the descendants of those expelled from Spain by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492. The Spanish lack of reaction during a particularly volatile phase in the evolution of her foreign policy in relation to the war and, above all, the prejudices of the Spanish ruling classes in relation to the Jews, led to a stalemate that resulted in the deportation of this community to the Bergen-Belsen camp in Germany. Only in 1944, in the context of international pressure and the United States commitment to facilitate the transit of the Salonica Jews to a third destination, did Franco¿s regime open the gates of Sefarad to them, for only a very limited time.