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Valeria M. Nava

Who was Gilberto Bosques?

- He supported Lebanese with Mexican passports and Spanish refugees seeking to flee from the Nazis.

Who was Gilberto Bosques?

Gilberto Bosques Saldívar, was born in the city of Chiautla de Tapia, Puebla on July 20, 1892. He was a Mexican teacher, journalist, politician and diplomat, but above all a "person with a great pedagogical vocation" (CNDH, 2018). The Gilberto Bosques Center (2018) mentions his participation in the Mexican Revolution, being involved in the Aquiles Serdán uprising in 1910; years later he would venture into politics and would become a deputy on two occasions.

According to information from CONAPRED (s/f) in 1939, in a context in which Spain was plunged into Francoism and the war was beginning in the rest of Europe, the president of the Mexican Republic, at that time Lázaro Cárdenas del Río, names Gilberto Bosques Consul General in Paris, France.

When the Germans invaded France, Bosques and his family fled from Paris, with the instruction to establish the consulate in another place, for which he traveled to the north coast, where he reestablished himself in Marseille, in the Mediterranean, an area that fell within the Government Vichy French (CONAPRED, s/f). Although his duty was to protect the interests of Mexican residents in unoccupied France, he soon protected other groups as well. According to CONAPRED (undated):

He supported Lebanese with Mexican passports and Spanish refugees seeking to flee the Nazis. In fact, it is believed that he was the one who convinced President Lázaro Cárdenas to open the doors of Mexico to Spanish Republicans. The influx of refugees seeking Mexican visas was so great that Bosques rented two castles (Reynarde and Montgrand) to turn them into asylum centers while their departure to Mexico was arranged.

In 1943, according to the CNDH (2018), Mexico broke diplomatic relations with the Vichy Government in France and Consul Bosques was the one who presented the rupture note. Immediately, the Gestapo troops arrested all the consulate personnel, including Gilberto Bosques, his wife, his three children and 43 other people; "From there they were transferred to the Amélie-les-Bains community in the Eastern Pyrenees, although shortly after they were transferred to Germany, to the town of Bad Godesberg, where they were held in a prison hotel" (CNDH, 2018).

Gilberto Bosques returned to Mexico in April 1944 and was received by thousands of Spanish refugees who were waiting for him at the Mexico City railway station (CNDH, 2018). In a Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2017) in which they honor the memory of Gilberto Bosques, it is narrated that:

Between 1939 and 1944, Don Gilberto Bosques Saldívar was Consul General of Mexico in France, a country from which he issued around 40,000 visas to Jews, Spaniards, French, Lebanese and Italians persecuted by fascist regimes. Thanks to the issuance of these documents, thousands of women and men were able to travel to Mexico, where they found refuge and started a new life.

With this, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2017) recognizes that "his humanitarian work and solidarity work in favor of those who think differently transcends to this day." His last years as a Mexican diplomat were served as Plenipotentiary Minister in Portugal (1945-1949) in Sweden and Finland (1949.1953) and; from 1953 to 1964 he was Ambassador to Cuba (Gilberto Bosques Center, 2018).

In his biography of the Gilberto Bosques Center (2018) it appears that he died on July 4, 1995 in Mexico City, at the age of 102.

International recognition

On the CNDH page (2018) it is mentioned how:

His great humanitarian work is internationally recognized, because thanks to him thousands of people found refuge and started a new life. With his personal mission, which he fulfilled with all passion and conscience, he made it 'the duty of Mexican foreign policy to save every anti-fascist refugee who knocked on the doors of the Mexican consulate'.

In turn, in the CONAPRED (s/f) news, it is stated that on June 4, 2003 the Austrian government imposed one of its streets, which is located in the 22nd District of Vienna, called Donaustadt or Ciudad del Danube , the name of Paseo Gilberto Bosques. With this, the Austrian government sought to honor the memory of the illustrious Mexican diplomat, "who helped during World War II to save many Austrians from Nazi power" (CONAPRED, s/f).

Likewise, after his death, recognition of his humanism continued, as shown by the creation in 2013 of the "Gilberto Bosques" Human Rights Award, on the occasion of the fifty years of the Eliseo Treaty (CNDH, 2018), promoted by the French and German embassies in Mexico.

This character is also known as the Mexican Schindler (El País, 2017), "Gilberto Bosques Saldívar is still remembered as one of the great saviors of the Holocaust... Bosques demonstrated exceptional courage and humanity that have dazzled throughout modern history" ( Gleizer, 2015, p.57).


    Centro Gilberto Bosques (2018) Gilberto Bosques. Recuperado de:

    CNDH (2018) Nacimiento de Gilberto Bosques Saldívar: Salvó la vida de miles de personas refugiadas del franquismo y durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Precursor de la Revolución Mexicana. Recuperado de:

    CONAPRED. (s/f) 27 enero. Día Internacional de la Conmemoración Anual en Memoria de las víctimas de Holocausto. Biografía del cónsul mexicano Gilberto Bosques. Recuperado de:

    El País. (2017) Gilberto Bosques Saldívar, el ‘Schindler mexicano’, recordado por Google. Recuperado de:

    Gleizer, D. (2015) Gilberto Bosques y el consulado de México en Marsella (1940-1942. La burocracia en tiempos de guerra. Estudios de Historia Moderna y Contemporánea de México. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, p. 54-76.

    SRE. (2017) La Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores honra la memoria de Don Gilberto Bosques Saldívar. Comunicado. Recuperado de:

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M., Valeria. “¿Quién fue Gilberto Bosques?.” CEMERI, 19 sept. 2022,