A WARTIME bureaucrat who saved thousands of Jews is being immortalised in stone by Corfe Castle sculptor Jonathan Sells.

Frank Foley headed the passport division of the British Embassy in Berlin in the 1930s, breaking and bending rules to hand out visas to thousands of Jews anxious to leave Germany.

It was a cover for his work as an MI6 intelligence officer and when he died in 1958 very few people knew the extent of his courage in helping save German Jews.

The town council at his birthplace, Highbridge in Somerset, has commissioned a statue in his honour as part of the 60th anniversary VE Day celebrations.

Jonathan Sells, whose previous works include the Tregonwell sculpture outside the BIC, has spent the past eight months working 12 hours a day turning a six-and-a-half-ton piece of Portland stone into a work of art.

He said: "There are lots of symbolic elements - Frank Foley is stamping the visa for a Jew as the worried man's daughter points innocently to a train.

"The two men's heads are connected to show their connection on a human level. Frank Foley must have been thinking about the people he was saving. He was a devout Catholic who believed Hitler was the devil on earth."

Frank Foley is estimated to have saved at least 10,000 Jews from the Holocaust and he convinced scores of German spies to become double agents.

The statue will sit on a four-ton plinth of Portland stone surrounded by Purbeck stone paving from local quarry HF Bonfield and Son.

Mr Sells studied architectural carving and stone masonry at Weymouth Technical College and over the past 20 years he has completed sculptures for Wareham market and Christchurch Priory.

He said: "Every sculpture takes me back in time. When I was working on the girl I was imagining all the children who went to the concentration camps - it has really moved me."

First published: April 29