web analytics
September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Family Seeks Memorial for Portuguese Diplomat who Saved Thousands

"The largest rescue action by a single individual during the Holocaust.”
Aristides Sousa Mendes

Aristides Sousa Mendes

Aristides Sousa Mendes was the Portuguese consul in Bordeaux in 1940, when the German army invaded France. Despite orders to the contrary from his government in Lisbon, Mendes issued 30,000 visas to refugees who then escaped into neutral Portugal.

When the Salazar government stopped recognizing his visas, Mendes issued refugees Portuguese passports. He used to drive to the Spanish border to persuade guards to let people across. A third of those he saved were Jews.

Historian Yehuda Bauer says his was “the largest rescue action by a single individual during the Holocaust.”

When Sousa Mendes insubordination was discovered, Portuguese dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar threw him out of the diplomatic service, canceled his pension and disbarred him from practicing law.

Mendez was unable to support his wife and 14 children, his family home in the village of Cabanas de Viriato was repossessed after the war, and he was forced to live on handouts from a local Jewish association. He died in poverty and disgrace in 1954.

His children were blacklisted, forced to seek education and work abroad. Two of his sons enlisted with the Allied forces.

Now the Sousa Mendes Foundation is cooperating with groups in Portugal and France to preserve Sousa Mendes’ memory, identify those he saved and collect artifacts that they hope one day will fill the museum, Paul Ames reports in the GlobalPost.

Survivors who escaped with Sousa Mendes’ help, accompanied by relatives and members of the Sousa Mendes family, last month retraced their steps from Paris to Portugal via Bordeaux, honoring the man who is one of Yad vashem’s “Righteous among the Nations.”

“I thought it would be an amazing opportunity to reunite these families who last saw each other in 1940 and re-enact the journey,” Olivia Mattis, president of the Seattle-based Sousa Mendes Foundation, told Ames. “It was very intense, a fantastic opportunity to shine a spotlight on the Sousa Mendes cause.”

Mattis’ father was seven when he fled from Belgium with his parents.

The group’s visit to Cabanas de Viriato attracted media attention, and Portugal’s culture minister announced that funds will be made available to repair the Sousa Mendes home’s roof as a first step to restoring the 19th-century mansion.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Family Seeks Memorial for Portuguese Diplomat who Saved Thousands”

  1. unfortunately not many people in Portugal knows him.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Part of the Gush Etzion fence near Jerusalem
Cabinet to Vote Sunday on Cutting Gush Etzion Off from Jerusalem
Latest News Stories
Part of the Gush Etzion fence near Jerusalem

The cabinet is set to vote on the path of the security fence which would cut off Gush Etzion from Jerusalem as well as be a major eyesore.

The beheading of British aid worker David Haines, Sept. 14, 2014. The terrorist standing beside him threatened that his fellow British aid volunteer, Alan Henning, would be next if UK Prime Minister David Cameron doesn't relinquish his support for the fight against ISIS.

UK Muslims are calling on ISIS to release British aid volunteer Alan Henning, whose life is now threatened by the group.

Axe confiscated from Arab terrorist suspect by Border Police officers who were operating near Beit Jala on Sept. 18, 2014.

Border Police officers blocked an axe-toting Arab man from carrying out a terror attack near Jerusalem.

A home was damaged in a Qassam rocket barrage from Gaza on Friday, August 8, 2014. Miraculously, no one was in the house at the time.

A Code Red incoming rocket alert was sounded for Gaza Belt and Ashkelon Coastal communities.

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz says former Pres. Bill Clinton is wrong about PM Netanyahu.

A massive sting operation hauled in 15 suspects and foiled a plot by ISIS to hold a public beheading in Australia.

A 3-hour strike at Ben Gurion International Airport at check-in counters has delayed thousands.

Have you seen Menachem Bodner’s twin brother Jeno, or Jolli Gottesman? He’s out there.

Iran scorns as “ridiculous” a US-led anti-ISIS coalition without boots on the ground.

A prison inmate on death row in Connecticut is demanding kosher food, though he’s not really Jewish.

Hamas claimed one of the bank’s clients owed them taxes…

Reports from Lebanon say that Israeli Air Force planes flew over the Marjayoun area in Lebanon, launching flares.

Despite previous claims, Hamas now denies they arrested any rocket crews. So, who do we believe?

Western Wall’s employees, remove thousands of handwritten notes placed between the ancient stones of the Kotel, the Western Wall, Judaism’s second holiest site, in the Old City of Jerusalem. The operation is carried out twice each year: before the Passover festival in the spring and at the Jewish New Year in the fall. The prayer […]

A memorial event with a special photo exhibition honoring the late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon took place on Monday.

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff
Golani Rifle and Pistol Club safety training class.

A dozen rabbis and a Jewish gun club are extremely critical of the position on gun control taken by the RCA and the OU.

Never, never, never take packages from someone without knowing what is inside.

Vandals attacked two synagogues and a supermarket this week. One person has been arrested.

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.

A Michigan high school stopped a military dad from entering the building because his uniform “might offend” some students.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/family-seeks-memorial-for-portuguese-diplomat-who-saved-thousands/2013/07/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: