web analytics
October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat meet with security officials over Oct. 22 terror attack.
Netanyahu Convenes Top Brass in Jerusalem Over Terror Attack
Latest News Stories
Israeli car damaged by rock attack in September 2014. (archive)

Despite PM Netanyahu’s vow to “assert sovereignty” over all parts of Jerusalem, Arabs continue to carry out potentially lethal rock attacks.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat meet with security officials over Oct. 22 terror attack.

Israel’s prime minister and the mayor of Jerusalem met today with security brass over the terror attack that wounded 8 and killed a 3-month-old baby.

An IAF BOEING 707 fueling three F-15 aircraft in flight, facilitating long-range missions, such as those being planned against Iranian nuclear sites.

For the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Boeing Aerospace and Defense has made a sale to Iran.

Equipment at an oil well. (illustrative only, file photo)

Syria’s once-lucrative oil wells dissolve under U.S.-led coalition air strikes targeting the ISIS terror organization.

In Lebanon, a man in his 20s suspected of being ill with the Ebola virus has been placed in quarantine at a Beirut hospital.

Israelis of all ages watched in fascination as the Hawaiian-born Japanese-Samoan former sumo star, Konishiki Yasokichi shared his moves during a special workshop for children in Jerusalem.

The Legal Forum for Israel calls on Transportation Minister Katz to amend the law and revoke drivers’ licenses of convicted terrorists.

Kerry still thinks Muslim terror in Israel is different from elsewhere.

This Friday, millions of Jews in 340 cities around the world will be ‘keeping it together.’ The 7th day. Shabbat.

After decades of using diesel-powered locomotives, Israel Railways is going “electric.”

The real news will be when the West wakes up before it won’t be able to wake up.

Were you on the plane? Let us know what really happened.

Terror? Of course not. The Arab driver lost control of his steam shovel after being prematurely shot.

The first intifada began with Ishmael 3,500 years ago and never ended.

The funeral for Chaye Zisel Braun began at midnight Wednesday night.

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff

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: