Aristides de Sousa Mendes was the Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux, France, who, at the cost of his career as a Portuguese civil servant and in opposition to the orders of the Portuguese dictatorship of Salazar, aided literally thousands of refugees from the Nazis by signing visas for them ensuring their safe passage. As reported in an article in Smithsonian (November 2021, pp. 72-73),
“Sousa Mendes must have understood the likely consequences when, in June 1940, he threw open his doors and began to sign visas en masse. And once he started he didn’t stop. He signed visas for refugees who had passports and those who did not. They lined up by the thousands at his desk, out the door, down the stairs, and into the street.”
For further information on him, see:
- Sousa Mendes Foundation: https://sousamendesfoundation.org/
- “Disobedience: The Sousa Mendes Story”: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/disobedience
- “Aristides de Sousa Mendes: Righteous Among the Nations”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuN-XOnQnHk
- “Aristides de Sousa Mendes: The Portuguese Diplomat Who Saved Jews”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Yenkh0fpF0
- “Saved by Portuguese Consul Aristides de Sousa Mendes: Testimony of Survivor Henri Deutsch”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwwi9cd5kJw
- “Aristides de Sousa Mendes, 1885-1954” by Maria Julia Cirurgiao and Michael D. Hull, Jewish Virtual Library, https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/aristides-de-sousa-mendes.
- “In Memoriam: Aristides de Sousa Mendes honored at the National Pantheon – Portugal”, Portuguese American Journal, https://portuguese-american-journal.com/in-memoriam-aristides-de-sousa-mendes-honored-at-the-national-pantheon-portugal/
- “Aristides de Sousa Mendes: A Rebel”
- “The Consul of Bordeaux”. This is the story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a man who issued 30,000 visas for safe passage to Portugal during WWII, in June 1940, defying the direct orders of his government. Among them were 10,000 Jews.
- A Good Man in Evil Times: The Story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes — The Man Who Saved the Lives of Countless Refugees in World War II by Jose-Alain Fralon (author) and Peter Graham (translator). Hardcover 2001. Available from Amazon and AbeBooks .
- A long-unknown story of individual courage in the face of an authoritarian fascist bureaucracy unfolds in this inspiring biographical tribute to Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese consul to France in the early years of the Second World War. After the Nazi invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, Aristides de Sousa Mendes found himself continually more restricted by the policies of Portugal’s prime minister, Dr. Antonio Oliveira de Salazar, who, like Franco in Spain, assumed a position of neutrality but did not wish to offend Hitler. It was Salazar’s Circular 14 — which denied, on the basis of race and religion, visas to the swelling number of refugees to Portugal — that prompted the fifty-five-year-old Sousa Mendes’s first acts of disobedience in his office at the consulate in the temporary French capital of Bordeaux. Over a period of six months in 1940, in accordance with his own conscience rather than Salazar’s dictates, Sousa Mendes signed many thousands of visas that spared their recipients, ten thousand of them Jews, a terrible fate in the Nazi death camps. Sousa Mendes’s acts of private resistance earned him Salazar’s wrath, a forced early retirement, and years of dire poverty. They also won him a place in the pantheon of truly just men and, in Israel, a forest commemorating his tremendous heroism.
- D’Alma – Tributo a Aristides de Sousa Mendes (Official Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFgI09CklJs
- Sousa Mendes Remembered, May 30, 2021: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LA-Mweebpzw
- Aristides de Sousa Mendes: Defiance in the Name of Compassion | WA NHD 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4-oLqOhSC8
- Aristides de Sousa Mendes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCqemsVYrCI