Aristides de Sousa Mendes

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: