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June 2019

Religious observances in Portugal and the US

June 15 - July 21
João Crisóstomo

Sousa Mendes Foundation advisory João Crisóstomo has organized a series of religious observances in the United States and Portugal in memory of Aristides de Sousa Mendes on the occasion of the 79th anniversary of his “Day of Conscience.” These are listed below:

Cabanas de Viriato and Beijós, Portugal, June 15 and 16. Bishop of Viseu Don Antonio Luciano and Father Carlos Sousa will remember Aristides de Sousa Mendes and his “Act of Conscience” during their sermons.

Algés, Portugal, June 16, 7 p.m. Auxiliary Bishop of Lisbon Don Daniel Henrique will remember Sousa Mendes during his sermon.

Porto, Portugal, June 16. Bishop Don Armando Esteves Domingues will remember Sousa Mendes during his sermon. 

Torres Vedras, A-dos-Cunhados, Portugal, June 15 and 16. Father Eduardo will remember Sousa Mendes during the religious services. The Franciscan Community will remember Sousa Mendes in the Convento de Varatojo. Father Melícias will preside.

Five Wounds Portuguese National Church, 1375 E Santa Clara St., San Jose, CA, June 15 and 16.  Father Antonio Silveira will remember Sousa Mendes in his sermons.

Our Lady of Fatima Church, 403 Spring St, Elizabeth, NJ, June 16

Our Lady of Fatima Church, 355 South Broadway, Yonkers, NY, June 16, 10 a.m.
Father Osvaldo Franklin will remember Sousa Mendes in the mass.

Slovenian Community Church, 62 St. Marks Place, New York, NY, July 21, 10:30 a.m.

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Trip: Journey on the Road to Freedom

June 29-July 9, 2019

Retrace the footsteps of Aristides de Sousa Mendes and the refugees of 1940 on this 11-day, 10-night guided trip of a lifetime, beginning in Bordeaux and ending in Lisbon. In between, visit sites germane to the dramatic and moving story, including Bayonne, Hendaye, Vilar Formoso, Cabanas de Viriato, and Porto. Optional pre-tour and post-tour extensions.  Travel in a comfortable air-conditioned coach bus and enjoy regional cuisine.  Accommodations are all full-service luxury 5-star or 4-star hotels.  Open to all, but space is limited!

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August 2019
$20 - $120

Eleanor Roosevelt and the Jewish Refugees She Saved: The Story of the S. S. Quanza

August 11 @ 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Center for Jewish History,
15 W 16th Street
New York, NY 10011 United States
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Quanza refugees

Passengers on board the Quanza, unable to disembark, 1940


The Sousa Mendes Foundation and the American Sephardi Federation present the New York premiere of the documentary film, Nobody Wants Us (2019, dir. Laura Seltzer-Duny) on Sunday, August 11, 2019, 2-4:30 p.m. at the Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York City.



In 1940, a ship called the S.S. Quanza left the port of Lisbon carrying several hundred Jewish refugees —  most of whom held Sousa Mendes visas — to freedom.  But events went terribly wrong, and the passengers became trapped on the ship because no country would take them in.  Nobody Wants Us tells the gripping true story of how Eleanor Roosevelt herself stepped in to save the passengers on board because of her moral conviction that they were not “undesirables” (as the US State Department labeled them) but rather were “future patriotic Americans.”  This is an episode in American history that everyone needs to know.



The film, which is 35 minutes in length, will be introduced by the filmmaker Laura Seltzer-Duny and followed by a panel discussion moderated by Michael Dobbs of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, author of The Unwanted.  Other participants will include:

Blanche Wiesen Cook, the leading world expert on Eleanor Roosevelt and the author of her three-volume biography.

Annette Lachmann, who was a passenger on the Quanza in 1940.

Kathleen Rand, whose father Wolf Rand was the passenger who successfully filed suit against the shipping company, forcing the vessel to remain in port until the conflict was resolved.

Stephen Morewitz, the leading world expert on the Quanza story, whose grandparents’ Newport News, Virginia law firm of Morewitz & Morewitz was hired by Wolf Rand and successfully litigated the case.


Significance of the story:

According to Michael Dobbs, “The Quanza incident is a timely reminder that individuals make a difference.  Without visas supplied by the Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes, many of the Jewish passengers on board the Quanza might well have been stranded in Nazi-occupied Europe.  Without the legal brilliance of a maritime lawyer named Jacob Morewitz, the ship would have been obliged to sail back to Europe. Without the intervention of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, the passengers would not have been permitted to land.   It took three people, from entirely different backgrounds, to save dozens of lives that might otherwise have been lost.”


Ticket information:

General admission:  $20

Sponsor ticket:  $120 includes VIP luncheon at 12:30 p.m.  $100 of this ticket price is tax-deductible.  Money raised will help bring the film and educational materials into schools throughout the United States.

To purchase tickets, click here.

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