Visa Recipients

  • STEPPEL, Hanna Gusta P
    Age 14
  • STEPPEL, Itta née LAUS P
    Age 48
  • STEPPEL, Mojszesz P
    Age 44
  • STEPPEL, Otylia Lea P A T
    Age 19
  • STEPPEL, Pinkas Josef P
    Age 17

About the Family

The STEPPEL family received visas from Aristides de Sousa Mendes in Bordeaux, France on June 18, 1940.

They crossed into Portugal, where they resided in Curia. In April of 1941 they traveled on the vessel Nyassa from Lisbon to New York.

  • Photos
  • Artifact
Steppel diary entry

War Diary of Otylia Steppel

  • Testimonial

War Diary of Otylia Steppel

After a long journey we arrived in Bordeaux, completely broken and dead tired.  We did not know where to go.  We were desperate.  The men were allowed to stay overnight in the synagogue.  The place was everything else but hygienic and clean.  For the women staying there was completely impossible.

In the evening many members came to the synagogue.  One of them invited me to sleep at her house until we could find lodging.  It was her son who liked me.  He was very attentive towards me from the first moment he saw me. He was 20 years old and did everything for me.  I had only to point out what I wanted.  He said he would even "fall out" with his family for me.  Since I had nothing else to do, we met every day. He was, indeed, a very fine young man, and I understood him very well.  Because of this he took our relationship seriously.  He gave me a present: a lovely handkerchief, but this did not bring me any luck.

The Germans advanced closer and closer.  On one particular day we experienced two bombardments.  The day before we had gotten the visas for Portugal and we were so exhausted.  The deciding factor to leave came when my brother, whom we had not heard from in four weeks (since his conscription into the French army), arrived home quite suddenly.  I think of the handkerchief...  The luggage was packed...  Again, we had to start on our way, with the help of G-d.