FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 24, 2016
Community members are invited to a film screening of the award-winning docudrama Disobedience: The Sousa Mendes Story on Wednesday, September 7 at 7:00 p.m. at The State Cinema, 990 Hope St., Stamford, CT. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door. All proceeds will benefit the Sousa Mendes Foundation, and light refreshments will be served.
The film tells the dramatic true story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese consul stationed in Bordeaux, France during World War II. When the Nazis invaded in 1940, Sousa Mendes granted Portuguese visas to thousands of refugees, against the strict orders of his government, in a feat described by historian Yehuda Bauer as “perhaps the largest rescue action by a single individual during the Holocaust.” As a result of his act of conscience, Sousa Mendes was punished by his government for “disobedience,” stripped of his position, and blacklisted. He died in 1954 in poverty and disgrace.
The film screening will be followed by a brief testimonial by Stamford resident Karen Denker, the daughter and granddaughter of Sousa Mendes visa recipients. “Finding out that my mother and her family had been saved by the compassion and selfless acts of this heroic Catholic man was literally life-altering,” said Denker. “It is a lesson that should never be forgotten and must be told to all,” she added.
In 1966, Sousa Mendes was posthumously recognized as a “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust authority. The Portuguese government eventually honored Sousa Mendes in the 1980’s, as a result of pressure from the US government. The Stamford screening is part of the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Yad Vashem recognition.
The Sousa Mendes Foundation, established in 2010, is a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring the memory of Aristides de Sousa Mendes and to teaching the importance of moral courage in a civilized world. Named “Organization of the Year” in 2012 by The Portuguese Tribune, the Foundation is engaged in a worldwide search for families who escaped the Holocaust through Portugal. www.sousamendesfoundation.org
For more information, please contact: Robert Jacobvitz, (877) 797-9759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.