As the German army marched across France, Aristides de Sousa Mendes faced a choice: obey his government or follow his conscience—and risk everything.
October 19, 2021
BBC World Service interviews Dr. Olivia Mattis, President of the Sousa Mendes Foundation. To listen, click the PLAY arrow below.
October 19, 2021
Portuguese television interviews Sousa Mendes Foundation Board member Leah Rozenfeld Sills.
October 19, 2021
El incumplimiento de las normas hizo que el Aristides Sousa Mendes fuera despedido del servicio diplomático, con la consiguiente vergüenza pública para su familia. Murió en la pobreza y olvidado en 1954.
October 19, 2021
Portugal paid official homage Tuesday to Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a Portuguese diplomat who during World War II helped save thousands of people from Nazi persecution, by placing a tomb with his name in the country’s National Pantheon.
The US-based Sousa Mendes Foundation has identified through painstaking research nearly 4000 Sousa Mendes visa recipients, Jews and non-Jews, but the true number of visa recipients may be far higher.
June 26, 2020
Eighty years ago this month, Paris and northern France were occupied by German forces. Thousands of Jews and other refugees fled south from the Nazi onslaught. Many of them reached Bordeaux, finding temporary refuge while seeking life-saving visas through Portugal, a neutral nation, and on to the United States and other countries.
June 18, 2020
Eighty years after he helped save thousands of Jews from Nazi persecution by defying the orders of his own Portuguese government, a diplomat who provided them with visas to leave Nazi-occupied France will be honored in the national Pantheon in Lisbon.
June 17, 2020
Eighty years ago, a middle-aged, mid-ranking diplomat sank into deep depression and watched his hair turn grey in days, as he saw the streets of Bordeaux filling with Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis.
June 17, 2020
“Today is the ‘Day of Conscience’, inspired by the witness of the Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes,” declared the Pontiff.
June 17, 2020
Marking the Day of Conscience, inspired by the witness of Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Pope Francis appeals that freedom of conscience be respected always and everywhere.
June 3, 2020
On June 15, 1940, a tall diamond cutter and chess champion stood in line with hundreds of other Jews waiting for a ticket out of the death trap that was France. After many hours, the righteous gentile he had been waiting to see gave him the visa that would save his life. Three days later, a young woman stood in that same line, securing the papers that would prevent her and her family from being deported to Auschwitz.
March 16, 2020
Kirkus calls My Sister’s Eyes “a full-color journey of terror, hope, and loss, using family photographs, letters, and legal documents.” The collected materials animate a resourceful family fleeing tragedy, and the author’s firsthand experiences depict how the pain of the past directly impacts future generations.
January 3, 2020
Im Sommer 1940 bewahrte der portugiesische Generalkonsul in Bordeaux Flüchtlinge vor dem Tod. Fast 80 Jahre später machen sich deren Nachkommen auf die Suche nach ihm.
November 19, 2019
Jill and Ed Neuwelt of Portland, Oregon had a memorable trip this summer when they joined a tour group that included descendants of both Holocaust survivors and the Portuguese diplomat who issued visas to allow them to escape Nazi-occupied Europe.
August 22, 2019
One lesson these tales of heroism teach is that “sometimes we need to make ourselves uncomfortable,” says filmmaker Laura Seltzer-Duny. “God knows Sousa Mendes made himself uncomfortable – he saved more than 30,000 people, but he died a pauper.”
August 20, 2019
“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 might well have been stranded in Nazi-occupied Europe,” according to event moderator Michael Dobbs.
August 15, 2019
For Dr. Olivia Mattis, president of the Sousa Mendes Foundation, it’s vital the story of the Quanza be told, as there are parallels between immigration and refugee policy then and now.
July 24, 2019
This thirteen-minute Apple Podcast highlights the action of Aristides de Sousa Mendes and the work of the Sousa Mendes Foundation.
June 11, 2019
The educational website How Stuff Works explores the history and action of Aristides de Sousa Mendes.
January 27, 2019
Dr. Mordecai Paldiel reflects on the qualities that turned ordinary citizens into rescuers during the Holocaust, and the lessons of these stories for today’s world.
January 27, 2019
Aristides de Sousa Mendes was his name. We should remember his courage.
December 28, 2018
On June 22, 1940, a 15-year-old Belgian Jew named Sylvain Bromberger and his family found themselves in a crowd of fellow refugees in front of the Portuguese consulate in Bayonne, France. They fled to France the month before, shortly after Germany’s surprise attack on Belgium. But now France had surrendered to Hitler, and Bayonne, too, would soon be occupied by German forces. The Brombergers were desperate to acquire visas that would allow them to travel to Portugal.
October 31, 2018
The Sousa Mendes Foundation mourns with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh and commends the brave police officers who ran into harm’s way to save innocent lives. They are true heroes.
January 27, 2018
Hundreds of Utah teen musicians will tell the story.
January 26, 2018
It’s the story of a Holocaust hero told through the power of music. The choir and orchestra are made up of teens from across the state of Utah.
January 26, 2018
The Legacy of a Portuguese Diplomat Who Saved Thousands in WWII.
January 26, 2018
This “unsung” hero is being “sung” at a free concert, an oratorio Circular 14 at the Tabernacle.
January 18, 2018
The Salt Lake City performance by the Utah Youth Orchestras & Ensembles will feature the University of Utah Chamber Choir, the University of Utah A Cappella Choir, seven Utah high school choirs, several vocal soloists and narrator Michel Gill, the son and grandson of Sousa Mendes visa recipients.
January 17, 2018
Holocaust rescuer’s legacy lives on in Utah.
September 26, 2017
On October 29, dozens of families will gather at a gala event at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, in New York, to celebrate their rescue 77 years ago at the hands of a single person, and to commemorate him.
September 4, 2017
Gerald Mendes applies the lessons of his grandfather’s actions to the world of today.
July 26, 2017
Aristides de Sousa Mendes chose his conscience over his orders. His altruism should be an example for all those struggling to change a world that is once again failing to protect its citizens.
July 13, 2017
Dezanove descendentes de refugiados da II Guerra Mundial fizeram a mesma viagem dos pais que sobreviveram graças ao cônsul português.
July 7, 2017
Jewish refugees pay tribute to consular officer who saved thousands in WWII.
July 2, 2017
A handful of former Jewish refugees and their descendants returned last week to the craggy and verdant border between France and Spain, mostly to pay tribute to the largely forgotten Portuguese diplomat who saved their lives in the early days of World War II.
July 1, 2017
In May 1940, Rabbi Haim Kruger escaped Brussels with his family and fled to Bordeaux in southern France. He joined thousands of Jewish refugees who were running from the advancing German army and believed France was a safe haven. Soon enough, though, it became clear that the Germans were overcoming the French army as well. On June 14, Paris fell.
April 3, 2017
O Presidente Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa homenageou Aristides de Sousa Mendes condecorando-o, a título póstumo, com a Grã-Cruz da Ordem da Liberdade, tendo o seu neto Gerald Tremblay de Sousa Mendes recebido as insígnias.
March 13, 2017
Statement of the international Holocaust remembrance community spearheaded by the Sousa Mendes Foundation gains national coverage.
February 2, 2017
Cuando el presidente de Estados Unidos inicia su cruzada contra inmigrantes y refugiados, resurge la figura de un diplomático luso instalado en Burdeos en la II Guerra Mundial que desobedeció la orden del dictador Salazar. Ayudó incluso a Dalí y Gala.
December 22, 2016
Dr. Olivia Mattis, President and co-founder of the Sousa Mendes Foundation, talks about Aristides De Sousa Mendes and the impact he had on history and the lives of tens of thousands of Holocaust refugees.
December 7, 2016
Sousa Mendes Foundation-led effort gains international attention.
September 27, 2016
NYC SCENE THE OTHER DAY: The American Sephardi Federation hosted the President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa at the Center for Jewish History in Chelsea for a tour of Portugal, The Last Hope: Sousa Mendes’ Visas for Freedom. “Your history is our history,” said the President.
September 18, 2016
Portugal issued strict instructions to its diplomats to reject most visa requests from Jews, but Sousa Mendes violated those orders. “I would rather stand with God and against man,” he said, “than with man and against God.”
September 1, 2016
A city woman whose Jewish relatives escaped Europe during World War II with the help of a Portuguese consul will speak at the viewing of a film about the man’s life.
August 4, 2016
A group of about 50 people gathered in late June in the sunny courtyard of the Portuguese consulate in Bordeaux, France. It was from here in 1939 and 1940 that Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes do Amaral e Abranches issued approximately 30,000 visas to Jews and other stateless refugees.
July 20, 2016
Aristides de Sousa Mendes was the Portuguese consul in Bordeaux, France in 1940. In defiance of then Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, he issued approximately 30,000 forbidden visas to refugees fleeing Hitler and the Nazi terror.
July 4, 2016
Lissy e Stefan receberam vistos dados pelo cônsul no início da II Guerra Mundial. Mais famílias fizeram o percurso da fuga
June 24, 2016
En juin 1940, ce consul du Portugal à Bordeaux a accordé des milliers de visas à des personnes fuyant le nazisme. Certains d’entre eux ou leurs descendants participent à partir du 25 juin à un voyage organisé sur le parcours suivi à l’époque par les réfugiés.
May 4, 2016
Researching your roots is part detective work, and a lot like puzzles of any kind: crossword, Sudoku, or a Rubik’s Cube. You need an open mind and patience, some talent and it doesn’t hurt to have a professional as a close friend.
April 6, 2016
When visitors enter “Portugal, The Last Hope: Sousa Mendes’ Visas to Freedom,” which opens April 7 at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan, they will be face to face with a daughter’s plea.
April 3, 2016
Aristides de Sousa Mendes prayed for guidance, heard a voice, and to the dismay of Lisbon, opened Portugal’s door to Jews, for which he was fired and disgraced.
April 3, 2016
The American Sephardi Federation is hosting an exhibit and public program celebrating the life of former Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes.
April 1, 2016
En lisant des documents cachés depuis la Deuxième Guerre mondiale, Andrée Lotey apprend la vérité sur l’exil de son père. Un roman historique s’écrit sous ses yeux.
March 30, 2016
On the surface, it seems unlikely that an American composer—let alone a Southern Baptist from Alabama—would write a musical treatment about a largely unknown Holocaust hero.
January 26, 2016
Five years ago the newly formed Sousa Mendes Foundation, dedicated to honoring the memory of this extraordinary man, commissioned Connecticut composer Neely Bruce to write an oratorio about the Portuguese rescuer. Bruce agreed, at no fee, but asking only for the commitment to a performance of the work. That commitment was fulfilled to great acclaim on Jan. 24.
January 25, 2016
Amidst the current refugee crisis in the Middle East and North Africa, many people have looked back at the dismal record of the world in responding to the refugee crisis on the 1930s from Nazi Germany. Hesitant to compare, I only seek to understand and to ponder.
January 19, 2016
Aristides de Sousa Mendes faced a massive humanitarian crisis: It was June 1940, and the Portuguese diplomat stationed in Bordeaux, France, could not ignore nearly 120,000 refugees amassed down the road from the Portuguese consulate.
January 15, 2016
Los Angeles Jews will celebrate the life and moral courage of a devout Catholic beginning Jan. 22, with the world premiere of an oratorio, an exhibition, film screenings and a memorial service.
October 18, 2015
For Gerald Mendes, based in Paris and who visited Goa recently, Aristides, his grandfather, is a hero. “His story and that of the refugees he helped need to be heard again and again, even more so today, when we are dramatically witnessing history repeat itself,” he told The Times of India.
May 9, 2015
The Sousa Mendes Foundation actively seeks families who received lifesaving visas from the Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes in the Spring of 1940.
April 25, 2015
The theme for this year’s Blossomtime Parade in downtown Bellingham is “Honoring our Heroes,” and that’s the idea behind an unusual entry in this year’s Ski to Sea Race.
April 26, 2015
On a sunny Sunday morning in late April, the family of an unheralded hero diplomat during the Holocaust took one more step forward in their effort to rehabilitate his ruined name.
November 11, 2014
En 2007, la fille d’Andrée Lotey lui demande si elle n’a pas quelques vieilles poupées qui traînent quelque part. Mme Lotey est loin de se douter qu’elle va découvrir la vie cachée de son père et l’épopée d’un consul du Portugal qui a sauvé 30 000 personnes des persécutions nazies.
August 1, 2013
Aristides de Sousa Mendes saved the lives of an estimated 10,000 Jews in World War II, and Eric Moed is determined to shine a light on his actions.
July 9, 2013
CABANAS DE VIRIATO, Portugal — Lee Sterling knew that his sister had not survived the harrowing journey 73 years ago that allowed him and his parents to escape Nazism by traveling from their home in Brussels to Lisbon and eventually on to New York.
November 29, 2012
As a girl growing up in Scarsdale, Olivia Mattis heard her grandmother speak often and with passion about how a Portuguese diplomat saved their family after Hitler invaded Belgium in 1940.
April 18, 2012
Aristides de Sousa Mendes was neither a superhero endowed with supernatural powers nor a saint capable of working miracles, but rather a man who loved others and who believed in humanity above all else. He was a man who was truly alone during one of the darkest moments in history. This man was my grandfather…
October 16, 2010
With the Nazi invasion of France came an order from Portugal that no Jews or dissidents be granted passage. But one man stood tall against the decree – and in issuing visas for 30,000 people, Aristides de Sousa Mendes was to risk everything. Seventy years on, the people whose lives he saved are battling to restore his honour…