On this page you will find information on the offerings of the Sousa Mendes Foundation as well as projects created by artists in a variety of media. For more information on any of these projects, please contact us.
The Story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes
This nationally-touring exhibition, appropriate for audiences of all ages, tells the gripping true story of the largest rescue action by a single individual during the Holocaust, that of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Righteous Among the Nations. In twenty panels, the exhibition interweaves biographical details about Sousa Mendes with the story of the largest refugee migration in history–the one following the Nazi invasion of the Benelux countries on May 10, 1940 and the fall of Paris on June 14, 1940. Famous Sousa Mendes visa recipients include Hans and Margret Rey (authors of Curious George), Salvador Dali, the Rothschild family, the Habsburg family, as well as the families of the rock singer Huey Lewis and the actor Michel Gill (House of Cards). But most visa recipients were ordinary families escaping the horrors of the Nazi occupation of Europe.
Louis-Philippe Mendes, grandson of Aristides de Sousa Mendes
The Sousa Mendes Foundation provides engaging and knowledgeable speakers throughout North America for Holocaust remembrance events, classroom visits, film screening Q & A and group presentations. Speakers include members of the Sousa Mendes family, members of Sousa Mendes visa recipient families, historians and other experts on the inspiring story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes. Costs include travel and lodging and either an honorarium or a donation to the SMF in lieu of an honorarium.
a film by Semyon Pinkhasov
In June 1940, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese Consul-General in Bordeaux, France, issued life-saving visas to thousands of Holocaust refugees in defiance of his government’s direct orders – an action for which he paid a heavy personal price. In June 2013, filmmaker Semyon Pinkhasov followed a group of visa recipient families, along with members of the Sousa Mendes family, as they embarked on a pilgrimage retracing their families’ footsteps of 73 years earlier. They were “searching for Sousa Mendes” – looking for traces and clues of a lost history in an effort to understand their personal pasts. Pinkhasov interweaves the testimonies of the “searchers” with compelling documentary footage and insights from experts to tell this little-known story.
the Sousa Mendes Story
June 1940 — a refugee crisis of historic proportions. Paris is occupied. Millions of refugees fleeing the advancing Nazi troops rush to Bordeaux, in the South of France. A veritable sea of humanity comes seeking passage to England, Spain, Portugal, and, by these routes, to America.
Quorum Ballet’s dance work
Neely Bruce’s concert oratorio
Neely Bruce is the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music at Wesleyan University. He is the composer of over 800 works, including operas, oratorios and other choral music, orchestral works, solo songs, seven documentary scores for public television, and some 14 hours of solo piano music. His most recent major work is a dramatic oratorio entitled Circular 14: The Apotheosis of Aristides.
Eric Moed’s architectural installation
WTF : Work Towards Fairness, focuses on the proposal of a fresh schematic design for the Casa do Passal through the use of a temporary pavilion instillation. The project demonstrates, in specific terms, how this now-decrepit home, could be turned into a meaningful and dignified museum celebrating the life of its former inhabitant- the heroic Aristides de Sousa Mendes.
Sebastian Mendes’s art exhibition
There is a Mirror in My Heart is a personal artistic response to a little known event in June 1940, while a Portuguese diplomat, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, who was stationed in Bordeaux, France, acted against the explicit written orders of his government and issued handwritten transit visas to thousands of refugees trapped in the area of Bordeaux, between the Spanish border and the advancing German army. These visas made it possible for bearers to pass through Spain and into the safety of neutral Portugal. Historians and scholars of the Holocaust have recognized Mendes’ actions as the first and largest single rescue of the period.