Visa Recipients

  • BRAGANCE, Antonia de P
    Age 78
  • DEGENFELD, Count Henry von P
    Age 50
  • HABSBURG, Adelheid von P
    Age 26
  • HABSBURG, Carl Ludwig von P
    Age 22
  • HABSBURG, Charlotte von P
    Age 19
  • HABSBURG, Crown Prince Otto von V P A T
    Age 28
  • HABSBURG, Elizabeth von P
    Age 18
  • HABSBURG, Empress Zita von née BOURBON-PARME P
    Age 48
  • HABSBURG, Robert von P
    Age 25
  • HABSBURG, Rudolf von P
    Age 20
  • KERSSENBROCK, Countess Thérèse
    Age 51

About the Family

Visas for the HABSBURG family and their entourage were issued by Aristides de Sousa Mendes in Bordeaux in June 1940. This action allowed the imperial family of Austria to escape the Nazis and effectively saved the life of the Crown Prince Otto von HABSBURG who had been sentenced to death by the Nazis following the Anschluss, the German annexation of Austria.

The HABSBURG family safely crossed into Portugal and subsequently went to the United States. Elizabeth HABSBURG traveling under her title of Princess de BAR and Empress Zita HABSBURG traveling under her title of Duchess de BAR flew to New York on the Dixie Clipper on July 20, 1940. Crown Prince Otto, traveling as Otto BAR, flew to New York on the Atlantic Clipper on July 10, 1940.

The family would spend the war years on the American continent, Otto settling in Washington, D.C., and other members of the family settling first in Massachusetts and eventually in Quebec.

  • Video


Archduke Otto von Habsburg interviewed by Felix Pfeifle at Villa Austria on September 5, 2005, filmed by Christine Beebe, and presented here as part of a program of the Sousa Mendes Foundation on the rescue the Archduke by Aristides de Sousa Mendes.

  • Photos
  • Artifact

Letter sent by Otto von HABSBURG to Antonio de Sousa Mendes, grandson of Aristides de Sousa Mendes

  • Testimonial

Following is the testimonial of Otto von HABSBURG sent to the Sousa Mendes family on May 18, 1968, written by his secretary to Joana Mendes

His Imperial Highness the Archduke Otto of Habsburg has instructed me to express to you his warmest and sincerest thanks for your very kind letter of March 23, and for the documents enclosed in your letter.

The Archduke … was deeply moved by the content of your letter, which reminded him of those fateful and sad days in Bordeaux in June 1940….

The Archduke Otto of Habsburg will forever be deeply grateful to your father for the noble way in which he had also helped, in this dangerous moment, him and his entire family by giving them immediately the necessary visas for Portugal, so that on the next day the Archduke and his family went to the Spanish border, and from there, then the following morning, to Spain and then to Portugal.