Visa Recipients

  • KRISCHER, Bernhard P T
    Age 8
    Age 28
  • KRISCHER, Josef
    Age 37

About the Family

The KRISCHER family received Portuguese visas in Hendaye in June 1940, presumably from Aristides de Sousa Mendes.

The family crossed into Portugal, where they resided in Curia. They sailed on the ship Serpa Pinto from Lisbon to New York, via Bermuda, in March 1941.

  • Photos
  • Testimonial

Testimonial of Bernhard KRISCHER (now Bernard KRISHER)

We fled Germany in 1937, when I was six years old to Holland, then to France and when the Germans invaded Paris, we took the last train from Austerlitz station to Saint-Jean-de-Luz and then Hendaye when my father mentioned he would like to visit the Portuguese consul there to get a visa to Portugal. While we were walking on the street one day, I approached a man and asked him in French if he knew where the Portuguese Consulate was located. The man replied "Mon petit garçon, why are you asking me this?" I told him that we fled the Germans and we were trying to get a visa to Portugal. He then said he was the Portuguese consul, gave my father his name card and added that he should come there the next day and he will give him a visa. I don't know what the consul's name was....

We first went to Spain and then chartered three taxis with another family and traveled from the Spanish border, Irun, via Salamanca to Curia, a resort where the Portuguese government allowed refugees to stay.... I will never forget the kindness of the Portuguese people and their non-violent nature. Unlike the Spanish, they only tease the bull in a bullfight but never kill him. I retain my saudades for the country and its people.

We left Lisbon on the Serpa Pinto which stopped in Bermuda en route to New York. We were in tourist class, but the Portuguese captain took a liking to me and invited me to sit with him at the captain's table and arranged for me to get off the ship and see Bermuda where I made some money by collecting coins from the passengers and buying fruit and newspapers for them. After landing in New York in January 1941, we passed through immigration at Ellis Island and our records are still there, I discovered many years later when I visited Ellis Island as a museum.