Retrace the footsteps of the rescuer Aristides de Sousa Mendes and the refugees he saved in 1940 on this 11-day, 10-night guided trip of a lifetime, beginning in Bordeaux and ending in Lisbon. In between, visit sites germane to the dramatic and moving story, including Bayonne, Hendaye, Vilar Formoso, Cabanas de Viriato, and Figueira da Foz.* Optional pre-tour and post-tour extensions. Travel in a comfortable air-conditioned coach bus and enjoy fabulous meals. Luxury accommodations in full-service 5-star or 4-star hotels. The tour is open to all, but space is limited. Holocaust educators are especially encouraged and welcome to participate!
Dr. Mordecai Paldiel, the world’s leading authority on the Righteous Diplomats and other Holocaust rescuers, will co-lead the tour as scholar-in-residence. Dr. Paldiel was the Director of the Department for the Righteous at Yad Vashem for almost 25 years. He will share his expertise and historical knowledge with the participants as we follow the refugees’ path to freedom. Topics covered will be Righteous Diplomats; the psychology of rescue; routes of escape; the role of the neutral countries; and French history and politics before, during and after the Vichy regime. Upon request, educators will receive a Certificate of Completion for 40 hours of Holocaust education. This is a unique opportunity to learn from a famous scholar in the field!
Rave reviews from prior participants: “A wonderful experience!” “Enlightening, inspiring, often emotional.” “One of the best trips I have ever taken.” “Super!” “It went beyond my expectations.” “Much more than I expected. It was a once in a lifetime experience.” “Inspirational and wonderful!”
*Preliminary itinerary. Program subject to change.
Price of the tour: $2800 for 10-night trip, including all hotels, sites, ground transportation and meals (excluding alcohol). Air travel to Europe not included. Tour (without extensions) begins with a welcome reception on Saturday, July 25 and ends with breakfast on Tuesday, August 4. Optional pre-tour winery excursion to St.-Emilion: $250 including meals, hotel, wine tasting, transportation and guide. Pre-tour begins with dinner on Friday, July 24. Optional post-tour extension to Estoril, Cascais and Sintra: $250 including meals, hotel, and transportation. Post-tour ends with breakfast on Wednesday, August 5. Discounted price (-10%) for both extensions: $450. Prices are based on double occupancy. Single room supplement: $70/night.
Schedule of payments: Deposit of $250 due upon registration. Balance due according to the following schedule: $1250 (basic tour) plus any extensions (in full) due on February 1, 2020. Remaining balance due on May 1, 2020. Refund policy: The deposit is refundable prior to December 1, 2019. The second payment is refundable prior to March 1, 2020. The third payment is non-refundable. PayPal transaction fees will be subtracted from any refund.
This optional pre-tour excursion includes a welcome dinner, a private tour of a winery in the ancient village of St.-Emilion, a visit to the world’s largest underground cathedral, and a luxurious lunch with fine wine. Arrive one day early to take advantage of this rare opportunity.
Visit the Portuguese consulate where Aristides de Sousa Mendes wrote visas in 1940 and the Parc des Quinconces where thousands of refugees camped out in the open air. Visit the Bordeaux synagogue and the Aristides de Sousa Mendes bust on Esplanade Charles de Gaulle. Visit the Musée Jean Moulin dedicated to the French Resistance. Enjoy regional cuisine and fine wine.
Visit the Portuguese consulate in Bayonne where Sousa Mendes ordered visas to be issued and where he personally also issued visas. See the fountain and cathedral plaza where thousands of refugees stood asking for visas. Enjoy regional artisanal chocolates and Basque cuisine.
Enjoy a gourmet basque lunch by the beach. Travel across the “freedom bridge” linking France to Spain.
Spend two nights in the Old City, home to one of the oldest universities in the world. Enjoy regional cuisine.
Travel across the Portuguese border to the village of Vilar Formoso, where the new “Frontier of Peace” museum pays tribute to Aristides de Sousa Mendes and the refugees of 1940.
Stay in this ancient city in the heart of Portugal’s wine region and where Jews flourished before The Inquisition. Enjoy a live Fado performance after dinner.
Visit the Sousa Mendes family home “Casa do Passal” and the cemetery where Aristides de Sousa Mendes is laid to rest. See the “Duty of Memory” garden created by schoolchildren. Dine on regional specialties in nearby Carregal do Sal.
Visit Shaare Tikvah Synagogue and other points of interest. Visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to see the Sousa Mendes visa registry book, in whose pages Aristides de Sousa Mendes and his staff listed the names of the visa recipients in May and June of 1940. The tour ends with a visit to Lisbon’s harbor as we imagine the refugees of 1940 leaving their old lives behind to embark on a new adventure.
Explore Portugal’s famed coastline with this optional post-tour excursion. Visit Estoril, Cascais and Sintra, where you’ll visit the romantic National Palace at Pena and Cabo da Roca, Europe’s westernmost point “where the land ends and the sea begins,” as described by the poets. Return to Lisbon at the end of the day.
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