Journey on the Road to Freedom

*** Trip postponed until 2022 or 2023 because of ongoing Covid-19 concerns and travel advisories. Trip generally starts last week in June and extends into July. ***

If you are interested in saving your spot on our next tour, please fill out the form, press “Sign me up,” but do not pay the deposit.  We will contact you for the deposit when registration is open.


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.


*** TRIP POSTPONED UNTIL 2022 OR 2023 ***

BORDEAUX, FRANCE TO LISBON, PORTUGAL.  11-day, 10-night trip. Dates TBD. Add the extensions at one or both ends of the tour to prolong the fun!

Details: Total price of the tour TBD. Tour (without extensions) begins with a welcome reception and ends with breakfast. Optional pre-tour winery excursion to St.-Emilion: Pre-tour begins with dinner. Optional post-tour extension to Estoril, Cascais and Sintra: Post-tour ends with breakfast.

St.-Emilion, France

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.

Bordeaux, France

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.

Bayonne, France

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.

Hendaye, France/Irun, Spain

Enjoy a gourmet basque lunch by the beach.  Travel across the “freedom bridge” linking France to Spain.

Salamanca, Spain

Stay in the heart of the Old City, home to one of the oldest universities in the world. Enjoy regional cuisine.

Vilar Formoso, Portugal

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.

Viseu, Portugal

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.

Cabanas de Viriato, Portugal

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.

Lisbon, Portugal

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.

Estoril, Cascais and Sintra, Portugal

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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