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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Survivors of the Holocaust come to Portugal to honour Aristides de Sousa Mendes


A group of survivors  and relatives are coming to Portugal and will arrive on Thursday to Cabanas de Viriato in Carregal do Sal, where  Aristides de Sousa Mendes owed a house and lived. The goal is to honour him and save his ruined house.
   The house of Aristides de Sousa Mendes

Aristides de Sousa Mendes saved more than 30 000 jewish people who lived in France at the time of the German occupation during WWII. Aristides de Sousa Mendes was a Portuguese consul in Brodeaux who, against the orders of the Portuguese government, signed the visas that made possible for them to travel and live in Portugal to escape death at the Nazi's hands.
In fact he died in poverty and his family suffered the consequences of his options.  He  he was a right man who refused the orders of his country's government., so since then nobody ever remenbered him or his family until the 25th April revolution in Portugal. 

They were a large family that was completely forgotten by the Portuguese government of Salazar as a punisment for his disobedience. Aristides not only lost his job but also saw his family suffer as they hadn't much money.
Prime ministre António de Oliveira Salazar was an evil man who secretly supported Hitler but was too smart and avoided the Portuguese participation in WWII. However, he didn't like those who were against Hitler and his policy and, of course, he didn't want to contradict the Führer and his followers. Aristides's attitude was, no doubt defiant and brave. Although he knew all this, he didn't hesitate and sighned thousands of visas putting his life and job at risk. It was the lives of these people he wanted to save. And so he did. A great man with a great heart!


Mª Dulce Branquinho

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