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  • Faerie Dormouse

    Aristides de Sousa Mendes was a Portuguese Diplomat who ignored and defied the orders of his own government for the safety of war refugees fleeing from invading German military forces in the early years of World War II. Between the June 16 and June 23 1940, he frantically issued Portuguese visas free of charge, to over 30,000 refugees seeking to escape the Nazi terror, 12,000 of whom were Jews. De Sousa Mendes worked in the Portuguese consulate in Bordeaux, France, where despite explicit orders not to give visas to “foreigners of indefinite or contested nationality; the stateless; or Jews expelled from their countries of origin”. De Sousa Mendes sporadically began printing Portuguese visas illegally as early as 1939, but it wasn’t until mid June 1940, when Portugal’s status was expected to change from ‘neutral’ to ‘non-belligerent’ which would make Portugal more allied to Nazi Germany. Between June 16 and June 23, de Sousa Mendes began frantically issuing visas, along with his friend, the Rabbi Chaim Kruger, to refugees waiting in line. De Sousa Mendes travelled to the border town of Irun on June 23, where he personally raised the gate to allow disputed passages into Spain to occur. It was at this point that Ambassador Teotónio Pereira arrived at Irun, declared Sousa Mendes mentally incompetent and invalidated all further visas. An Associated Press story the next day reported that some 10,000 persons attempting to cross over into Spain were excluded because authorities no longer granted recognition to their visas. As de Sousa Mendes continued the flow of visas, Dictator Salazar sent a telegram on June 24 recalling him to Portugal, an order he received upon returning to Bordeaux on June 26 but followed only slowly, not arriving in Portugal until July 8. Along the way he issued Portuguese passports to refugees now trapped in occupied France, saving them by preventing their deportation to concentration camps. After the war, de Sousa Mendes lived in destitute poverty, dying in 1954.

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Aristides de Sousa Mendes (1885 - 1954) was a Portuguese diplomat, Consul of Portugal in Bordeaux in the year of the invasion of France by Nazi Germany in World War II. Sousa Mendes defied direct orders of Salazar, and granted 30 000 visas for entry in Portugal to refugees of all nationalities who wanted to flee France in 1940. He saved tens of thousands people of Holocaust and is therefore called "the Portuguese Schindler" saving lives of people, of which about 10,000 were Jews.

Hanns Ann Alexander wedding 1946 A Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany marries a captain in the Britsh army (himself a refugee from Nazi Germany) after World War 2

MADELEINE LEBEAU and the Jewish Dalio fled Paris ahead of the invading German Army and reached Lisbon. They are presumed to have received transit visas from Aristides de Sousa Mendes, allowing them to enter Spain and journey on to Portugal. It took them two months to obtain visas to Chile. However, when their ship, the S.S. Quanza, stopped in Mexico, they were stranded (along with around 200 other passengers) when the Chilean visas they had purchased turned out to be forgeries.

Jewish Portugal
Mo Ment
Jewish Portugal

Helga Kann, little German Jewish girl. Photo taken before WW2, nothing else is known. She likely perished in the Holocaust.

This was found in the personal album of an Einsatzgruppen soldier. It was labelled on the back “The last Jew of Vinnitsa”. All 28,000 of the Jews living there were killed at the time.

Holocaust remembrance day..... I don't know why I'm so drawn to the holocaust! It's amazing what people went through... So sad

King Zog of Albania ordered his consulates in Europe to issue visas to any Jews seeking escape and told his border police to let any Jewish refugees in without asking questions. He personally intervened to save several Jewish families.

Bearing Witness to the Holocaust: A German Jewish Girl Who Was Part of the Kindertransport (1939) Posted on March 10, 2009 This German Jewish girl (age 7) was part of the Kindertransport that, in 1939, got 10,000 Jewish children out of Nazi-controlled areas of Europe. Her name: Dorrith Oppenheim. She ended up in Scotland. Her parents died at Auschwitz in 1944.