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 Aristides De Sousa Mendes

Aristides De Sousa Mendes

Birth
Portugal
Death 3 Apr 1954 (aged 68)
Portugal
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 32531351 · View Source
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Portuguese Diplomat.

Sousa Mendes was was the Consul General in Bordeaux when France fell into the Nazi hands in 1940. Though the fascist dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, whose personal belief highly favored Hitler, was able to preserve Portugal's neutrality during the war, he issued orders to all consuls not to grant visas to foreigners of questionable nationality or to Jews expelled from their countries. Following a few days crisis of conscience, he began issuing visas, an estimated total of about 30,000 of them, to help Jews and other persecuted minorities escape the Nazi terror. For his willful disobedience, he was dishonorably forced to quit his post. He found himself unable to continue his law career; and abandoned by his friends and colleagues. Deprived of his pension, he died in poverty in Lisbon in 1954, still in disgrace with his government. Sousa Mendes' posthumous honors include being listed as one of the "Righteous among the Nations" by Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in 1966; and the Order of Liberty, one of Portugal's highest honors, in 1987.



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