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Aristides De Sousa Mendes, Consul General of Portugal to Bordeaux in 1938 -- 1940 (1884 -- 1954) | Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust

Name: Aristides De Sousa Mendes, Consul General of Portugal to Bordeaux in 1938 -- 1940 (1884 -- 1954)


Historical Note: Aristides de Sousa Mendes do Amaral e Abranches (1885-1954) was the Portuguese Consul General to Bordeaux, France, from 1938 to 1940. When Germany invaded France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg in May 1940, millions of civilian war refugees attempted to escape Nazi occupation and persecution. Sousa Mendes, a career diplomat with thirty-five years of service, defied his government in order to save innocent lives. He issued transit visas to Portugal in defiance of a Portuguese government decree, “Circular 14,” that instructed all Portuguese diplomats to withhold visas from members of multiple civilian groups including: stateless persons, Russians, and Jews expelled from their countries of origin. Sousa Mendes, a devout Catholic, found himself in a unique position to help innocent civilians and he chose to follow his conscience and act.





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