In June 1940 a refugee crisis of historic proportions was created with the Nazis occupation of Paris. Millions of refugees fleeing the advancing Nazi troops rushed to Bordeaux, in the South of France, to seek visas from the neutral Consulate of Portugal. Aristides de Sousa Mendes, at great risk to his career and the safety of his family, defied the direct orders of his government and issued visas to an estimated 30,000 refugees including around 10,000 Jews. He was recalled to Lisbon, and punished for his disobedience, later dying in poverty and disgrace. This remarkable true story has been described by historians as “the largest rescue action by a single individual during the Holocaust.” Guests can meet and discuss the film with Louis-Philippe Mendes, grandson of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, and view artifacts in the Museum’s foyer of passports with the original Sousa Mendes visas along with personal items of refugees rescued by Aristides de Sousa Mendes.
Admission is free and open to the public with advance registration required. Visit http://www.hmh.org/RegisterEvent.aspx to RSVP online. Co-sponsored by the AJC, American Jewish Committee.