Portuguese American Journal

Holocaust: Disobedience: The Sousa Mendes Story – Film

The film, Disobedience: The Sousa Mendes Story, will inaugurate the Mayim Jewish Film Series of the JCC on the Hudson White Plains (NY), on October 10, at 7:30pm, whose theme this year is tales of Holocaust rescue.

The film, directed by Joel Santoni and starring Bernard Lecoq as Aristides de Sousa Mendes, will be introduced by Rabbi Barry Kenter of the Greenburgh Hebrew Center and Dr. Della Peretti and Dr. Paul Freudman of the Sousa Mendes Foundation, whose own families were rescued by this hero.

The event will be held at the Woodlands Community Temple, 50 Worthington Road, White Plains, NY. This film tells the true story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese Consul General stationed in Bordeaux, France, during World War II. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the door.

Aristides de Sousa Mendes, was the Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux, France, during World War II. He saved an estimated 30,000 lives, the majority of them Jews, when Paris fell to the advancing Nazi army in June of 1940. Helped by his wife and children, Sousa Mendes issued visas to as many refugees as he could, without regard to nationality or religion.

The operation has been described by the Holocaust scholar Yehuda Bauer as “perhaps the largest rescue action by a single individual during the Holocaust.”

He issued the visas against the Portuguese government orders for which he was recalled and subjected to disciplinary action. A lawyer by training, after being dismissed from is diplomatic post, he was disbarred by Dictator Salazar and not allowed to practice law. A father of 14 children, he died destitute and in obscurity in 1954.

Founded in 2010, the Sousa Mendes Foundation is dedicated to honoring the memory of Aristides de Sousa Mendes and to educating the world about his good work. It has a twofold mission: raising funds for the creation of a Sousa Mendes Museum and Human Rights Center in Portugal, and sponsoring US-based projects that perpetuate the legacy of Aristides de Sousa Mendes. The Foundation’s major current initiative is a Visa Recipient Database Project, for which it is seeking to identify, locate and contact families worldwide who were rescued by this hero. Read more >>

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