Portuguese American Journal

Petition: Aristides Sousa Mendes’ name proposed for Bordeaux’ new bridge – France

A delegation of Portuguese Parliament members, affiliated with Partido Social Democrat (PSD), have portioned the mayor of Bordeaux, France, Alain Juppé, to consider naming the city’s newly built bridge after Aristides de Sousa Mendes, credited with having saved thousands of lives during World War II.

The petition letter was undersigned by PMs  António Rodrigues, Emídio Guerreiro, Carlos Gonçalves and Carlos Abreu Amorim.

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.

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.

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