A Catholic priest, Joaquim Carreira, is the fourth Portuguese personality to have his name engraved on the ‘Wall of Honor’ of the ‘Righteous of the Nations Garden’ at the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem, Israel.
Rev. Joaquim Carreira risked his life to save dozens of Jews, during World War II, while serving at a Rome Pontifical College. The ‘Righteous of the Nations Garden’ is Israel’s honorary title for non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.
In a separate event, a nephew of Rev. Carreira, João Carreira Monico, also a Catholic priest, accepted an honorary medal in recognition of his late uncle’s actions, during a ceremony held at Lisbon’s main synagogue, presided by Tzipora Rimon, Ambassador of Israel in Portugal.
Recently, Portugal’s parliament passed a resolution honoring Rev. Carreira’s humanitarian actions by recognizing him as “a man of great faith.” The resolution was adopted on April 20, the birthday of Adolf Hitler.
Rev. Joaquim Carreira was been described by people who knew him as a humble man. At great risk to his life, he hid Jews and others from Nazi security forces of Italy’s Fascist government. He continued to hide them after the Nazi occupation of Italy, until the end of World War II.
Born in 1908, in a village near Fátima, Rev. Carreira died in 1981. His actions remained largely unknown until Portuguese journalist António Marujo began researching his story.
Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Sampaio Garrido, José Brito Mendes are the other Portuguese personalities whose names are engraved on the ‘Wall of Honor’ of the ‘Righteous of the Nations Garden’ at the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem, Israel. By risking their own lives, they saved thousands of Jews persecuted during the period of ‘Shoah’ (Jewish Holocaust) in Europe.
Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the head of the Consulate of Portugal in Bordeaux, issued over 30,000 visas to Jews and other minorities persecuted by the Nazis. Carlos Fonseca de Almeida Sampaio Garrido, Ambassador of Portugal in Budapest between 1939 and 1944 is another Portuguese “Righteous Among the Nations” for protection and rescue of Hungarian Jews. In France, José Brito Mendes risked his life, hiding the little Cecile, whose Jewish parents were deported to Nazi concentration camps, where they died.