I have been working to preserve the legacy of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the secret hero from my village in Portugal ever since I learned about him in a conversation in 1987 in ... New York City!
Aristides was severely punished, and all but erased, for his Act of Conscience as Consul of Portugal in Bordeaux, France by which he saved thousands of refugees trying to get into peaceful Portugal in the summer of 1940.
I am honored to work with his descendents and the descendents of the refugees he saved to preserve the memory of his extraordinary contribution and to create a museum in his house, Casa do Passal, in Cabanas de Viriato, the mystery mansion I saw from the school-bus as a young child. Please join in me in donating to support the work of the Sousa Mendes Foundation-US.
-- Mariana Abrantes - Treasurer
1.TRIP TO EUROPE! Donate at least $250 from now until January 1, 2016 at 11:59:59am ET and you will be entered for a chance to win a ROUND-TRIP TICKET BETWEEN THE US AND BELGIUM courtesy of Brussels Airlines. Travel may originate either in the US or in Europe. For the contest rules click here. In addition, you will be automatically entered into Contest 2 described below.
2. GRAPHIC NOVEL AND SIGNATURE GEL PEN! Donate at least $10 from November 24, 2015 at 2pm ET to January 1, 2016 at 11:59:59am ET and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of the graphic novel "Aristides de Sousa Mendes: Hero of the Holocaust" and a Sousa Mendes Foundation Signature Pen. For the contest rules click here. No purchase necessary.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT
The Sousa Mendes Foundation has launched a major initiative to videotape Holocaust refugees, now in their 80s and 90s, who escaped Nazi-occupied Europe through Portugal with the help of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese Consul-General in Bordeaux. Sousa Mendes defied his government to rescue thousands of innocent civilians from Nazi genocide by issuing life-saving visas to neutral Portugal, from where the refugees could board ships to freedom. He forced open an escape hatch from Nazi-occupied Europe that didn't previously exist, and many thousands of refugees benefited from his action.
This is a dramatic and important story, and one that is not very well known.
COST OF THE INTERVIEWS
Each video interview is professionally produced and costs between $700 and $1500, depending on where the interview subject lives and whether there is travel involved. The more funds we raise, the more interviews we will be able to film, edit, and make available in our educational materials, on our Vimeo page, and on our website.
Please support this important project as generously as you can. Each contribution makes an immediate difference. Thank you!
IS MY DONATION TAX-DEDUCTIBLE?
Yes! The Sousa Mendes Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization, and all donations to this campaign are 100% tax-deductible if no goods or services are received in return. All donors to this campaign will be added to our DONOR HONOR ROLL.
SCOPE OF THE PROJECT
We have already completed thirteen filmed interviews of which three have been edited and can be viewed. We have plans to create an additional fifty to sixty video interviews in the United States, South America, Europe and Israel. In addition to Holocaust refugees, these will include Holocaust aid workers and Portuguese citizens who provided shelter to Jewish families in 1940 on their way to freedom.
DOESN'T THE SHOAH FOUNDATION INTERVIEW SURVIVORS?
The Shoah Foundation no longer interviews Holocaust survivors but is now devoted to cataloguing its existing collection. Moreover, the story of Holocaust refugees, and particularly those who escaped through Portugal thanks to the heroic action of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, is one that is hardly told in the Shoah Foundation's collection of existing interviews.
It is incumbent upon the Sousa Mendes Foundation to capture the memories of the Sousa Mendes visa recipients before it's too late. But to do so, we need your support.
For more information on Aristides de Sousa Mendes, please visit our website. Thank you!