Aristides de Sousa Mendes Event
Sunday, October 10, 2012, 1:00 pm
You have the opportunity to be part of an important event and learn a remarkable story. This Sunday Beth David will honor Aristides de Sousa Mendes, who rescued thousands during the Holocaust. He was the Portuguese consul in Bordeaux, France, and in defiance of his government issued visas to thousands of people trying to get out of France to escape the Nazis. As the Sousa Mendes Foundation web site puts it, “In all, Sousa Mendes issued some 30,000 visas, including about 10,000 to Jews, over the period of a few days. This heroic feat was characterized by the Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer as ‘the largest rescue action by a single individual during the Holocaust.’” De Sousa Mendes’ great statement of conscience was, “I would rather stand with God against Man than with Man against God.” Beth David will name a lane after him, just as we have after two other rescuers, Raoul Wallenberg and Chiune Sugihara.
I think it would be a wonderful to bring older children and teens to this event, as well as to invite non-Jewish friends to attend. Ms. Sheila Abranches granddaughter of Sousa Mendes and Dr. Nathaniel Deutsch, whose father and grandparents were among those rescued by Sousa Mendes, will speak. Members of the San Jose Portuguese-American community will join us, and we will screen a film about de Sousa Mendes’ story.
Author Cynthia Ozick wrote, “Those who undertook the risks, those whose bravery steeped them in perilous contingencies, those whose moral strength urged them into heart-stopping responsibility – what are they really, if not the heroes of our battered world?”
Don’t miss this moving and significant occasion.