Honoring Aristides De Sousa Mendes

Grand Cross of the Order of Liberty

Gérald Mendes receiving the Grand Cross of the Order of Liberty in the name of his grandfather, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, from Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

The American Sephardi Federation (ASF) thanks our friend, Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, for fulfilling his promise to us to honor Aristides De Sousa Mendes. with the Grand Cross of the Order of Liberty.

On 22 September, ASF, the Sousa Mendes Foundation, and the Portuguese Consulate of New York, hosted President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa 2016 at The Center for Jewish History for a tour of “Portugal, The Last Hope: Sousa Mendes’ Visas for Freedom,” a multi-partner exhibit in ASF’s Leon Levy Gallery.

“Your history is our history,” President de Sousa said, before a private reception of Holocaust survivors saved by Aristides de Sousa Mendes and board members of ASF, the Sousa Mendes Foundation, AJC – Global Jewish Advocacy, B’nai B’rith International, and the Sephardic Home for The Aged Foundation.

The exhibit honors Mendes, the creative and courageous Portuguese Consul General at Bordeaux, France, who, during the Holocaust, saved Salvador Dalí, the authors of Curious George, and thousands of people, many of them Jews, by issuing visas against the orders of the Salazar regime. 50 years ago Mendes was recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem: World Holocaust Center, Jerusalem, Israel.

See video (https://www.facebook.com/americansephardifederation/videos/vb.424484861037678/686904338129061/?type=2&theater ) and photos (https://www.facebook.com/…/americansephardifederat…/photos/… ) of the historic visit.

Our partners for “Portugal, The Last Hope” included the Municipality of Almeida, Portugal, The Museu Virtual Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Turismo Centro de Portugal, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, The American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS), Leo Baeck Institute – New York, Fundação Luso-Americana, and The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.