Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Holocaust Hero Who Rescued Thousands of Children, to Be Honored on Long Island

Mar 23, 2011, 12:52 ET from Sousa Mendes Foundation

MINEOLA, N.Y., March 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- On Saturday, April 2, from 1:00-5:00 p.m. the Mineola Memorial Library will host an event honoring one of the great heroes of the Second World War. Aristides de Sousa Mendes is credited with saving an estimated 30,000 lives including those of thousands of children.  The event is presented by the Sousa Mendes Foundation and the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation in cooperation with the Village of Mineola. The Mineola Memorial Library is located at 195 Marcellus Road, Mineola, NY.

This family event will include storytelling, a film, an exhibition, refreshments and more.  Guests of honor are New York State Senator Jack Martins, a Portuguese-American politician, and J. J. Prins, a Sousa Mendes visa recipient who was rescued as a young child.  

Sousa Mendes was Portuguese Consul-General in Bordeaux during the Second World War.  In 1940, after the Nazi invasion of Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and France, he was confronted with the reality of untold numbers of refugees desperate to escape to neutral Portugal.  But the Portuguese official government policy was to not allow any refugees within its borders. Sousa Mendes chose to defy these inhumane orders and follow his conscience instead.  Within a short period of time in May and June of 1940 he issued visas to Portugal to anyone who asked, and he was harshly punished by his government for his action.  

The program of the event is as follows:

1:00 p.m. Storytelling for children from the Curious George series, whose authors Hans and Margret Rey were saved by Aristides de Sousa Mendes.

1:45 p.m. Reception of Portuguese delicacies and a chance to view the exhibition "These are my people! The story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes."  

2:30 p.m. Remarks by Charles Sleefe, Director, Mineola Memorial Library, and Senator Jack Martins

2:45 p.m. Presentation of the film The Consul of Bordeaux, a fictionalized account of the story of Sousa Mendes.

4:15 p.m. A word from Sousa Mendes visa recipient J. J. Prins, followed by a period of audience questions, and closing remarks by Olivia Mattis, Sousa Mendes Foundation, curator of the exhibition.

The event is organized by Joao Crisostomo on behalf of the Sousa Mendes Foundation and the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.

For more information please visit or call Olivia Mattis at (206) 426-5951.

SOURCE Sousa Mendes Foundation