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he was challenging a political concept and confronting Lisbon with the creation of that most difficult of precedents, the humanitarian one,” explained Manuela Franco (2000), Director of the Diplomatic Institute at the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.In her view, “the image of ‘Portugal, a safe haven’ was born then in Bordeaux, and it lasts to this day” (p. Sousa Mendes paid a heavy price for his civil disobedience.

If you know of a family that escaped the Holocaust through Portugal between 19, please write to us at: [email protected] The rescue of these refugees had a significant effect on U. and world culture in literature, science, fashion, politics, and the arts. This document forbade the issuing of Portuguese visas to Jews expelled from their countries of origin, Russian citizens, holders of Nansen passports (those issued to stateless refugees), and other categories of Holocaust refugees, without prior approval from the Portuguese Foreign Ministry.

Beginning with scans from a handwritten visa registry book and cross-referencing it with ship manifests and other records, we have been able to reconstruct entire family groups, including names, faces, ages, artifacts, and testimonials, thus bringing each family’s story to life.

A grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany has greatly aided in this effort.

“Lisbon was the bottleneck of Europe, the last open gate of a concentration camp extending over the greater part of the Continent’s surface” (p.

242), wrote Holocaust refugee Arthur Koestler in his 1941 memoir, “By watching that interminable procession, one realized that the catalog of possible reasons for persecution under the New Order was much longer than even a specialist could imagine; in fact, it covered the entire alphabet, from A, for Austrian Monarchist, to Z, for Zionist Jew.” (p.

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