When we think of superheroes, images from comic books and movies come to mind. I was thinking about that walking through the These Are My People! The Story of Aristedes de Sousa Mendes exhibit at the Whaling Museum last night. De Sousa Mendes coordinated the single largest Holocaust rescue by one individual, shepherding 30,000 people, of them 10,000 Jews, out of harm's way. Imagine Schindler's List times 25. A superhero if ever there were one.
Portugal was a dictatorship under Salazar from 1932 to 1968. Going against direct orders from his government, de Sousa Mendes, who served as consul general in Bordeaux, France, issued 30,000 entry visas in a matter of days to people who would have otherwise ended up in concentration camps.
There were some famous de Sousa Mendes visa recipients, including Hans and Margret Rey (authors of Curious George), Salvador Dali and the Rothschild family. Yet almost all of the visas issued were for common folk who managed to ...[Read more. >>>]