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Aristides de Sousa Mendes


// Biography of Aristides de Sousa Mendes.

Born: July 19, 1885, in the small town of Cabanas de Viriato, near Viseu (Portugal). He studied law at Coimbra, graduating in 1907. 

The May 12, 1910, was appointed consul 2nd class naa British Guiana, then moving on to perform functions on Zamzibar, where he gained great prestige. In 1918, the dictatorship of Sidonius Parents, Consul was promoted to 1st class. Due to his sympathy for the cause monarchy was inactive from 1919 until 1921, when he was asked to head the consulate in S.Francisco. 

With the coup of May 28, 1926, Sousa Mendes was appointed consul in Vigo. Supporting and serving since its inception the dictatorial regime, repeatedly received praise from Salazar. However, with the removal of the brother of the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sousa Mendes was disgusted with the government. 

From 1931 to 1938 was consul in Antwerp, and then transferred to Bordeaux. As the Nazis grew in Europe, also grew the number of refugees, especially Jews. Many of them went to Bordeaux, then under the Vichy government. Then, Sousa Mendes granted thousands of visas to Jews seeking to escape the Nazi extermination. This attitude is very displeased Salazar, who deposed in 1940. Sousa Mendes has appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court and the National Assembly, but nothing was worth it. In Bordeaux, however, was erected a statue to him. 

Aristides de Sousa Mendes he died in 1954, with huge financial difficulties. In 1987, the president Mario Soares gave him, posthumously, the Order of Freedom. In 1989, the National Assembly noticed the serious injustice had been committed, reeintegrando it in the diplomatic service, unanimously and by acclamation. 


Date Chronology
1885 Children of Maria Angelina Ribeiro Abranches and Judge José de Sousa Mendes, the twins Cesar and Aristides de Sousa Mendes do Amaral and Abranches born in Cabanas de Viriato, Viseu District, Portugal.
1907 Cesar and Aristides license in Law at the University of Coimbra and then follow a diplomatic career.
1908 In Portugal, the King D. Carlos and Crown Prince are murdered. Aristides home with her cousin Angelina, the couple will have 14 children.
1910 Aristides was appointed Consul at Demerara, Guyana. 5th October Revolution and the proclamation of the Portuguese Republic.
1911/16 Aristides Consul in Zanzibar, health problems for the whole family.
1914 Home of the First World War.
1916 Portugal enters World War I in favor of the Allies, the Battle of Verdun, massacre of the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps.
1918 World War I ends with the victory of the Allies (France, UK, etc..). Aristides was appointed Consul in Curitiba (Brazil).
1919 Because of its monarchist convictions, Aristides is punished by the government of Sidonius Parents.
1921/23 Aristides runs, temporarily, the Consulate of S. Francisco, California, a city where was born the 10th child.
1924 Consul Aristides S. Luís do Maranhão (Brazil). Then he starts to drive, temporarily, the Consulate in Porto Alegre (Brazil).
1926 Aristides returned to Lisbon for service in the Directorate General of Commercial and Consular Affairs. In Portugal, military revolution of May 28 led by Marechal Gomes da Costa.
1927 The Portuguese military dictatorship trusts and appoints Aristides, the consul in Vigo.
1928 Salazar, Minister of Finance.
1929 Aristides was appointed Consul General in Antwerp (Belgium).
1930 Salazar, President of the Council of Ministers.
1936 The Belgian king, Leopold III, honors Aristides de Sousa Mendes, dean of the diplomatic corps.
1938 Salazar appoints Aristides de Sousa Mendes of Portugal Consul in Bordeaux.
1939 Salazar and Franco have signed the Iberian Pact. Hitler's Germany invades Poland, beginning World War II. With the Presidency, Salazar accumulates folder Minister of Foreign Affairs.
1940 Defying the orders of Salazar, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Consulate of Portugal in Bordeaux, is more than 30,000 visas to Jews and other minorities persecuted by the Nazis. Sousa Mendes Salazar condemned to a year of inactivity and then retire him without any salary.
1945 World War II ends with the victory of the Allies (France, Britain, United States, Soviet Union, etc..). Aristides de Sousa Mendes directs a letter to the National Assembly, claiming (unsuccessfully) against the punishment had been imposed by the government.
1948 Angelina Dies de Sousa Mendes.
1954 Aided only by a niece, Aristides de Sousa Mendes died poor and disgraced, the Third Order of the Hospital, in Lisbon.
1967 Yad Vashem, Israeli state authority for the commemoration of the martyrs and heroes of the Holocaust, honoring Aristides de Sousa Mendes with its highest award: a medal with the inscription from the Talmud Whoever saves one life is saved as a world.
1998 The Assembly of the Republic and the Portuguese Government finally proceed to the official rehabilitation of Aristides de Sousa Mendes.

The english version of this article will be available soon. In the meanwhile, the text above was the result of a Google translation from portuguese version to english.

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