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Homages to a portuguese hero.

// Homages to the diplomat Sousa Mendes which, in 1940, saved thousands of jews while giving them visas.

On last June 17, 2004, the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, D. José Policarpo, celebrated in the Cathedral of Lisbon, a mass in memory of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese diplomat that in 1940 saved thousands of Jews by giving them visas. 

The mass was attended by representatives of Jewish and Muslim communities, Sousa Mendes family members and Foundation with his name. 

The action of Aristides de Sousa Mendes was also raised in masses celebrated in 30 cities around the world, from Warsaw in Poland, Buenos Aires in Argentina and Bordeaux in France (where he issued the visas) to San Francisco in USA.

  The initiative of these celebrations was from Raoul Walleenberg Foundation, with support from the Vatican, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal and the Angelo Roncalli International Committee. 

The choice of 17 June was due to the fact that it was on that date, in 1940, that the diplomat assisted by his two elder children, began to be pass visas to war refugees, including thousands of Jews, thus preventing his arrest and eventual death at the hands of the Nazis. 

The initiative of thanksgiving and recognition was further linked to Portugal because all Portuguese speaking countries and many Portuguese communities throughout the world have joined to celebrate the mass on June 17 in churches, cathedrals and synagogues. 

Masses were celebrated in Catholic churches or synagogues in Argentina, South Africa, Angola, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, China, Spain, United States, France, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, Timor-Leste and Venezuela.

Portugal Diário

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