“Our commitment must be to remember the victims who perished, respect the survivors still with us, and reaffirm humanity's common aspiration for mutual understanding and justice.”
-- Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust
The book of visas granted by Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux during the Second Wolrd War, has been nominated to join the UNESCO Memory of the World International Register by the International Advisory Committee of the Memory of the World Program during their four-day meeting at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, from 24-27 October.
The Diplomatic Institute / Historical Archives of Portugal submitted the application to UNESCO based on the document's unique role in highlighting the actions of Sousa Mendes.
This registration book is part of the fund of the Portuguese Consulate in Bordeaux, and was intended to record the consular fees for the various administrative acts, including visas. It covers the period from 1939 to 1940. The book records the visas granted by Aristides Sousa Mendes from 14 - 21 June 1940, when France was invaded by Germany generating a huge wave of refugees. Aristides de Sousa Mendes decided, at his own risk, to act against the restrictive instructions on issuing visas he was receiving from his government. The consequence of this humanitarian action was expulsion from the Diplomatic Corps, which led to many difficulties in Sousa Mendes personal and family life.
Image: Aristides de Souse Mendes. Credit: Governent of Portugal