Letter from Francisco Sousa Mendes

Santarém, November 2002
Mr. Baruch Tenembaum
International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation
New York

Dear Mr. Tenembaum,

I send you these brief, but deeply felt, lines on the occasion of the conferring of the Sousa Mendes 2002 Award, to be presented to the distinguished intellectuals José Ignacio García Hamilton and Nicholas Tozer, as well as the brilliant idea of creating a Commemorative Medal to my dear grandfather; initiatives that I not only approve, but also enjoy.

Aristides de Sousa Mendes was a diplomat. As such, he knew that he was a public official, somebody who should serve the people and, in no way could he take advantage of his position for personal benefit. But, even more important, more than a public official, my grandfather was loyal to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures, particularly the one that prescribes us to love our neighbours as ourselves.

I want to stress the role played by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation in promoting the work of all the diplomats who, most of them against the directives of their own governments, gave the best of themselves to the people in need.

The Wallenberg Foundation thus has a very important educational mission for the world because it brings back to life such essential values as solidarity, respect and courage.

Very truly yours,
Francisco Sousa Mendes