The award, conferred by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, is aimed at recognising the conduct of people who stand out, not only in the defence of individual freedoms, but also for their spirit and their solidary actions, following examples given during their lives by hundreds of saviours.
The ceremony took place on November 18th at the Argentine Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Foreign Service Institute auditorium (ISEN in Spanish). The award winners were seated at the head table with Portuguese Ambassador to Argentina, Antonio Almeida Ribeiro; the dean of the ISEN, Ambassador José Sanchís Muñoz and the Vice-president of the IRWF, Dr. Natalio Wengrower.
Also present was Álvaro de Sousa Mendes, grandson of the Portuguese diplomat and President of the Aristides de Sousa Mendes Foundation of Lisbon, who travelled specially to Argentina for the event. Another grandson, Francisco Sousa Mendes sent a letter from Portugal to the founder IRWF, Baruch Tenembaum, praising the initiative.
Speaking before an audience of over two hundred peoples the Portuguese Ambassador read letters of greetings from the Prime Minister and the President of Portugal after which he presented the 2002 Sousa Mendes Award to the winners.
Seventy-two hours earlier, IRWF volunteer John Crisostomo presented the Sousa Mendes Commemorative Medal to former Portuguese Prime Minister Mario Soares in a ceremony held Lisbon. Soares was the head of state that publicly rehabilitated Sousa Mendes’ name and apologised for the injustices committed against the diplomat during the Antonio de Oliveira Salazar dictatorship.]]>
Columnist and Secretary General of La Gaceta newspaper in Tucumán. Founder in 1972 of El Pueblo newspaper. Director of the Association of Provincial Newspapers S.A. In 1991 he ran as a candidate to vice-governor of the province of Tucumán. Vice-president of the interfaith NGO Casa Argentina en Jerusalem. He is columnist of newspapers and magazines of Argentina, Uruguay and the United States.
He is the author of numerous books, among them, ”Hispano-American authoritarianism and unproductiveness”, (1990), as well as the acclaimed biographies of Juan Bautista Alberdi, ”Life of an absentee”, (1993); Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, ”Rowdy Cuyano”, (1997), and José de San Martín, ”Don José”, (2000), a work that sold more than 60,000 copies in Argentina alone.
For his book ”Life of an absentee” the Konex Foundation awarded him the Merit Diploma as one of the five literary figures of the 1984-1994 decade in the category of Biographies and Memories. He has given numerous conferences about life and work of Alberdi at the universities of Georgia and Loyola in the United States.
Nowadays he runs, with writer Pacho O’Donnel and the historian Felipe Pigna, two programs dedicated to Argentine history; one on Channel 7 TV and another on Radio Mitre in Buenos Aires.]]>
Between 1978 and 1997 he worked at the Argentine English-language newspaper, Buenos Aires Herald performing all kinds of work from proof reader, London correspondent, news editor, editorialist and co-editor of the newspaper.
He has also worked as adviser and consultant on communication for diverse national and international commercial companies and as a journalist for the news agencies, Mercopress and DYN, Gente, Noticias and La Primera magazines, radio and television programs specially for Channel 13, Todo Noticias, America TV as well as for the British BBC, ITV and Channel 4.
He is a recognised expert on the Falklands conflict having travelled to the islands over twenty times. In 1998 was the producer of the only TV show in the history of Argentine television to be broadcast live from the archipelago: Hora Clave from the Falklands with the political analyst Mariano Grondona.
Nowadays, he distributes his time between journalism and investigation into the Falklands, continuing with his work as correspondent for Mercopress news agency and collaborations with other press organisations, specially the BBC. He actively collaborates with the Wallenberg Foundation and the National Academy of Tango where he holds the position of Secretary of Institutional Affairs.]]>
”Ladies and gentlemen,
I feel deeply honoured to receive the 2002 Sousa Mendes Award, especially for sharing this honour with my friend and colleague José Ignacio García Hamilton. I am very grateful to the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation for having granted me this award and I assure them that I am delighted to receive it. I accept it with deep gratitude because I am fully aware of what it is worth and I know that an award of this sort creates within us the illusion that we did something to deserve it. In the hard times that we are living, receiving a distinction such as this is, in itself, a reason of gratitude
As a journalist who was born in London it is particularly pleasant to share this award with an Argentine friend specially on the 20th anniversary of the South Atlantic conflict that confronted my country with Argentina in a tragedy that cost the lives of 649 Argentine citizens, 255 British and three islanders.
Too many deaths to prove the failure of 150 years of Argentine and British diplomacy.
As a journalist who has specialised in the Falklands conflict, I have been able to prove that informing about controversial subjects often ends up leaving us in confrontation with all of the parties involved. I remember that on that fateful April 2nd, I promised myself that I would try to fight to ensure that compromise prevailed over conflict and that vehemently held moderation prevailed over extremism. Twenty years later I continue believing that it was the right choice, specially when I see the infinity of bureaucratic obstacles, the lack of interest, the inexplicable and often, despicable acts and political games to which the Commission of Relatives of the Fallen in the Falklands Islands and Islands of the South Atlantic are submitted in their campaign to build a monument to the fallen at Darwin Cemetery, a subject that apparently is not of much interest to a great part of the press, that in many cases keeps on treating both Argentine and British veterans and their relatives as if they were carriers of some highly contagious disease.
It is regrettable that despite the historic 1999 Argentine British Agreement and the great progress achieved in Argentine British relations, there are still people from the world of politics, diplomacy and the media who are obstructing any possibility of making new progress.
I would like to remember my father, a Londoner who also deeply loved Argentina and who was my first teacher about life. Once, as a kid, I came back home with a black eye. He looked at me very seriously and said, ”I hope you got that black eye fighting for something that you really believe in.” Almost 40 years later I think I understand that it was a lesson that marked me for my whole life.
Now I know it to be true because my work with Casa Argentina en Jerusalem and later with the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation and the Angelo Roncalli International Committee are my humble contribution to promoting causes in which I strongly believe.
I specially want to thank Baruch Tenembaum, founder and the boss at Casa Argentina, the Wallenberg Foundation and the Roncalli Committee, for his permanent trust and support. I hope I can live up to such responsibility. Baruch, with those other two bastions who are Dr. Natalio Wengrower and Father Horacio Moreno, gave me an opportunity of working alongside them for causes we share and value.
To them and to all the members of these institutions – especially my colleague and friend Gustavo Jalife- my deepest thanks.
I would like to let the authorities who are presenting me with this distinction know of the tremendous satisfaction that I feel on receiving this particular award which remembers this truly great man, one who passed away when I was three months old.
In moment of crisis such as the one faced by Argentina these days, the opportunities to learn the lessons of saviours such as Sousa Mendes, Raoul Wallenberg or Angelo Roncalli – better known nowadays as His Holiness Pope John XXIII – appear before us in different and often strange ways. We should try to seek within ourselves part of the greatness that these great men had to face such challenges.
To the future diplomats who will graduate from the ISEN I beg that you fight for something more than a cosy position at an Embassy in other country, a salary and a comfortable diplomatic career.
To my colleagues the journalists I beg that you dream, that you explore and that you discover but that you do not silence, even though when doing so may cost you your jobs, a reprimand, an exile or even worse. The values that you defend are worth defending, but do so with mercy, in peace and with a deep sense of forgiveness
I remind you that out there are many people who are fighting for just causes. They range from those who day after day, year after year do not stop striving in their efforts to see a monument to the fallen of the South Atlantic War built at the Darwin cemetery to those who today are confronting the combined power of a corrupt justice which has allied itself with an international petroleum company that has severely polluted the coastline of the River Plate.
As a journalist I have known persecution and censorship in many ways, but even so I still think that the worst of the sins is to deceive our readers, viewers or listeners knowingly.
The challenge belongs to each one of us, and it is as that great man that was Aristides de Sousa Mendes rightly said, a matter of conscience.
I once again appreciate this distinction and thank all those present, especially my son Martin, my relatives, friends and colleagues and all those who have made great sacrifices to be here today.
I do not want to forget my dear colleagues of a whole life down the paths of journalism. They also would have wanted to be here today had they had not paid with their lives their commitment as true men and women of the press.
To them go my memories, my sadness and my love forever.
I want to say goodbye with those words that are so important to all of us who pretend to share some of those eternal values that Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Raoul Wallenberg and Angelo Roncalli so honourably upheld:
Shalom, Salem, Peace.
Thank you very much.”
Santarém, November 2002
Mr. Baruch Tenembaum
International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation
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
My special congratulations go to the award winners, historian José Ignacio García Hamilton and journalist Nicholas John Tozer.
Sousa Mendes’ example has a very special significance for us, in our country. That is why, during my term as Foreign Affairs Minister a few years ago, the Portuguese Diplomatic Association also created an award perpetuating his name.
In both cases the objective is the same: to pay homage to someone who has left us a legacy and example of courage and that today is rightly considered to be a symbol of the defence of humanitarian values.
Jose Manuel Durao Barroso
Prime Minister of Portugal
On the occasion of the presentation of the 2002 Aristides de Sousa Mendes Award, a timely and opportune initiative of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, I am specially pleased to be able to be associated with this ceremony and pay my personal tribute to those who – by their actions on behalf of individual freedoms and rights of men – are to be distinguished with this award.
Thus, I want to express my warmest congratulations to the winners and express my sincere conviction that the conferring of this award is an acknowledgement of the important contributions made with their actions by Dr. José Ignacio García Hamilton and Mr. Nicholas Tozer, towards the creation of a much more humanitarian world.
Besides, with this message I also want to express my congratulations for this first edition of the Sousa Mendes Award, destined to immortalise the memory of a man who paid very dearly for his clarity, freedom of conscience and the courage that distinguished his actions, in a time marked by blind barbarism.
Aristides de Sousa Mendes is an example that we must keep alive so that it becomes a reference in the collective memory of humanity.
Lisbon, November 18th, 2002]]>
The award, which is presented for the first time, is an acknowledgement of the conduct of people who stand out by not only for their defence of individual freedoms, but also for upholding with their spirit and acts of solidarity, the examples of the lives of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Raoul Wallenberg and hundreds of other saviours.
The announcement of the launching of the Sousa Mendes International Award was made by the founder of the IRWF, Baruch Tenembaum in New York City on April 3, 2001, during the ceremony commemorating the 47th anniversary of the death of the Portuguese diplomat.
The Sousa Mendes International Award will be presented in the course of the year 2002 at a date yet to be confirmed.
Among the considerations evaluated by the jury it is stated that
”The winners are given the Sousa Mendes International Award in recognition of their firm commitment over the years with the aims of clarifying, massively promoting and educating, keeping as their guideline the behaviour and the humanitarian values which distinguished Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Raoul Wallenberg, the Brazilian diplomat Luis Martins de Souza Dantas and many other public officials who, at their risk of their own lives and often against the directives of their governments, gave the best of themselves to help people in need in one of the darkest periods in history as was the Holocaust.”
The commendation also states that
”The historical and journalistic work of José Ignacio García Hamilton and Nicholas John Tozer is an example of a profession in the service of common welfare and in the defence of the inalienable rights of people, such as freedom of speech and religion; prerogatives that in the full exercise of democracy often appear to be given by the grace of nature. Nevertheless, history teaches us that they are fragile treasures that are only kept through the actions of those who vindicate and defend them day after day from barbarism, tyrannies and despotic regimes.”
Aristides de Sousa Mendes was the Portuguese Consul General in Bordeaux, France, in the spring of 1940 when the Nazi ‘blitzkrieg’ (lightening war) broke through the French defences in Sedan on May 14.
A crowd of refugees of different nationalities, among them thousands of Jews, came to the French city with the hope of obtaining a transit visas towards Portugal from where they could continue to America.
In spite of the directives from Portuguese dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar´s government prohibiting diplomats to issue visas ”to Jews expelled from their countries of origin,” Sousa Mendes issued thousands of transit permits not only in Bordeaux, but also in Bayonne and in the streets of Hendaya, on the border with Spain. Thanks to his actions about thirty thousand refugees received help, among them ten thousand Jews who avoided death at the extermination camps.
”I will give a visa to whoever needs it, whether he or she can pay for it or not. I will act in accordance with what my Christian conscience tells me to”, he used to say.
For disobeying the dictator he was expelled without benefits from the Portuguese Foreign Service and the mere mention of his name was forbidden for decades in Portugal. He lived the rest of his life as an ostracised person, losing his home and dying in absolute poverty on April 3, 1954. It was only in 1987 that Portuguese President Mario Soares granted Sousa Mendes the Order of Freedom and publicly asked his relatives for forgiveness for the injustices committed.
Is a writer, historian and a lawyer. He was born on November 1, 1943 in San Miguel de Tucumán. Married. Six children. Graduated from the Tucumán National University in 1969. He got a PhD in Law and Social Sciences at the Buenos Aires University (UBA). Professor of History of Law at the UBA.
Columnist and news editor of the ”La Gaceta” newspaper of Tucumán he was a founder in 1972 of the newspaper ”El Pueblo” and a director of the Association of Provincial Newspapers. In 1991 he ran as candidate to vice governor of the province of Tucumán. He is columnist in newspapers and magazines in Argentina, Uruguay and the United States. He is currently vice-president of the non-governmental interfaith organisation, Casa Argentina en Jerusalem.
He is the author of many books, among them, ”Hispano-American authoritarianism and unproductiveness”, (1990), as well as the recognised biographies of Juan Bautista Alberdi, ”Life of an absentee”, (1993); of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, ”Troublemaker from Cuyo”, (1997), and of José de San Martín, ”Don José”, (2000), a best-selling book that sold more than 60,000 copies in Argentina alone.
For ”Life of an absentee” the Konex Foundation awarded him with the Diploma of Merit as one of the five literary figures of the 1984-1994 decade in the field of Biographies and Memoirs. He has given numerous conferences about the life and work of Alberdi at the Georgia and Loyola Universities in the United States.
Nowadays, he is the presenter, together with writer Pacho O’Donnell and historian Felipe Pigna, of two media shows on Argentine history, one on channel 7 and the other on Radio Mitre in Buenos Aires.
Journalist. He was born on January 3, 1954 in Romford, Essex, England. In 1981 he obtained a degree in Modern Languages at the Institute of Linguists in London and in 1987 he graduated with a Master in Arts degree in Hispanic Studies from London University.
Since 1983 he has done extensive research work on the Falklands/Malvinas conflict for different institutions such as the South Atlantic Council of London, the Di Tella Institute, the UN Development Program and the Bank of the Province of Buenos Aires Foundation with the view of submitting a PhD thesis on the subject. Since 1993 he has been an National Academician at National Academy of Tango of the Argentine Republic.
Between 1978 and 1997 he worked at the English language Argentine newspaper Buenos Aires Herald. There he carried out diverse activities ranging from proof reader, correspondent in London, news editor, editorialist to co editor of the morning daily.
Tozer has also worked as an advisor and consultant on communications for several national and international companies and as a journalist for numerous news organisations such as the news agencies MercoPress and DYN, for magazines such as Gente, Noticias and La Primera, as well as producing numerous radio and television programs specially for channel 13, Todo Noticias, America TV of Argentina as well as for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 from Britain.
He is considered one of the most knowledgeable international analysts on the Falklands conflict and has travelled to the islands on more than twenty occasions. In 1998 he was the producer of the only show in the history of the Argentine television to be broadcast live from the islands, Hora Clave from the Falklands with the political analyst Mariano Grondona.
Currently he shares his time between journalism and research into the Falklands/Malvinas conflict, as well as fulfilling his duties as correspondent of the MercoPress news agency and collaborations with other media, specially the BBC. He is active collaborator of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation and of the National Academy of Tango where he is Secretary of Institutional Affairs.]]>
The communiqué also says that ”the historical and journalistic work of Jose Ignacio Garcia Hamilton and Nicholas Tozer is a living example of two noble professions at the service of common welfare and the defence of the inalienable rights of people, such as freedom of opinion and religion; prerogatives that in the full exercise of democracy may seem to be given by the grace of nature. Nevertheless, history teaches us that they are fragile treasures that can only be upkept through the actions of those who demand and defend them from barbarism and despotic regimes day after day.”
Aristides de Sousa Mendes was the Portuguese General Council in Bordeaux, France, in the spring of the year 1940 when the Nazi ‘blitzkrieg’ (lightening war) broke through the French defences in Sedan on May 14th.
A crowd of refugees of diverse nationalities, among them thousands of Jews, arrived the French city with the hope of obtaining transit visas enabling them to enter Portugal from where America could be reached
Despite strict directives given by Portuguese dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar prohibiting diplomats from providing visas to ‘Jews expelled from their countries of origin’, Sousa Mendes issued thousands of transit permits, not only in Bordeaux but also in Bayonne and on the streets of Hendaya, on the Spanish border. Thanks to his intervention around thirty thousand refugees received help, among them ten thousand Jews who avoided death in Nazi extermination camps. ‘I will grant a visa to whoever needs it, whether they can afford it or not. I will act in accordance to what my Christian conscience tells me’, he used to say.
As a result of his disobedience he was expelled from the Portuguese Foreign Service and deprived on an income and for decades his name could not be uttered publicly in Portugal. He lived the rest of his life as an outcast, eventually losing his family home and dying in almost abject poverty on April 3rd, 1954. It was only in 1987 that then- President Mario Soares granted Sousa Mendes with the Portuguese Order of Freedom and publicly apologised to his relatives for the injustices committed.]]>