April 15, 2024

Celebration of the Day of Conscience

A tribute to two heroic WWII diplomats

Aristides de Sousa Mendes, from Portugal

Luis Martins de Sousa Dantas, from Brazil

From Left to Right:
Ms. and Mr. Crisostomo, Father Krizolog, Ambassador Ana Paula Zacarias and Archbishop Gabriele Caccia


A moving event took place at the Slovenian Church of St. Cyril, in New York, on April 7, 2024. The same was organized by Mr. Mr. Joao Crisóstomo, Vice-President of the IRWF and founder of the Day of Conscience in tribute to the Brazilian diplomat Luis Martins de Sousa Dantas and the Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes, both credited with saving many innocent lives during the Holocaust by distributing visas against explicit orders from their respective governments.

Over 110 people, representing 24 different organizations, attended the event.  Among them the Sousa Mendes Foundation US, the Portuguese US Chamber of Commerce, the Lions Club, several “Academias de Bacalhau”, schools, clubs, and other organizations, including the IRWF whose presence Mr. Crisostomo acknowledged in his remarks.

This event was divided in three different parts: A Catholic Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. After this, in the common room there was a Reception, where Mr. Crisóstomo introduced the Keynote speaker, Ana Paula Zacarias, the Portuguese Ambassador to the UN who delivered a message from the Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.  Sandra  Mendonça Pires was representing the Ambassador of Portugal in Washington;   Ambassador Norberto Moretti of Brail and Paulo Pereira mayor of the city of Mineola also spoke, delivering moving words about the event , supporting Mr Crisostomo previous words  that the  event meant not only to remember  the example of the two humanitarians being honored,  but specially to   convince everyone of the need today to have the courage to do what needs to be done.

The third part of the event was the screening of the film “O Consul de Bordéus” a fiction story based on real facts and life of Aristide de Sousa Mendes. Its success was evident by the number of people who at the end of the film could not hide their emotions or were seen trying to suppress stubborn tears/

When this film was being made and further financing was necessary, Mr Crisostomo and the IRWF, as acknowledged at the end of the film, were able to help by finding in New York the financial help which made it possible the finish the film.

Front Row: Amb Norberto Moretti from Brazil, Archbishop Caccia, Joao Crisostomo, Amb Zacarias, Sandra Mendonca Pires, Prof. Andre Correa d’Almeida

Invitacion a la celebracion del Dia de la Conciencia