Mission to Portugal with historical objective

John Crisóstomo, member of the Raoul Wallemberg International Foundation, visited his native country, Portugal, with the aim of co-ordinating the different elements that compose the ”Harmonious Rainbow” of the intercultural movement started 35 years ago in Buenos Aires and Jerusalem.

At the closing of the 2001 programme, Crisostomo organized a summoning on behalf of Baruch Tenembaum, founder of two successful NGO, and outlined the programmes for 2002.

In Lisbon, the outstanding philanthropist made several contacts relevant to the purpose of his mission. Among these, he met relatives of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, former Portuguese consul in Bordeaux and saviour of thousands of refugees, most of them Jews, in 1940. Sousa Mendes is one of the numerous members of the IRWF programme ”Diplomacy and the Holocaust”, an educative initiative that pays tribute to the men and women who, disobeying their own governments, helped those in need, even at the risk of their own safety and their families’.

Crisostomo’s mission led him to Leiria, area where the town of Fatima is located. There he met Bishop Serafim Ferrera, to whom he presented the project of setting up at the International Centre for Pilgrims a mural honouring the victims of the Holocaust similar to the one located at the Cathedral of Buenos Aires in 1997, thanks to the work of Casa Argentina in Jerusalem and the decision of the unforgettable former Archbishop of Buenos Aires and Primate of Argentina, Cardinal Antonio Quarraccino. Nowhere in the world is there a memorial within the walls of a Christian temple dedicated to those assassinated in the Shoah. Quarraccino, who died in 1998, has become part of the history of the Jewish-Catholic relationship because of this action, following the steps of Pope John XXIII (Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli).

In Lisbon, Crisostomo had a meeting with Cardinal Jose de Cruz Policarpo as well as with the president of the Portuguese Jewish Community, Samuel Levin, and others.

Both the IRWF and the Angelo Roncalli International Committee, find John Crisostomo a honourable humanist who inspires spiritual enterprises all over the world.