Dr. Aristides de Sousa Mendes

Dr. Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Portuguese Consul General in Bordeaux, France, June 1940

Aristides De Sousa Mendes was the Consul General in Bordeaux, France. He issued more than 30,000 life-saving Portuguese visas. Ten thousand were for Jews and 20,000 were for other refugees. Mendes saved the entire royal Habsburg family, including the Empress Zita. In addition, he saved the entire Belgian cabinet in exile. Mendes personally conducted hundreds of Jewish refugees across a border checkpoint on the Spanish frontier. All of his life saving activities were done against the orders and policies of his government. He was fired by his government and lost all of his property. He died in poverty in Lisbon in 1954. In November of 1995, Portugal restored his career and awarded him a special medal for saving lives.