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sexta-feira, agosto 06, 2010

…to see the actual ink that gave my father, and our family, life…



Having just recently discovered the diplomat who saved her family in 1940, Olivia Mattis is now anxious to see the Registry book and the “actual ink that gave my father, and our family, life…"



Her father Daniel Matuzewitz, only 7 years-old then, was travelling on his father’s passport, Joseph Matuzewitz, who was given visa number 1178 on 31-May-1940, by Aristides de Sousa Mendes, then the Consul General of Portugal in Bordeaux.

Daniel’s mother Lucie and three other family members are also registered in the visa book of the Consulate of Portugal in Bordeaux.

Lucie’s testimony about the family’s escape clearly details the efforts of Sousa Mendes, with the help of Rabbi Kruger, in granting visas to as many refugees as possible.



The Matuzewitz/Mattis family made it to the

safe-haven in Portugal and stayed in Coimbrafor a short time, then travelled by boat to
Brazil, until moving toNew York in 1941.
Thanks to his daughter’s research, Daniel Matuzewitz, now Mattis, was finally able to express his gratitude to Aristides Mendes, one of the diplomat’s 42 grand-children, in an emotional meeting at the Salt Lake City home of the Universityof Utah physics professor, in July 2010.

Connecting the Matuzewitz/Mattis and Sousa Mendes families is a momentous event, thanks to FACEBOOK and a lot of persistence. We may never know the names of most of the refugees who were saved by Sousa Mendes. The Bayonne Consulate Registry book went missing, and some visas were never recorded, in the rushed visa granting marathon which is estimated to have saved 30.000 refugees.
But the Registry of visas of the Consulate of Portugal in Bordeaux records the names of only a few of the many lucky families.


This powerful testimony to the Act of Conscience of Aristides de Sousa Mendes stands, and can be now be seen at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York.

According to Museum Director David Marwell, the visa Registry, on loan from the archives of Portugal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MNE), is "one of the most important historical artifacts" on display in the Museum.
To the Mattis family, those rushed scribblings made all the difference.


The newspaper article http://bit.ly/daiQPC
The TV broadcast on the meeting http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=148&sid=12071786
More on the Mattis family story in
http://gfroche.blogspot.com/2010/09/elemental-querido-watson.html 
Hear Olivia Mattis speak of her family's rescue  and the new ASM Foundation - US  here 

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