The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County in partnership with the Sousa Mendes Foundation is inaugurating an exhibition: "'These are my people!' The story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes." The exhibition will open on Sunday, February 6th, 2011 with a special event from 2:00-4:00 p.m. and will run until Saturday, March 26th, 2011. The exhibit will be held in the Holocaust Center's newly renovated temporary exhibit gallery.
Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese consul in Bordeaux, France during World War II, is credited with saving an estimated 30,000 lives in 1940. Portugal was officially neutral, but its dictator, Antonio Salazar, was privately pro-Hitler and was opposed to letting Jews into his country; he issued a directive, known as "Circular 14," barring refugees from entering Portugal. But Sousa Mendes disobeyed. At great personal peril he decided to issue visas to anyone who asked, free of charge, regardless of race, religion or nationality, and he was harshly punished for this action. Posthumously he was awarded the title of "Righteous Among the Nations" by the Israeli Holocaust authority, Yad Vashem.
The exhibition interweaves the story of Sousa Mendes with that of the refugees, while chronicling major events of the Second World War. The opening, on February 6th, will be in the presence of Sebastian Michael Mendes, a grandson of the hero and an artist, along with recipients of life-saving Sousa Mendes visas. The event will feature a conversation moderated by Dr. Olivia Mattis, curator of the exhibition, and herself the daughter and granddaughter of Sousa Mendes visa recipients.
The mission of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County is to teach the history of the Holocaust and its lessons through education and community outreach. Its programs are provided to schools throughout Long Island and the five Boroughs free of charge, and its unique Tolerance Workshops fight bullying in schools, workplaces and throughout the community.
Dates: 6-February to 26-March-2011
Place: The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center is located on the Welwyn Preserve at 100 Crescent Beach Road, Glen Cove, NY 11542. Please visit www.holocaust-nassau.org for directions.
Contact: For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sousa Mendes Foundation US, a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring the memory of Aristides de Sousa Mendes and to educating the world about his good work, has a two-fold mission: raising funds for the restoration of the Sousa Mendes family home and the creation within its walls of a museum and memorial site; and sponsoring US-based projects that perpetuate his legacy.