A Good Man in Evil Times: Aristides De Sousa Mendes - the Unknown Hero Who Saved Countless Lives in WWII

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9780140286700: A Good Man in Evil Times: Aristides De Sousa Mendes - the Unknown Hero Who Saved Countless Lives in WWII

Aristides de Sousa Mendes was a Portuguese aristocrat who became the consul at Bordeaux shortly before World War II. Gradually more and more requests for asylum and for visas to portugal arrive at his office until the floodgates are opened onto a mass exodus of Jews and people with mixed nationality. Mendes must pass every request through his superiors before allowing the refugees passage - a lengthy process. Mendes soon realises, as the request become more and more urgent, that he has no time to waste. People will die without his help, so he starts to stamp visas before he has recieved approval. Then comes a document from Salazar's government stating that Jews and people without fixed nationality should be refused access to Portugal. Mendes, believing that he has no time to lose in hisflight for their lives, acommodates all that he can on the floors of his quarters and signs and signs. He signs visas 24 hours a day - undoubtedly saving thousands of lives - until the frontiers are finally blocked by France.

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Jose-Alain Fralon works as a journalist for Le Monde in Paris.

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