This special event, co-sponsored by the Embassy of Portugal and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, featured remarks by His Excellency Nuno Brito, Ambassador to the United States, and Ms. Manuela Franco, Director of the Diplomatic Institute in Lisbon.
Ms. Franco discussed the life of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, who served as Portugal's consul-general in Bordeaux, France, during the mid-twentieth century. In 1966, Yad Vashem recognized Aristides de Sousa Mendes as Righteous Among the Nations for aiding in the safe escape of over 30,000 refugees during World War II. Sousa Mendes deliberately disobeyed his own government in granting visas and other legal documents to thousands of refugees seeking to escape Nazi persecution. Ms. Franco also discussed how the legacy of Sousa Mendes has been upheld through an online exhibit titled "Spared Lives." This exhibit includes photographs, documents, and information on Jewish refugees, in addition to highlighting the courageous actions of Sousa Mendes. [Aristides de Sousa Mendes]
With an expert background in international relations, Ms. Franco has authored three books and numerous research articles including "The Twentieth-Century Portuguese Jews of Salonika: 'Oriental Jews of Portuguese Origin'" in Borders and Boundaries in and around Dutch Jewish History (Amsterdam University Press 2011). She is currently the Director of the Diplomatic Institute in Lisbon, Portugal.
The lecture was held on Wednesday, April 23rd at 6:30pm in the Kennedy Bioethics Research Library, Healy Hall.
The online exhibit, "Spared Lives," can be found here: