The name of Raoul Wallenberg has been taught in history classes for generations. — and thanks to Hollywood, we know the name of Schindler and his list. But the name Aristides de Sousa Mendes do Amaral e Abranches is anther story entitrely.
On Monday, March 23, the story of the World War II era Portuguese consul — a hero who defied the orders of his government by illegally granting visas to an estimated 30,000 refugees (including approximately 10,000 Jews) in occupied France — will take center stage during a free presentation at Brookdale Community College.
Hosted at BCC’s Student Life Center — and co-sponsored by the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Education (Chhange), the Brookdale International Education Center, and the Sousa Mendes Foundation — the 6:30 pm program combines a public-welcome showing of the feature film Disobedience: The Sousa Mendes Story with an illuminating example of living history.
Made for French television in 2008 and given a subsequent theatrical release, the drama from director Joel Santoni stars Bernard Le Coq as Sousa Mendes, whose acts have been called the largest rescue action by a single individual during the Holocaust. Following the film will be an interactive discussion hosted by Joan Halperin, whose family was saved by Sousa Mendes’ act of disobedience.
“Aristides de Sousa Mendes acted with extraordinary moral courage in issuing lifesaving visas to many thousands of desperate souls,” says Halperin of the events that mark their 75th anniversary here in 2015. “By a stroke of good fortune my family numbered among them.”
“This is an effort to pay tribute to Sousa Mendes and help tell his story, so that future generations can neither deny nor forget what he did.”
No reservations are necessary for the free screening event. For more information call Janice Thomas at (732)224-2799, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.