In 1940, as Nazi forces advanced through France, Aristides de Sousa Mendes served as the Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux. He defied orders of his government and issued an estimated 30,000 visas and passports to those fleeing Nazi persecution. Among them were thousands of Jews seeking safety amid the horrors of the Holocaust.
For his heroic actions, Sousa Mendes was fired from his post and punished. In 1966, after his death, he was named by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations, an honour which recognizes those who risked their lives to save Jews from the Nazis.
To mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, in partnership with the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada (JHCWC) and the Honorary Consulate of Portugal in Winnipeg, is hosting online screenings of Disobedience: the Sousa Mendes Story. The dramatic film portrays his efforts and courage in the face of immense danger. All are invited to attend, and tickets are available free of charge at humanrights.ca.
“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve witnessed disturbing patterns of antisemitism and other forms of hate, alongside false comparisons made between public health orders and the Nazis,” said CMHR CEO Isha Khan. “We can honour the memories of those who died in the Holocaust by confronting these comparisons and draw inspiration from stories like Sousa Mendes’.”
Separate French and English screenings are being held at 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., respectively. Both film screenings will be followed by a Q&A with Belle Jarniewski, Executive Director of the JHCWC, and Paulo Jorge Cabral, Consul of Portugal in Winnipeg.
WHAT: Film screenings of Disobedience: the Sousa Mendes Story, followed by a Q&A
WHEN: January 27, 2022. French screening at 11:00 a.m. CST, English screening at 5:00 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Zoom event, free registration at humanrights.ca