Aristides de Sousa Mendes do Amaral e Abranches was a Portuguese consul during World War II.
As the Portuguese consul-general in the French city of Bordeaux, he defied the orders of António de Oliveira Salazar's Estado Novo regime, issuing visas and passports to an undetermined number of refugees fleeing Nazi Germany, including Jews. For this, Sousa Mendes was punished by the Salazar regime with one year's suspension on half-pay but afterwards he kept on receiving his full consul salary until his death in 1954. Sousa Mendes was vindicated in 1988, more than a decade after the Carnation Revolution that toppled the Estado Novo.
For his efforts to save Jewish refugees, Sousa Mendes was recognized by Israel as one of the Righteous Among the Nations, the first diplomat to be so honored, in 1966.
Sousa Mendes issued approx 30,000 visas to Jews and other refugees before being recalled and dismissed from the diplomatic service. His act goes down in history as perhaps the largest rescue action by a single individual during the Holocaust.
Aristides was born in Cabanas de Viriato, in Carregal do Sal, in the district of Viseu, Centro Region of Portugal, on July 19, 1885, shortly after midnight. His twin brother César, born a few minutes earlier, had a July 18 birthday.
Their ancestry included a notable aristocratic line: their mother, Maria Angelina Ribeiro de Abranches de Abreu Castelo-Branco, was a maternal illegitimate granddaughter of the 2nd Viscount of Midões, a lower rural aristocracy title. Their father, José de Sousa Mendes, was a judge on the Coimbra Court of Appeals. César served as Foreign Minister in 1932, in the early days of António de Oliveira Salazar's regime. Their younger brother, Jose Paulo, became a naval officer.
Aristides and Angelina de Sousa Mendes with their first six children, 1917 Sousa Mendes and his twin studied law at the University of Coimbra, and each obtained his degree in 1908.
In that same year, Sousa Mendes married his childhood sweetheart, Maria Angelina Coelho de Sousa (born August 20, 1888). They eventually had fourteen children, born in the various countries in which he served.
Children: Aristides César, Manuel Silvério, José António, Clotilde Augusta, Isabel Maria, Feliciano Artur Geraldo, Elisa Joana, Pedro Nuno, Carlos Francisco Fernando, Sebastião Miguel Duarte, Teresinha Menino Jesus, Luís Felipe, João Paulo, Raquel Herminia, Marie-Rose
Shortly after his marriage, Sousa Mendes began the consular officer career that would take him and his family around the world. Early in his career, he served in Zanzibar, Brazil, Spain, the United States, and Belgium.
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Aristides is 55 degrees from Rosa Parks, 52 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 43 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.