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Library and Consulate General of Portugal present exhibition
Press Release 8/24/2000

The Consulate General of Portugal and The Newark Public Library are presenting an exhibition at the main library, 5 Washington Street, and at the Van Buren branch library, located in the heart of Newark’s Ironbound section at 140 Van Buren Street. Entitled Spared Lives: The Actions of Three Portuguese Diplomats During World War II, it honors the decisive and courageous actions of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Consul of Portugal in Bordeaux; Carlos de Sampayo Garrido, Minister of Portugal in Hungary; and Alberto Teixeira Branquinho, Charge d’Affairs of Portugal in Budapest.

Spared Lives will be on display in the main library’s Centennial Hall on the following dates/times: Tuesday, September 12, from 6:00pm to 8:15pm; Wednesday, September 13, from 9:30am to 1:30pm; Thursday, September 14, from 9:30am to 8:00pm; Friday, September 15, from 9:30am to 5:00pm; Saturday, September 16, from 9:30am to 5:00pm; Monday, September 18, from 9:30am to 5:00pm; Tuesday, September 19, from 9:30am to 5:00pm. It will be on view in the Community Meeting Room of the Van Buren branch from Friday, September 22, through Saturday, October 7, during branch hours: 9:30am to 5:30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday; 1:00pm to 8:00pm on Wednesday; and 9:30am to 1:30pm on Saturday.

It is not well known that during World War II thousands of refugees, mainly Jewish, went to Portugal to escape the Nazis. The lives of many of these individuals were spared by the actions of the Portuguese diplomats documented in this exhibition.

Acting on his own and at great personal risk, Aristides de Sousa Mendes saved thirty thousand lives by opening the doors of Portugal to those fleeing France during the German invasion in July 1940. In defending his actions, de Sousa Medes stated, “The highest ideal of humanity does not distinguish between race or nationality.”

In 1944, Carlos de Sampayo Garrido and Alberto Teixeira Branquinho put together a lifesaving operation in Budapest in cooperation with representatives of other neutral countries, because a program for the quick elimination of Hungarian Jews was in progress in German-occupied Hungary.

The three diplomats followed their conscience and exhibited true generosity of character, while acting against the instructions of the Portuguese government and disregarding the strict criteria that had been established to obtain visas.

There is no charge to view the exhibition.


 

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