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As part of the Never Forget Programme – in Remembrance of the Holocaust –, CTT are joining this initiative with the issue of five stamps paying tribute to the Portuguese Saviours who, during the Second World War, put their lives and careers at risk to extend a helping hand to victims of Nazi persecution, mostly Jews, in Germany and the occupied countries, hiding them or providing them with documents to secure their safety.

This tribute by CTT is a fitting recognition of those whose actions stand as an example of life, citizenship, and safeguard of Human Rights. In a world guided by democracy and solidarity, freedom from discrimination, intolerance, and hate, we wish to recognise:

Aristides de Sousa Mendes Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux, he issued thousands of visas to refugees who were desperately trying to flee Europe through Portugal, disregarding Salazar’s instructions and despite being admonished by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This disobedience resulted in his removal from the diplomatic post and a life of great difficulty. He was rehabilitated, posthumously, in 1988 and re-instated in the Portuguese Foreign Service. The European Parliament organised a tribute to him in 1998.

Carlos Sampaio Garrido Ambassador to Portugal in Hungary, he hid Jews in the Portuguese Legation. They were all eventually imprisoned, but Sampaio Garrido fought for their freedom even after having been replaced in his post by Alberto Teixeira Branquinho.

Alberto Teixeira Branquinho Chargé d'affaires in Budapest, he obtained permission from the Portuguese government to issue safe conducts to anyone with relatives in Portugal, Brazil or, at that time, the Portuguese colonies. Branquinho was authorised to issue 500 safe conducts, but he is known to have issued more than 800. He arranged various houses under the protection of the Portuguese Legation in which to shelter the Jews he was trying to protect, despite the constant attacks targeted at him.

Father Joaquim Carreira Rector of the Portuguese Pontifical College in Rome, he offered shelter to various people persecuted by the Nazis. Although Father Carreira had placed a plaque on the outside of the building, identifying it as church property, the Germans carried out a search. All those who were hidden there, however, managed to escape.

José Brito Mendes Portuguese emigrant who lived in France and who, along with his French wife Marie-Louise, saved Cécile, a Jewish girl, the daughter of a Jewish couple who were their neighbours, putting their own lives at great risk.

“If the Portuguese are like Consul General Mendes, they are a people of gentlemen and heroes.”

(Letter from Gisèle Quittner Allatini to Aristides de Sousa Mendes, AHDMNE (Diplomatic Historical Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

– ASM Disciplinary Process)

Committee of the Never Forget Project

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