Costa introduces resolution honoring Portuguese World War II hero

Nov 22, 2021
Press Release

(WASHINGTON DC) - Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16), Co-Chair of the Portuguese American Caucus introduced a bipartisan resolution, H.Res. 807, honoring the life and legacy of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a distinguished Portuguese diplomat who saved the lives of an estimated 30,000 people from the terror of the Holocaust.   

“Aristides de Sousa Mendes was a great hero of World War ll, and is believed to have conducted the largest rescue by a single individual during the Holocaust.” said Costa. “He followed his conscience and risked everything to save thousands of people. His act of heroism inspires us to protect the dignity of others, especially those seeking refuge.” 
 
Aristides de Sousa Mendes do Amaral e Abranches (July 18, 1885 – April 3, 1954) was the Portuguese consul stationed in Bordeaux, France during World War ll. Despite strict limitations on visa processing for refugees, Sousa Mendes issued an estimated 30,000 Portuguese visas to Jews and other vulnerable people fleeing Nazi persecution in 1940.   

In 1995, the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, posthumously bestowed Portugal’s highest honor, the Grand Cross of the Order of Liberty, on Sousa Mendes. On October 19th, 2021, Sousa Mendes was laid to rest in the National Pantheon in Lisbon.  

H.Res. 807 is a companion resolution to S.Res.186, introduced by Senator Mitt Romney (UT) and passed the Senate by unanimous consent in April.

This resolution is co-sponsored by Reps. Bill Keating (MA-09), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Lori Trahan (MA-03), Jake Auchincloss (MA-04), Juan Vargas (CA-51), David Valadao (CA-21), David Cicilline (RI-01), and Scott Peters (CA-52)