Friday, May 22, 2009

An Urgent letter to Sir Martin Gilbert

Dear Sir Gilbert,

I've just read in the Haaretz Hebrew online pages about your work on a new film relaying Righteous diplomats' courageous acts during the Holocaust.

I am a published writer of Hebrew literary fiction and narative non fiction. May I bring to your attention a name I have not seen mentioned in the article - that of the Portuguese Aristides de Sousa Mendes. By now there is plenty of information on him on the net.

Please allow me to quote from my book How Far From Paradise - encounters with international women writers on Childhood dramatic recollections.

The quotation is from the Lidia Jorge chapter:
"...we have a hero here, like Schindler: the Consul Aristides, Portugal's Consul to Bordeaux during World War II, who saved thousands and thousands of Jews despite Salazar, the terrible dictator, and Salazar
threw him out of a diplomatic career and he became a poor man who ate the soup of the poor.
He and his youngest son.
It's a marvelous story.
In France, in Bordeaux, he issued visas for thousands of Jews, to allow them to pass through Portugal on their way to freedom, to the United
States and England.
Now we remember him and there are many books about him.
He risked more than Schindler - his life, his son, his wife. When he was far from Portugal, in a dangerous situation.
One of those books about Aristides is titled, A Good Man.
Can I write the name of this man? It's so important.
Aristides Sousa Mendes. Yes, only now they're talking about him.
My son is twenty three years old. Last year, when he read the book, he wept. He said, "But there are good people, there are heroes in Portugal.”

With warm regards, Yours,
Corinna Hasofferett