Chapter 4: “Will We Get Transit Visas?”

Topics Covered

Challenges of refugees obtaining visas; choices made by officials

Quotes From The Film

  • “Through some luck, I got us transit visas through Spain to Portugal... We’ve trekked over 1,000 kilometers and we must keep moving.”

Irving Redel, 17 years old in 1940

  • “I will obey my conscience and grant these Jews visas. As a Christian I do not have the right to let so many women, children and men die. How can I choose not to help them because of an order that has been issued by the authorities?”

Aristides de Sousa Mendes

Portuguese Ambassador in France

Put Yourself in Their Shoes:

  • Why do you think that Sousa Mendes chose to help so many endangered people?

  • How do you think he felt about what he had done?

  • If you were a diplomat, would you risk breaking your country's law and face pentalty in order to help save lives? Why or why not?

Aristides de Sousa Mendes said: 

“I would rather stand with God against man than with man against God.”

  • What do you think he meant by this?

Dig deeper...

  • What was the legal penalty for helping Jews on 1940?

  • How did Portuguese officials use Circular 14 to help or harm refugees?

  • What price did Sousa Mendes pay for listening to his conscience?

  • Do know of others in positions of power who helped saved Jews during WWII?

What's happening now?

  • What are other examples of refugees fleeing for fear of persecution today?

  • What can be learned from Sousa Mendes about how we respond to the refugee crisis today?

What Can I Do?

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