Western Washington UniversityCommunications and Marketing
DATE: October 26, 2009 3:12:25 PM PDT
WWU's Sebastian Mendes to Present 'There is a Black Mirror in My Heart: An Oral History and the Legacy of a Holocaust Rescuer' Nov. 18

Contact: Fran Maas, Turning Points Lecture Series coordinator, (360) 650-7545, or e-mail fran.maas@wwu.edu.

BELLINGHAM – Western Washington University’s Sebastian Mendes will present “There is a Black Mirror in My Heart: An Oral History and the Legacy of a Holocaust Rescuer,” the first installment this academic year in WWU’s Turning Points faculty lecture series, at 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, in Communications Facility room 110 on the WWU campus.

The event is free and open to the public.

Mendes’ presentation will focus the actions of his grandfather, Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes, who in June 1940, was in the unique position to aid thousands of desperate Jewish refugees pouring into Bordeaux, France, with German troops poised to capture the city at any time. In an extremely concentrated period of only a few days, his actions resulted in the largest single rescue act of the entire Holocaust; as a result, Mendes was severely punished by his own government and never recognized or vindicated in his own lifetime.

Mendes will discuss his grandfather’s personal background and character contributing to the circumstances surrounding his actions, and will look into what this may have meant for himself as well as the 30,000 refugees who received his transit visas, allowing them passage out of France to Spain and eventually into the safety of neutral Portugal.

Decades later, an ever-increasing international chorus of voices have insisted that Mendes’ grandfather be recognized by his homeland.

For more information about the Turning Points Series faculty speaker series call (360) 650-7545 or visit http://www.wwu.edu/turningpoints/ For those attending Turning Points faculty lectures, no parking permit is required to park after 5 p.m. in the gravel lots 12A and the C lots south of the Communications Facility, near Fairhaven College.  Parking meters require payment all hours.

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