Oranjestad — Foundation “Respeta Bida… Semper Corda!” invited Robert Jacobvitz, founder of the international committee to commemorate Dr Aristides de Sousa Mendes, and currently the State of Florida representative of the Sousa Mendes Foundation to visit the island in the first week of September.
Jacobvitz will present a movie titled Disobedience: The Sousa Mendes Story, about one of the great humanitarian heroes of the Second World, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, who was the Portuguese consul stationed in Bordeaux, France, who despite the threat of the harsh dictatorship of Antonio de Oliveira Salazar began to issue visas to as many refugees as he could, more than 30,000, an estimated 10,000 of them Jewish, so that they could escape to Spain, during the period of Nazi terror in France.
His noble act led Sousa Mendes to being stripped of his title and ultimately erased from Portuguese history, until the story surfaced in March 17,1986, when Jacobvitz read about Sousa Mendes heroism in the local newspaper of his hometown Oakland, California.
When Jacobvitz read the Sousa Mendes story he felt compelled to make his name known, as the man saved more lives than any other single person during that dark period in history.
As a result of Jacobvitz efforts a movie was made, a gripping docu-drama, and it will be shown in Aruba on September 5th, at Cas Di Cultura. In honor of the occasion Foundation Respeta Bida… Semper Corda, is inviting the Social Work students to attend and participate in the discussion after the viewing, which will be guided by Jacobvitz. Other invitees will be clergy, dignitaries and the members of the foundations.
The film will be shown here in cooperation with the Sousa Mendes Foundation. Please take a look at the following link for more information: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/10/world/europe/in-portugal-a-protector-of-a-people-is-honored.html?_r=0
Jacobvitz is also scheduled to give the Social Work students a workshop on another occasion on his specialty, “Community Social Work & Organizational Development,” based on the living evidence of the Sousa Mendes activism, which is being shown and discussed among different audiences and in the media, around the world.
The goals of foundation “Respeta Bida…Semper Corda!” are to raise awareness for the respect of the rights of every member of the Aruban society. The foundation strives to promote liberty and equality for all local citizens.
In an official statement board members declared: We must remain vigilant in the face of discrimination, racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, so that these negative human traits do not raise their ugly heads in Aruba. As a society, we cannot remain indifferent to injustice and/or prejudice.
The foundation’s first project, a number of years ago, symbolizing its desire for the improvement of the world was the erection of a statue of Anne Frank in the park in front of the Juliana School. This project included explanatory panels, and the beautification of the park.
Anne Frank is the iconic symbol to never forget that a new Holocaust can happen when a multi-cultural nation fails to reach peaceful co-existence of all races and religions, respecting all differences among its citizens.