The Legacies of Aristides de Sousa Mendes and Dr. Henry Morgentaler

I recently learned about two remarkable individuals – Aristides de Sousa Mendes and Dr. Henry Morgentaler. Sousa Mendes, a Portuguese diplomat, defied his government’s orders during World War II by issuing visas to refugees irrespective of their background. Dr. Morgentaler was a lifelong advocate for abortion rights. Their legacies continue to inspire people worldwide to champion justice and compassion.

Aristides de Sousa Mendes: Defiance and Compassion During WWII

The Montreal Jewish Public Library recently organized a screening of the film “Disobedience,” which tells the story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes. A panel discussion was held following the screening, featuring Louis Philippe Mendes, Aristide Sousa de Mendes’ grandson, who provided insights into his grandfather’s legacy.

Aristides de Sousa Mendes’ act of conscience was a remarkable display of courage and moral integrity. He issued visas to all refugees regardless of nationality, race, religion, or political opinions, risking his career and reputation. The film portrayed his heroic deeds, showcasing his collaboration with his male secretary and Rabbi Kruger.

Dr. Henry Morgentaler: A Lifetime Advocate for Abortion Rights

In a separate interview, Gian Gomeshi spoke with Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, son of the late Dr. Henry Morgentaler. Dr. Henry Morgentaler, a staunch advocate for abortion rights, recently passed away at ninety, prompting a global reflection on his impactful life. Abraham Morgentaler shared anecdotes illuminating his father’s journey, highlighting his unwavering commitment to his beliefs and ability to inspire others.

The legacies of Aristides de Sousa Mendes and Dr. Henry Morgentaler are potent reminders of the enduring power of conscience and conviction, inspiring audiences to remain steadfast in their pursuit of justice and compassion. The Sousa Mendes Foundation website provides more information about Aristides de Sousa Mendes’ story, and interested parties can contact the foundation to watch the impactful film.