This site was created by Eric Moed. Eric recently graduated from The Pratt Institute School of Architecture in Brooklyn, New York. His grandfather and great-grandfather, both architects, were saved from almost certain death in WWII Europe, along with their immediate family, through the heroic and selfless acts of Aristides de Sousa Mendes. Mr. Sousa Mendes was a Portugese diplomat who issued over 30,000 visas, enabling desperate refugees an opportunity to escape the terrors of World War II. Many of the visas were issued in a one week span in June of 1940, against direct government orders. Unfortunately Aristides de Sousa Mendes did not live to see his actions recognized. In fact, he died in 1954, penniless, his remaining relatives not even able to afford a proper suit for his burial. Eric dedicated his thesis project to Sousa Mendes’ memory in hopes of jump-starting and seeing to it that his former residence, the Casa Do Passal is restored as a museum and memorial to celebrate his legacy and restore his families’ honor once and for all. The Sousa Mendes family has suffered for generations as the result of a great deed. It is time that this deed gets its due. Finally, there is an opportunity to push back against many miscarriages of justice.
The restoration and design of the Casa do Passal goes well beyond the scope of a simple architectural proposal. It must result in a place that embues dignity, fosters education and ultimately echoes the deeds of Aristides de Sousa Mendes in perpetuity. – Eric Moed
March 12, 2012