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Irene Pimentel Potsdam February 2012 Jewish refugees and anti-Nazis among the Portuguese during the Second World War.

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Presentation on theme: "Irene Pimentel Potsdam February 2012 Jewish refugees and anti-Nazis among the Portuguese during the Second World War."— Presentation transcript:

1 Irene Pimentel Potsdam February 2012 Jewish refugees and anti-Nazis among the Portuguese during the Second World War

2

3 . As soon as Hitler rose to power, in 1933, persecutions against Jews, political opponents, and all those who the national- socialist government considered to be outside the Arian Volksgemeinschaft (Peoples Community) began. As the oppression and anti-Semitic laws toughened, the number of refugees seeking sanctuary in other European countries grew.

4 The European Countries closed their doors to the refugees. Portugal also began to restrict its border policy namely to emigrants who could not return to their country of origin, as was the case of German Jews. The European Countries closed their doors to the refugees. Portugal also began to restrict its border policy namely to emigrants who could not return to their country of origin, as was the case of German Jews.

5 Joining these, following the annexation of Austria, the invasion of the Sudetes and of Poland, were the Austrians, Czechoslovakian and Polish. Following the invasion of several European countries, particularly France by the Wehrmacht, those fleeing Hitler who had found refuge in other countries had to continue fleeing, ever more westwards. Joining these, following the annexation of Austria, the invasion of the Sudetes and of Poland, were the Austrians, Czechoslovakian and Polish. Following the invasion of several European countries, particularly France by the Wehrmacht, those fleeing Hitler who had found refuge in other countries had to continue fleeing, ever more westwards.

6 Portugal, a neutral country during the Second World War, became one of the few European places of refuge for the large number of refugees, fleeing from war and the persecution of the national-socialist regime.

7 Difficulties the entry of refugees was hindered by the Police their presence tolerated as a temporary stay permanent exile was prohibited. They waited in Portugal for a visa and a means of transport that would take them to Africa, South America or to the USA where there were entry quotas according to nationality.

8 THE PORTUGUESE DICTATORSHIP: nationalistic sympathised with the anti-communism and anti-liberalism of the German regime BUT: it differentiated itself in key aspects from the totalitarian, expansionist, and racist German regime the anti-Semitism was absent in its ideology and in Portuguese society the Portuguese neutrality allowed for the rescue through Portugal of those persecuted by national-socialism.

9 Factors that allowed Portugal to rescue many of those persecuted by German national-socialism

10 1. Portugal under the Oliveira Salazars dictatorship Civil dictatorship institutionalised by the 1933 Constitution Suppression of freedom of expression and association Reorganization of censorship Creation of the Police of Vigilance and Defence of the State, in charged of emigration and border control

11 an authoritarian dictatorship an authoritarian dictatorship a head of government who controlled a National Assembly composed of a single party, elected in non-competitive elections a head of government who controlled a National Assembly composed of a single party, elected in non-competitive elections the ideals of the far right with traditional conservatism and corporatist, anti-liberal and anti- communist Catholicism the ideals of the far right with traditional conservatism and corporatist, anti-liberal and anti- communist Catholicism

12 1935 – 1936: a paramilitary militia ( The Portuguese Legion) and state organizations of women and youth were created

13 Not a biological racism Biological racism – namely anti- Semitism – was not part of the Salazar ideology Biological racism – namely anti- Semitism – was not part of the Salazar ideology Salazars ideology applied the term race in the context of a national historic and cultural community Salazars ideology applied the term race in the context of a national historic and cultural community Even when political rights were removed, the Portuguese were not driven out of the nation and retained their nationality Even when political rights were removed, the Portuguese were not driven out of the nation and retained their nationality

14 The Portuguese Jewish community, with about 3000 members, was integrated in society, many of them practicing liberal professions such as medicine and law - NO ONE WAS CLASSIFIED AS JEWISH. The Portuguese: Did not discriminate the Jews for being Jewish Did not discriminate the Jews for being Jewish Did not understand why a German Jew was no longer German because he/she was Jewish Did not understand why a German Jew was no longer German because he/she was Jewish

15 2. Portugal in the Second World War, a neutral country: at first it was equidistant between the two fighting camps from the second-half of 1942 onwards it became collaborative with the Anglo-American side Portugals neutrality was facilitated by the Allies as well as the Axis.

16 3. Difficulties faced by refugees from the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs restricts entry to stateless individuals and Poles with a 30 day visa – it stipulated that Jewish emigrants would henceforth require tourist visas, valid for 30 days, to enter Portugal It was the word emigrant, who were not allowed to return to their country of origin (Germany) and not the word Jewish that scared the Portuguese authorities.

17 Until October 1941, Germany incentivized the exit- expulsion of Jews by stealing their possessions and property and prohibiting their return. Following the Austrian Anschluss (annexation), the creation of anti-Semitic laws in Italy and the crystal- night pogrom in Germany, the flood into neighboring countries of these emigrants who could not return to their country of origin, led to the conference of Evian, in July 1938, which settled the issue by limiting the entry and stay of refugees. Germany began, in 1938, to place the letter J on all Jewish passports. Why? Why?

18 Although it was not anti-Semitism that motivated the Portuguese government, but the danger of mass emigration to the country, the outcome of the border policy became objectively anti-Semitic.

19 The director of the political police sent a confidential letter to Salazar asking : for a toughening of visa policy, in particularly for Jews, «generally morally and politically undesirable». for a toughening of visa policy, in particularly for Jews, «generally morally and politically undesirable». For the refusal of those who: For the refusal of those who: do not possess financial means for their stay in Portugal do not possess financial means for their stay in Portugal cannot return to their country of origin cannot return to their country of origin plan to travel to America but show no guarantee of being able to do so plan to travel to America but show no guarantee of being able to do so without an entry visa for the country of final destination without an entry visa for the country of final destination

20 Salazar sent out a memo to its diplomatic missions stating that henceforth only career diplomats, and no longer honorary consuls, could grant visas. -On January the PVDE prohibited the Amsterdam consulate from granting visas to all Jewish Germans, even those who had destination visas -On December transit visas were only granted with prior authorization from the PVDE

21 This tougher measure was introduced as a result of the action of the consul in Bordeaux, Aristides Sousa Mendes, who granted thousands of visas against Salazars orders.

22 July a law prohibited foreigners to work for others in sectors where there was unemployment of Portuguese nationals, but they were allowed to be self-employed July a law prohibited foreigners to work for others in sectors where there was unemployment of Portuguese nationals, but they were allowed to be self-employed April foreigners would not be allowed to practice medicine, except in exceptional circumstances April foreigners would not be allowed to practice medicine, except in exceptional circumstances October this was extended to the theatre October this was extended to the theatre March to engineering and architecture. March to engineering and architecture.

23 The majority of refugees: would only be granted a Portuguese transit visa once they had the visa for their country of final destination and a ticket to continue their journey would only remain in Portugal for the time of their arrival and departure. Many stayed in the country for longer. One of the main difficulties was surviving in a country where they were prohibited from working.

24 Refugee centres: hotels, boarding houses and rented rooms many of them supported by American aid organizations refugees could not work or travel more than 3 kilometres away from the place of fixed residence without authorisation from the Police, although they had free transit within these places.

25 4. Refugees among the Portuguese 1940 – According to an estimate made by the Israeli Community of Lisbon, about refugees had entered Portugal..

26 5. The arrival of new customs to the Portuguese capital The presence of refugees in public spaces (cafés, esplanades) introduced new habits Some Portuguese women were attracted to the independent look of these women and despite the scandal, there began to emerge among them a fascination for the new habits (the short hair-cut refugee-style, cork- wedged shoes and short dresses)

27 Portugal became the most western beach of Europe where now a variety of languages are spoken and where women of all types of beauty can be found (Diário de Notícias, September 1940) New swimwear regulations were approved: swimsuits had to include a petticoat, for women, and a shirt that covered the upper body for men.

28 6. A farewell to Europe At their hour of departure, Lisbon symbolised the farewell of the Europe which, despite everything, they did not want to abandon. In October 1940, Heinrich Mann: Looking upon Lisbon I saw the port. It would be the image of Europe that remains. I thought it incredibly beautiful. A beloved one lost could not be more beautiful. All that was given to me, I lived it in Europe, joy and sadness (…) But the how painful that farewell was.

29 Hans Natonek, 1941: Before me, in front of me, almost disappearing, were some of the most beautiful scenes of the European past, baroque and gothic (…) in the golden light of the setting sun I saw the towers of Prague, the gentle Austrian landscape, Luxemburg, Paris – a whole life lived in Europe (…) It was as if this last look made Europe disappear

30 The End

31 - - During those days in June, Captain Agostinho Lourenço, of the PVDE, went immediately to the frontier, where he was forced to distribute the mass of refugees that were gathering there. - He therefore decided to put in action the idea suggested by Comassis, to transfer many of them to resort areas where there were hotels and boarding houses. - This suggestion came from Augusto dEsaguy, head of the COMASSIS whose goal was to reduce the tension felt by the Portuguese authorities due to the chaotic border situation, and as such get the government to ease the rules for granting transit visas. - This idea also alleviated the situation in Lisbon, where there were thousands of refugees, at a time when the Exhibition of the Portuguese World and the Double Centenary was taking place.

32 In Refugee centres, refugees could not work or travel more than 3 kilometres away from their place of fixed residence without authorisation from the PVDE, although they had free transit within these places where they lived in hotels, boarding houses and rented rooms many of them supported by American aid organisations. - One of the main difficulties for refugees in these places was to find a way to make a living as well as obtaining visas for countries of exile as these could only be requested in Lisbon or Oporto, where refugees would sometimes go without police authorisation risking prison. extensions of very little duration.

33 -Although initially authorisations for residence were almost always renewed, from the end of 1940 the PVDE began to grant only. -For those who in 1940, and following years, spent a brief time in the capital, Lisbon appeared to them as a peaceful and illuminated paradise, with bustling shops where there was no war or black outs and where they did not feel persecuted. - But, for those more observant, the cosmopolitan image of the capital could not hide the sight of barefooted children, beggars, char ladies, shoe polishers and degraded neighbourhoods in a country where appearances were everything and men were dominant.

34 The German intellectual Eva Lewinski felt on arriving to Lisbon in October 1940, the same relief as most refugees. However, she also felt unease and indignation in face of the misery: Suddenly, walking free in the street without papers or fear of the police, sitting in cafes, speaking in whichever language we liked, seeing the street lights throughout the night, seeing the shops filled with foodstuffs, newspapers in all languages, books, books, books (…) but right next to the rich part of town there was Alfama, where the misery and dirt were indescribable (…) It should never be forgotten».

35 - Lisbon is sold out, was how the Czech journalist Eugen Tillinger described the Portuguese capital in October 1940 before being placed in fixed residence at Figueira da Foz. - According to him, you almost never heard Portuguese being spoken in Rossio square. The cafes and restaurants are overflowing – wrote the Czech journalist – there arrived in the country considerable sums of foreign currency which are circulated among the immigrants. But the Portuguese are aware of this and are very kind to foreigners As Tillinger himself pointed out, the owners of boarding houses and hotels, those who rented out rooms, shop and café employees as well as exporters who, breaking the blockade, would send products to countries occupied by the Axis, all these were who profited most from the presence of the refugees.

36 4.1 The arrival of new customs to the Portuguese capital - The forced idleness brought out a mass of refugees into public spaces where their presence introduced new habits - Café esplanades, and the more liberated attitude of the refugees which sat in them, were phenomena that marked the Portuguese during the war period. - some Portuguese women began to be attracted to the independent look of these women and despite the scandal, there began to emerge among them a fascination for the new habits. - The foreign women influenced fashion, with the introduction of the turban, the short hair-cut refugee-style, cork-wedged shoes and short dresses. - Following their example, many young Portuguese women also started to sit in cafés, going alone to the cinema and leaving the house without stockings, gloves or a hat.

37 - Also, the beaches started to fill with refugees from the summer of 1940 onwards. On the 11 th September the portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias had an article rejoicing in the fact that Portugal had become the most western beach of Europe where now a variety of languages are spoken and where women of all types of beauty can be found On 13 th October 1941 however, another article in O Seculo announced new swimwear regulations, recently approved by the Ministry of the Interior. - The presence of the refugees was, in this way, also the cause of the introduction of new laws regulating habits, namely regarding the use of swimsuits, which had to include a petticoat, for women, and a shirt that covered the upper body for men.

38 6. A farewell to Europe At their hour of departure, Lisbon symbolised the farewell of the Europe which, despite everything, they did not want to abandon. In October 1940, Heinrich Mann: Looking upon Lisbon I saw the port. It would be the image of Europe that remains. I thought it incredibly beautiful. A beloved one lost could not be more beautiful. All that was given to me, I lived it in Europe, joy and sadness (…) But the how painful that farewell was.

39 Hans Natonek, 1941: Before me, in front of me, almost disappearing, were some of the most beautiful scenes of the European past, baroque and gothic (…) in the golden light of the setting sun I saw the towers of Prague, the gentle Austrian landscape, Luxemburg, Paris – a whole life lived in Europe (…) It was as if this last look made Europe disappear

40 - From 1942 onwards, it became easier for the few refugees that still made it to Portugal, who were now mostly individuals who could still enter the country, sometimes clandestinely. - In this same period, both refugee aid organisations and the allied governments would intercede on behalf of refugees to obtain permits from the MNE for dislocation to and permanent stay in Portugal. - Also in 1942, following an agreement between these organisations and the police, incarcerated refugees, being social and political prisoners, or clandestine or without papers, were released and placed in fixed residence.

41 - After 1943, when the Portuguese neutrality became collaborative with the allies who had started to win the war, the Portuguese government became more susceptible to Anglo-American pressure to save those persecuted by Nazism. - On 4 th February 1943, the German embassy in Lisbon informed Salazar and the minister of Foreign Affairs, out of courtesy, that they were intending to detain and expel all foreign Jews in occupied countries. - Jews with a Portuguese passport were from then on considered national citizens and so the government treated them differently to other refugees. 140 Sephardic Jews of Portuguese ancestry resident in France and about 30 Jews in Greece with a Portuguese passport, some of which were already in the concentration camp of Bergen Belsen, were repatriated.

42 - It should be noted, however, that while the MNE, which stated its reasons were humanitarian ones, -although in reality it was pressure from the Vatican and the American government, allowed the repatriation, the PVDE on the other hand, stating fake claims of nationality, wanted to postpone the repatriation proposing only wealthy refugees who could prove their Portuguese nationality should be allowed into Portugal - However, the repatriation campaign of Portuguese Jews involved a small number of those persecuted and who, for their survival in Portugal, relied on the support of ally countries and international aid organisations. - Adding to this, Portugal did not allow a permanent stay even in these cases.

43 . - It seems that Jewish aid organisations exaggerated the number of refugees that passed through Portugal; for example the American Jewish Joint Committee stated that between 1940 and the beginning of 1944 about refugees came through Portugal. - If this number is inflated, then the one supplied to António Leite de Faria, a diplomat in London, by MI6 certainly is according to whom Jews found refuge in or passed through Portugal. - In short, although it is difficult to obtain accurate estimates, due also to the existence of clandestine refugees, it is thought that during the Second World War between and refugees came to Portugal, with the highest number during the summer of Portugal and the saving of those persecuted by Hitler - Knowing exactly how many refugees passed through Portugal during the Second World War is difficult due to the lack of sources.

44 - In Portugal all was done to ensure the refugees did not integrate or settle, even though the government, who didnt directly assist the refugees, allowed aid organisations to do so. - Salazar managed in a pragmatic and nationalistic manner the inevitable and unwanted invasion, not wanting refugees to take up places in the workplace nor to infect, with their cultural and political opinions, the dictated life imposed on the Portuguese. - After the first regime crisis passed, after the war, Salazar could breathe a sigh of relief as he had managed, with no great pain, to make Portugal into a temporary refuge where foreigners did not mingle dangerously with the Portuguese or introduce new political ideas.

45 - The following episode may explain Salazars attitude: - Among the refugees remaining in France, after 24 th June 1940 – when the consulate in Bayonne was closed following the granting of thousands of visas by the consul Aristides de Sousa Mendes and Spanish authorities stopped accepting Portuguese documents – there were 1000 Poles. - By passing on a request from the diplomatic representative in Poland, so that his compatriots would be authorised to continue their journey and enter Portugal, Armindo Monteiro, ambassador in Great Britain, in London, interceded on their behalf using the argument that these were people pure of race.

46 - Salazar refused their visas, stating that these refugees, non-Jewish, were precisely the most undesirable: «Refugees of a political and intellectual nature (…) are the least desirable due to the activities that they will want to carry out. Besides this, their sheer number would require pre-emptive security and an immediate departure to other countries, as there is no housing capacity. Visas granted in Bordeaux were done so against the specific instructions of the MNE by a consul that I have already removed from office» - The argument reveals that the Portuguese dictator was especially concerned not only with the arrival, and settlement, in mass, of foreigners with no possibility of returning to their countries, but also the presence of other cultural values and political ideas that could influence the Portuguese people.

47 A farewell to Europe - With the refugees, Europe came to Portugal and through them the Portuguese could no longer ignore that they belonged to the European continent. - At their hour of departure, Lisbon symbolised the farewell, perhaps forever, of that same Europe who, despite everything, they did not want to abandon. -In October 1940, Heinrich Mann said goodbye to Europe with a last image of Lisbon. Looking upon Lisbon I saw the port. It would be the image of Europe that remains. I thought it incredibly beautiful. A beloved one lost could not be more beautiful. All that was given to me, I lived it in Europe, joy and sadness (…) But the how painful that farewell was.

48 For Hans Natonek, when the ship left the Tagus bar, in the early months of 1941, the westernmost city of Europe summarized, in the setting sun, a whole life lived on that continent. Before me, in front of me, almost disappearing, were some of the most beautiful scenes of the European past, baroque and gothic (…) in the golden light of the setting sun I saw the towers of Prague, the gentle Austrian landscape, Luxemburg, Paris – a whole life lived in Europe (…) It was as if this last look made Europe disappear

49 - 1) Reasons stemming from the structure of the regime itself, that reflect the character of the New State/Estado Novo and in particular the absence of anti-Semitism. - 2) Circumstantial reasons arising from Portugals foreign policy during the Second World War. - 3) Difficulties that force us to look at how the Portuguese authorities behaved: the PVDE, Salazar and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

50 Refugees among the Portuguese - In June 1940, a large amount of refugees reached the Portuguese border at Vilar Formoso, most of which had visas granted by the consulate in Bordeaux, Aristides Sousa Mendes. - According to an estimate made by the Israeli Community of Lisbon (CIL) and Joint, by August 1940 about refugees had entered Portugal, which grew to by November. - The same Joint highlighted that between June 1940 and May 1941, about people had entered Portugal, a figure close to the one given by Comassis who stated refugees had been supported this organisation. - During those days in June, Captain Agostinho Lourenço, of the PVDE, went immediately to Vilar Formoso from Lisbon, where he was forced to distribute the mass of refugees that were gathering there. - He therefore decided to put in action the idea suggested by Comassis, to transfer many of them to resort areas where there were hotels and boarding houses.

51 -, in its dealings with society, the Estado Novo did not dominate over all of society and allowed Family, Army and Church to have their own place. - This happened even when, whilst becoming more fascist in 1935 and 1936, a paramilitary militia was created – the Portuguese Legion – and state organisations of woman and youths.

52 - For Great-Britain it was important to maintain the neutrality of the Iberian Peninsula and ensure the safety of the Atlantic and Mediterranean routes through the cooperation of Salazar in preventing Germany allying with Spain, who had just come out of a civil war where the nationalists had won with the support of Germany and Italy. - On the other hand, the equidistant neutrality was also economically advantageous to Germany who imported, throughout the whole war, Portuguese and colonial products it required. - In June 1940, the arrival of Germans at the Pyrenees, the declaration of non-belligerence by the Spanish and the reinforcement of the Falangists German front in the neighbouring country, put the neutrality in peril.

53 Hitler sought to occupy Gibraltar and the Iberian Peninsula through Operation Félix, planned for 12 th November In the end, Germany cancelled the operation and moved its troops to the Balkans and Soviet Union, which was invaded in June xxxxxxxxxxx - Two fields where the neutrality remained equidistant until almost the end of the war were those of espionage and propaganda on the one hand, and commercial ties on the other. - Portugal maintained its commercial ties with Germany, until the second semester of 1944, through the exports and re-exports of products that were vital to the Russian campaign, especially tungsten, a fundamental component of the German armoury.

54 But, as the course of the war changed in favour of the Allies, when the salazarist wish for a peace without winners or losers became improbable, a fear that a victory for the Allies would mean the end of the New State/Estado Novo became instilled in the heart of the regime. - Portuguese neutrality went from equidistant to collaborative with western Allies. - In August 1943, after extensive talks, Salazar gave in to the Anglo- American demands for the strategic use of a military base on the Azores and in January 1944 declared an embargo on the sale of tungsten to Germany, at the request of England. - In exchange, Salazar was able to maintain the regime and Empire after the war.

55 4. Refugees among the Portuguese - In June 1940, a large amount of refugees reached the Portuguese border, most of which had visas granted by Aristides Sousa Mendes.. - According to an estimate made by the Israeli Community of Lisbon (CIL) and Joint, by August 1940 about refugees had entered Portugal - The same Joint highlighted that between June 1940 and May 1941, about people had entered Portugal.


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