PORTUGAL

Aristides de Sousa Mendes

My name is Aristides de Sousa Mendes. I was an important Portuguese diplomat in Bordeaux-France at the beginning of World War II. When Hitler started to chase and kill so many Jews, I challenged the orders of Portuguese Dictator Oliveira Salazar, who was a fascist. I used my power and for five days I've granted thousands of visas for entry into Portugal to Jews and other refugees of various nationalities. In 1949 many people wished to escape Hitler's persecution in France. I managed to fool the guards and take more than 3 thousands refugees safely to Portugal with entry visas, so they arrive safely and were not caught. After I died, on 3rd April, year 1954, in Lisbon, Portuguese consider me as a hero, as I saved so many human lives.

Salgueiro Maia

I’m Captain Salgueiro Maia. When I was 30 years old I was in the Portuguese army, as a captain. At the time Portugal was under a long and strong dictatorship. At the beginning of the year 1974 I and some partners from other places started to gather clandestinely to plan a revolution in order to put an end to the dictatorship in Portugal. As we had planned, in the early hours of 25th of April we started moving to Lisbon and to democracy. I was commanding a column of armored cars and more than 200 soldiers who followed me to surround the ministry where the Prime Minister Marcelo Caetano was hidden. I was able to negotiate with him and in the evening he surrendered. To be sure that no one would hurt him I personally escort him to the airport from where the old dictator left for exile in Brazil. They call me a hero because we were able to put an end to the dictatorship and start a democracy in Portugal without any killed or wounded person. Instead of bullets we put flowers on our shotguns. That’s why we call our revolution the Carnation revolution, which we celebrate every year, on April 25th.