An op-ed in The New York Times (“He Helped Jews Escape the Holocaust. He Died Unknown”) tells the story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a Portuguese diplomat, who in 1940 saved tens of thousands of lives only to be punished for this heroism by his own government.
Here, at Le French Book, it reminded of us Deadly Tasting, one of the mysteries in the Winemaker Detective series, in which an investigation into a series of murders in Bordeaux jogged memories about the complicated history of Bordeaux during Nazi occupation. It was a dark time: weinfuhrers ruled the wine trade, while collaborationists and paramilitary organizations spread terror throughout the region. The authors skillfully weave real history into an otherwise lighthearted mystery series, telling the story of an unsung hero. To discover.
The New York Times article reminds us to remember.
“Was he a great man? Was he mad in showing so little instinct for self-preservation?” one of his sons asked. “The answer lies in all of us when we try to pass judgment on him. I am proud of the fact that I was lucky enough to have such a man as my father.” Tens of thousands today are alive because of his courage.