Casa do Passal 2011

Artistides de Sousa Mendes saved the lives of over 30,000 people in Southern France in 1940. He did so in defiance of orders from the Portuguese Dictator who in turn disgraced him and blacklisted him, eventually leaving him in poverty. This included the loss of Casa do Passal his iconic family home in Cabanas de Viriato.

Only decades later was his name restored and the story of his heroic deed recognized throughout the world. However at this very moment his magnificent home continues to be neglected and teeters on the brink of collapse, waiting for a plan to be approved and carried out, to restore it as a symbol and tribute to those in this world who don’t just follow orders and who take action to help others regardless of the risk to themselves.

I had a chance to visit Casa do Passal during Carnaval in Cabanas over the past few days.  The following video contains moments from that visit.


  1. March 14, 2011

    Dear Mark,

    Thank you for sharing this heart-breaking video showing the current state of the Casa do Passal. We are a US-based non-profit organization devoted to the legacy of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, and one of our missions is to help raise funds to contribute towards the restoration of Casa do Passal. For more information, visitors may view our web site here:

    Best wishes to you, and keep up the good work!

    • bicyclemark
      March 15, 2011

      Hi Harry! oh Im pleased to read your words as I’ve heard you mentioned on several occasions. (all good things of course!) I really think the time is now, it is surely not the acceptable official policy but if I return to Cabanas Im going to bring the tools to start tidying up that backyard myself. Thanks for watching and I look forward to meeting you in person one day.

      • March 15, 2011

        Oh Mark, surely you’ve not heard *me* mentioned… I only discovered that my father and grandparents were rescued by Sousa Mendes about 8 months ago. I traveled in France as part of a delegation honoring the 70th anniversary of his heroic actions last summer. My travelogue from that journey is here:

        The US Foundation, incorporated in Seattle last September, will be working in conjunction with the Portuguese Fundação Aristides de Sousa Mendes to help with the restoration project. You might be able to get permission from them to work on the back yard! 🙂

        And yes, it would be fantastic to meet in person, be it in Amsterdam, France, Portugal, or the US! Let’s keep in touch. ~ HarryO

  2. March 15, 2011

    Dear Mark,

    Harry posted this video to our foundation Facebook page, and you should feel free as well to use that page to express your own deep feelings about Sousa Mendes and the Casa do Passal. We have already been successful in raising funds towards this important cause, and with enough of us working together we can get the job done!


  3. March 16, 2011

    Bom-dia Bicyclemark, falámos em Cabanas de Viriato.

    Agradeço por fazer desta causa uma das suas lutas.

    A memória de actos de humanidade é um tesouro para qualquer país, qualquer povo, qualquer nação.

    Nós, os que falamos a língua de Camões e Pessoa temos em Aristides de Sousa Mendes o exemplo de que quando um Homem pode decidir, opta por encolher os ombros ou, ariscando a sua carreira o seu emprego, clamar por um mundo mais justo, com mais humanidade, decidindo pela sua consciência segundo a ética e moral da razão.


    • bicyclemark
      March 21, 2011

      Olá António… foi um prazer e na proxima viagem vou la outra vez com certeza!

  4. Marco
    March 20, 2011

    Why isn’t the Portuguese Foundation cleaning up the backyard?

    • bicyclemark
      March 21, 2011

      no idea. heard various explanations about responsibility and not wanted to step on toes. Next time I go, Im bringing tools and doing it myself, thats a threat!

Comments are closed.