BAMDAS, Adèle née BIRNBAUM (Visa # 2759 – age 52)
FRIEDMAN, Abraham (Visa # 2189 & 2190 – age 41)
FRIEDMAN, Bluma née GROSS (age 69)
FRIEDMAN, Claudine (age 5)
FRIEDMAN, Irene née BAMDAS (Visa # 2188 – age 30)
FRIEDMAN, Nadine (age 3)
FRIEDMAN, Nathalie née KLEINHAUS (age 24)
FRIEDMAN, Rachel (age 1)
FRIEDMAN, Simon (age 69)
The numbered visas above were issued by Aristides de Sousa Mendes in Bordeaux on June 18 and June 22, 1940. Nathalie and Rachel FRIEDMAN received visas in Bayonne on June 20, 1940 signed by Manuel Vieira Braga under the authority of Sousa Mendes. Isidore FRIEDMAN, age 34, managed to join his wife and daughter in Portugal, via Marseille.
Isidore, Nathalie, and Rachel FRIEDMAN sailed on the ship San Miguel from Porto to New York in December 1940. Abraham and Irene FRIEDMAN along with their daughters, Claudine and Nadine, sailed on the ship Magallanes from Bilbao, Spain to New York in April 1941. Simon and Bluma FRIEDMAN sailed on the ship Mexico from Havana, Cuba to New York in November 1941.
Testimonial of Rachel SHALEV née FRIEDMAN, 2012
My parents were born in Antwerp and felt both Jewish and extremely involved, even enamored, with European culture–a culture which betrayed them…. My father had an uncompromising commitment to doing the right thing and in 1940 this meant fighting for Belgium and against the Nazis. He was taken prisoner of war, not as a Jew but as a soldier, part of the defeated Belgian Army that fought (for 18 days) before surrendering…
When the Nazi cannons were heard in the outskirts of Antwerp on May 10, 1940 and my father was in the army as a reservist, my extraordinarily beautiful mother of 27 years with her one year old baby (me) left that very day in the car driven by my uncle Abraham Friedman and filled with his wife Irene, my cousins Claudine and Nadine, and his parents Simon and Bluma Friedman.
A story my mother told and retold to me was how she escaped through Vichy France until reaching Portugal–carrying only a baby (me) and two diapers. “And you, Rachel,” she would say with undisguised pride, “never had a rash!” A seemingly insignificant tale but I am overwhelmed when I think of the tenderness, the devotion, the effort necessary, in a state of near-famine and lack of facilities, to keep me clean and dry–day in and day out to wash one diaper at the roadside while the second flapped in the drying wind in the window of a car where the sound of artillery and strafing of airplanes could be heard and the entire family slept in overcrowded churches or by the wayside.
My parents arrived in Portugal, separately. About a month after fleeing Antwerp my mother and I were assigned to the wonderful family in Figueira da Foz of Capitao Manuel Nunez de Oliveira who treated my mother and me, and my father after we were reunited, as though we were their kin. My parents and the Oliveira family maintained a correspondence for the next twenty years. My father, after escaping certain death at the hands of his Nazi captors, reached Portugal a few months after us. We left on one of the last civilian boats to leave Lisbon in January of 1941.