Journey on the Road to Freedom


Retrace the footsteps of Aristides de Sousa Mendes and the refugees of 1940 on this 11-day, 10-night guided trip of a lifetime with members of the Sousa Mendes family, beginning in Bordeaux and ending with a symbolic boat ride in Lisbon Harbor. In between, visit sites germane to the dramatic and moving story, including Bayonne, Hendaye, Vilar Formoso, Cabanas de Viriato, Porto, and Caldas da Rainha.* Travel in a comfortable air-conditioned coach bus and enjoy regional cuisine. Space is limited, with priority given to visa recipients, descendants of visa recipients, and Holocaust educators.

*Preliminary itinerary. Program subject to change.

Bordeaux, France to Lisbon, Portugal
Saturday, June 25-Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Price of the tour: $2500, including all hotels, sites, ground transportation and meals (excluding alcohol). Air travel to Europe not included. Brussels Airlines, the Official Carrier, is generously providing discounted air travel to all participants.

Deposit of $250 due on October 1, 2015 or until spaces are filled. Balance due according to the following schedule:

$1000 due on February 1, 2016.

Balance of $1250 due on May 1, 2016.

The first payment is refundable prior to December 1, 2015. The second payment is refundable prior to March 1, 2016. The third payment is non-refundable. PayPal transaction fees will be subtracted from any refund.

Bordeaux, France

Visit Portuguese consulate where Aristides de Sousa Mendes wrote visas in 1940 and the Parc des Quinconces where hundreds of thousands of refugees camped out in the open air. Visit Bordeaux synagogue and Aristides de Sousa Mendes bust on the Esplanade Charles De Gaulle. Visit Musée Jean Moulin dedicated to the French Resistance. Enjoy regional cuisine and fine wine.

Bayonne, France

Visit Portuguese consulate in Bayonne where Sousa Mendes ordered visas to be issued and where he personally also issued visas. See the fountain and cathedral plaza where thousands of refugees stood asking for visas. Enjoy regional artisanal chocolates and Basque cuisine.

Hendaye, France

See library with commemorative stained glass panels to Aristides de Sousa Mendes. Travel across “freedom bridge” linking France to Spain.

Irun, Spain

Enjoy regional Basque cuisine on the Spanish side and imagine life for the 1940 refugees who had just crossed to freedom thanks to Aristides de Sousa Mendes.

Salamanca, Spain

Spend one night in the Old City, home to one of the oldest universities in the world. Enjoy regional cuisine.

Vilar Formoso, Portugal

Travel across the Portuguese border to Vilar Formoso. Visit the new “Frontier of Peace” museum.

Viseu, Portugal

Stay in this ancient city in the heart of Portugal’s wine region and where Jews flourished before The Inquisition.

Cabanas de Viriato, Portugal

Visit Sousa Mendes family home “Casa do Passal” and cemetery where Aristides de Sousa Mendes is buried. Dine on regional specialties in nearby Carregal do Sal.

Beijós, Portugal

This is the village where Angelina de Sousa Mendes was born. See her house and the church where she and Sousa Mendes were married.

Porto, Portugal

This coastal city was one of the locales where the refugees of 1940 were assigned to live. Learn about their daily lives. Visit new museum at Synagogue Kadoorie Mekor. Walk through the Old City or head to the beach. Enjoy Porto’s famous wines.

Caldas da Rainha, Portugal

This 500-year-old city, whose name means Thermal Baths of the Queen, was another locale where refugees were assigned in 1940. Visit sites and enjoy regional cuisine.

Lisbon, Portugal

Visit Shaare Tikvah Synagogue and other points of interest. Visit Ministry of Foreign Affairs to see the Sousa Mendes visa registry book, in whose pages Aristides de Sousa Mendes and his staff listed the names of the visa recipients in May and June of 1940. Listen to a live Fado performance over dinner. Tour ends with a cruise in Lisbon harbor as we imagine the refugees of 1940 leaving their old lives behind to embark on a new adventure.

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