Mendelsohn

MENDELSOHN, Ala Marichna (age 24)
MENDELSOHN, Ester (age 22)
MENDELSOHN, Freida (age 49)
MENDELSOHN, Jacob (age 52)
MENDELSOHN, Marcel (age 13)

The MENDELSOHN family received visas authorized by Aristides de Sousa Mendes in Bordeaux on June 9, 1940.

The MENDELSOHN family crossed into Portugal and lived in Figueira da Foz. They subsequently sailed from Lisbon to New York on the ship Serpa Pinto in February 1942.

Testimonial of Ala Damaz née Mendelsohn

The family was living in Paris as the war broke out. They were five: Freida and Jacob Mendelsohn, age 49 and 52; Marcel, age 13, born in Berlin; Ester Mendelsohn, age 22, born in Denmark; and Ala Marichna, age 24, also born in Denmark.

The Mendelsohn family was well to do in Paris. In June 1940, they were preparing to leave Paris for Bordeaux when they ran into a friend of Ester’s, a young Portuguese man named Luis Cabral. He joined them on their trip to Bordeaux.

Luis Cabral knew “someone” in the Portuguese consulate in Bordeaux and he got his papers in order there. And then he acquired Portuguese visas for everyone in the Mendelsohn family: Freida, Jacob, Marcel, Ester and Ala. The Mendelsohn family got their Portuguese visas on June 9. They kept their car and crossed the border into Spain. After Vilar Formoso, they reached Coimbra where they stayed for a short while before moving to Figueira da Foz where Jacob rented a large house.

The idea was to spend the entire war in Figueira da Foz but the Portuguese government eventually forced them to leave. In all, they stayed two years in Figueira da Foz. They sailed in February 1942 aboard the Serpa Pinto to New York, arriving on February 20.

Luis Cabral and Ester Mendelsohn eventually married and settled in the United States.