SMOLAR, Ber/Boris (Visa # 1640 – age 43)
SMOLAR, Genia (Visa # 1639 – age 43)
The above visas were issued by Aristides de Sousa Mendes in Bordeaux on June 15, 1940.
Boris SMOLAR, chief European correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and his wife Genia were able to cross into Portugal and reached Lisbon on June 20, 1940. They sailed from Lisbon to New York on the Manhattan in July 1940.
Boris SMOLAR had been targeted by the Nazis as early as 1936 while reporting from Berlin. For more details, see this report to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Testimonial of Boris SMOLAR
Although I visited London often, I chose Paris as my observation point during the pre-war years of Europe. It was quite obvious even before the second World War broke out that war was inevitable and that France would be involved in it despite Hitler’s assurances that he had only peaceful intentions….
I saw how the people in Paris reacted when the war broke out, how thousands of foreigners in France stood in long lines at recruiting offices offering their lives in the struggle for democracy. I saw refugees from Germany and Austria enlisting in the French Foreign Legion in the hope that they might face their Nazi persecutors in battle. I saw German bombers flying over Paris killing innocent people.
Since I was on the Nazi blacklist, I left Paris a day before the Nazis entered the city, when every road was choked with Frenchmen trying to work their way south in order to escape the invaders. I saw the city of Bordeaux swollen overnight from 300,000 to 3 million inhabitants, every available spot in the street occupied by fugitives, mothers with children in their arms sleeping on bare stones.