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September 9, 2022 10:33 am

Murals Around the World Will Honor Heroes Who Saved Jews During Holocaust

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

A mural of Metropolitan Chrysostomos and former Mayor Lucas Carrer in Greece created by Artists 4 Israel. Photo: Artists 4 Israel.

Artists 4 Israel has launched a global mural project that spotlights individuals who were honored as “Righteous Among The Nations” by Yad Vashem in an effort by the non-profit organization to combat antisemitism and expand Holocaust awareness.

More than 10 large-scale portrait-style murals will be created in cities around the world including France, Greece, Portugal and beyond, to honor the heroic actions of non-Jews who helped save lives during the Holocaust.

A team of local and wold-renowned graffiti, street, mural and multimedia artists have painted the murals in highly populous locations, each honoring a different local hero from the Holocaust.

In Portugal, Artists 4 Israel created a massive portrait of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a Portuguese consul general in Bordeaux, France, during World War II who issued more than 10,000 transit permits for people escaping Nazi persecution. When word reaching Lisbon about his actions, the Portuguese government dismissed Sousa Mendes from his position in the Foreign Ministry, leaving his destitute. He died penniless in 1954.

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In Greece, a mural was created honoring Greek Orthodox bishop Metropolitan Chrysostomos and former Mayor Lucas Carrer. They refused to give the Nazis the names and addresses of all the Jews living on the Greek island of Zakynthos, and warned the island’s Jews to go into hiding, according to Yad Vashem. The Jewish community stayed in hiding until the island was liberated from Nazi forces and remained mostly unharmed.

Each completed mural will also feature a QR code that pedestrians can scan on their handheld device to watch a short documentary film about the “Righteous Hero” painted in front of them. The films will explain the hero’s connection to the local community and will also feature archival footage, survivor testimonials, behind the scenes moments with the artists and the mural’s painting process. The short films will together become a docu-series available online and later on a full-length documentary, according to Artists 4 Israel.

The “Righteous Among the Nations Global Mural Project” takes “Holocaust education out of the museums and textbooks and delivers it in the form that matters most – on the streets and on social media – artistically delivered by global influencers,” Artists 4 Israel said. “The images and stories told will inspire new heroes through civic pride and social influence.”

Learn more about the mural of Aristides de Sousa Mendes in Portugal in the video below.

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