A Great Neck North High School senior's story about a largely unsung hero of World War II is earning her recognition of her own.
Juliet Freudman, in an article for the website Fresh Ink for Teens, focused on Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a Portuguese consul-
general stationed in Bordeaux, France, who defied the orders of dictator António de Oliveira Salazar and issued visas to refugees fleeing the Nazi terror. He is credited with saving 30,000 people from the Holocaust.
Her 1,000-word story was brought to the attention of Olivia Mattis, a founder of the Seattle-based Sousa Mendes Foundation, whose relatives received visas after fleeing Belgium. Mattis, who is making a presentation in Rochester in April, suggested to the Jewish Community Federation of Greater Rochester that the article be mandatory reading for grades 8-12.
The link to the article is bit.ly/1dYKjfN.
"I didn't think when I wrote it that many people would read it," said Freudman, 17. Of Sousa Mendes, who died in Lisbon in 1954, she said: "I think he's an amazing person that more people should know about. He did what he did because he knew it was the right thing. If we learn to do that on a smaller scale, it will make a big difference."
Freudman is managing editor of her school newspaper, president of both the Key Club and the Gay-Straight Alliance, and a member of Model Congress. She is on her school's track and cross country teams.