Rivier University sponsors two events in observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 8

7 p.m. Historian discusses Portuguese diplomat who saved more than 10,000 during World War II 

9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Brother Mickey O’Neill McGrath presents Holocaust-inspired artwork 

NASHUA, N.H. – The Greater Nashua Holocaust Remembrance Committee presents a
Holocaust Remembrance Day interfaith observance, sponsored by Rivier University in conjunction with Temple Beth Abraham, at 7 p.m. in the Dion Center Reception Room on Clement Street in Nashua, N.H. on April 8.

Dr. Douglas Wheeler, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of New Hampshire, will present “A Hero of Conscience for Portugal and the World: Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes.” 

Wheeler will discuss how and why Sousa Mendes signed thousands of transit visas to Portugal in June 1940 at Bordeaux, France and at the French-Spanish border; the consequences for his career, for humankind and for thousands of visa-holders; the relationship between Salazar's authoritarian Portugal and Nazi Germany in 1940; and how these historical events are relevant to today’s international politics. 

Dr. Douglas Wheeler taught history for forty years at UNH. He is the author, co-author or co-editor of eight books and more than 200 articles on Portuguese history, foreign affairs and the history of espionage, and he is also a playwright. 

For more information about Aristides de Sousa Mendes, please visit sousamendesfoundation.org. 

A question-and-answer session and a candle-lighting ceremony memorializing the victims of the Holocaust will follow the presentation. A photography display, "A History of the Holocaust," distributed by the Anti-defamation League of B’nai B’rith, will be on display in the Dion Center Reception Room from 6 p.m. through 9 p.m. 

Rivier University also welcomes Brother Mickey O’Neill McGrath, who will present his Holocaust-inspired artwork at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the Dion Center on Clement Street. Brother McGrath is an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, and an artist and author of ten books. McGrath discusses how art creates a bridge between understanding the atrocities of the Holocaust and spiritual healing. In addition to sharing his art, he will also address how the Holocaust has affected Christian teachings. 

Both of the programs above are free and open to the public. For more information, please call Sheryl Rich-Kern at (603) 881-7264 from the Holocaust Committee or Br. Paul R. Demers, (603) 897-8537 at Rivier University; or email sherylrichkern@myfairpoint.net or pdemers@rivier.edu. 

In advance of the event, Cinemagic in Merrimack will present a film about Sousa Mendes, “'Disobedience, The Sousa Mendes Story,” on April 7 at 3:30 p.m. This film is part of the New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival, which features ten films in 11 days playing in seven cities across New Hampshire, from April 4-14, 2013 . Harry Oesterreicher, who is the son and grandson of Sousa Mendes visa recipients and treasurer of the Sousa Mendes Foundation, will answer questions after the screening. To purchase tickets to the film, visit jewishnh.org.