Jews and Portugal


In his recent book about Portuguese people during the Holocaust days [see here], Esther Muznick writes about international committees for the relief of the Jews during the 2nd World War. One was JOINT, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee [see here for details]. Accordingly with The Holocauts Encylopedia the JDC, who had links with Polish underground [see here and here] «provided material support and facilitated the emigration of refugees who had escaped to neutral countries including Portugal and Turkey or who had found refuge in other Axis countries, including Vichy France and Japan. Between 1939 and 1944, JDC officials helped 81,000 European Jews to find asylum through emigration to various parts of the world».
This was only one of the bodies to assist Jews in these hard times. HICEM, Jewish Agency, Unitarian Service Committee and Quakers, Red Cross, are others to be mentioned. Portuguese neutrality provided a political opportunity to the routes of escape and evasion and to the support of these in danger in occupied territories.

Baker Street, 64

«On May 13th 2010 a small group of veterans, relatives, historians and friends gathered on the pavement outside 64 Baker Street.During WW2 this building had been the HQ of the Special Operations Executive - a new secret service which was formally brought into being on 22 July 1940 with the directive to: "co-ordinate all action by way of subversion and sabotage against the enemy overseas".Margaret Jackson MBE had worked there as the PA to Colin Gubbins, a major player and eventual Head of SOE and, nearly seventy years after SOE was established and then shortly afterwards started to use the building, she had been invited to unveil Westminster City Council's Green Plaque to commemorate these anniversaries.Duncan Sandys, the Lord Mayor of Westminster, introduced Margaret, who then gave a heartfelt and touching speech.» [source, here, with a documentary]

Polish gratitude

Polish expression of gratitude towards Portugal, because Portuguese people, and mainly the Catholic Church, provided relief and food during the hard times of the war. 
This postcard, dated 26th September 1942, was sent from Cholm [Lublin, Poland] to a Coffee House in Ericeira. It can be noticed German Army Censor mark, and the figures of German Civil Censor marks. 
In the reverse it is written: «The recipient thanks the sender for the parcel containing sardines, tea, coffee, soap, cocoa and sweets".

PVDE in UK?

November 1941. British Ambassador in Lisbon, Sir Ronald Campbell suggests that a delegation of PVDE [Polícia de Vigilância e Defesa do Estado], the police body which cope with internal security and counter-intelligence, should be invited to visit England. The idea was to counteract against the Axis influence in that branch [source NA/Kew Gardens, FO371,26850].
PVDE was created in 1933, by Decree-Law n.º 22 992, 29.08, in the Ministry of Home Affairs, under the guidance of Captain Agostinho Lourenço. It was organised in two sections, one for the Political and Social Defence, and another the International Police, charged with the fight against espionage and subversion.
In 1943 it gained the control of illegal immigration and passports.
The image is a document from the Informations Department [jab archive]



Portuguese neutrality


Portuguese statement of neutrality was issued 2nd September 1939. Salazar knew, from our Ambassador at Vichy, about Hitler's intentions towards Spain and had compromises Francisco Franco with two treaties that prevent Spain to accept Hitler's invitation to join forces without previous consultations with Portuguese Government.
Our non alligment was a major key to the future events of war. Here the official statement written by Salazar with his handwritten remarks.
About this topic, read here [Costa Leite, 1998], and here [JAB, 2011]