Portugal officially recognized the efforts of its wartime consul in Bordeaux, France, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, who served in the position during World War II.During his term as the Bordeaux consul, Sousa Mendes saved the lives of some 10,000 Jewish families, who would have fallen victim to the advancing German Nazi army, by issuing them transit visas to flee the country - defying the orders of then-dictator António de Oliveira Salazar. According to the Portuguese weekly Sol, the country's parliament unanimously approved a bill last week to posthumously honor Sousa Mendes with a disembodied tomb at the National Pantheon.Instead of transferring the body to the Pantheon, Deputy of the Assembly of the Portuguese Republic and Member of Parliament Joacine Katar Moreira, who introduced the bill, asserted that his remains should be left in Carregal do Sal. This is where Mendes grew up and lived.Moreira said the move is in order to preserve the culture and the importance the presence of his body has on the region's tourism industry, according to Sol.Moreira noted that Mendes should be remembered "as a heroic figure in Portuguese memory, he is a national heritage, an ethical legacy for all and all, it is a heritage civil society and, above all, a virtuous example for generations to come," according to Sol.In June 1940, as the German army was sweeping southward in defeated France, Sousa Mendes was faced with an impossible conflict between his conscience and his loyalty to his government.Portugal was then under the rule of the dictator Salazar, whose wartime decree “Circular 14” forbade the issuance of transit visas to Jews wishing to escape capture by the advancing Germans.As the person in charge of the whole Bordeaux region, stretching into Bayonne, Sousa Mendes had the power to save thousands of Jews, who had fled to Bordeaux from other regions captured by the Germans and found themselves stranded on the streets of the city waiting for a miracle, but he would need to openly defy his government in order to do so.He decidedly did so, and upon returning to Portugal, he paid for his humanitarian “disobedience” by being stripped of his diplomatic rank and fired, with all benefits accrued from his long diplomatic career annulled. He died in poverty.Mendes passed away in 1954. Most of his children left Portugal and took up residence in other countries.In 1966, based on a handful of testimonies, Yad Vashem posthumously awarded Mendes the title of Righteous Among the Nations. A year later, the Righteous medal and Certificate of Honor were handed to his daughter, Joana, in a ceremony in the Israeli consulate in New York.JTA and Mordecai Paldiel contributed to this report.