Luiz Martins de Souza Dantas, the Brazilian Ambassador to France from 1922 to 1943, saved thousands of lives from the holocaust, while going directly against the laws of the right-wing dictatorship that ruled Brazil at the time.

Dantas was a career diplomat form an affluent family; an international playboy who lived the high-life in Europe, dating actresses from the Comédie Française and Coco Chanel, and throwing lavish parties to show the best that Brazil had to offer.

He was a respected politician with access to the highest powers in Europe and very privileged information, who, nearing his retirement age, could have easily left his post as the war approached and the Nazi party stepped up its persecution of innocent people. Instead, Dantas used all of his influence to not only issue illegal diplomatic visas to those desperately seeking a way out of Europe, but to also plan their escape and aid them every step of the way. Even while being reprimanded by his government, he worked the back-channels of power to save people from concentration camps in the South of France before they could be sent to certain death in Germany or Poland.

In return, he was arrested by the Gestapo and chose to be interned in Germany for 14 months to protect his Embassy staff, put on trial in Brazil for ignoring Brazilian law, but ultimately doing the right thing, and finally erased from history when his actions proved to be an embarrassment to those who did not show the same courage.

Dantas, who never sought to profit from his actions, died relatively poor in Paris a few years after the war. He left no descendants, and his survivors, knowing their visas had been granted illegally, maintained his actions a secret. 50 years after his death, the only existing biography of Dantas was published leading him to be recognized by the state of Israel as one of the Righteous Among the Nations.  “The Ambassador” seeks to tell the story of this extraordinary man, while showing the ordeal of one of his survivors as he sought to escape the horrors of war and save his loved ones.

Ambassador Luiz Martins de Souza Dantas
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