University of São Paulo: USP Institute holds part of Aracy de Carvalho’s history

Aracy Moebius de Carvalho Guimarães Rosa (1908-2011) was a Brazilian recognized as “Fair Among the Nations”. The title is given by Israel to people who risked helping Jews during World War II, even without sharing the same religion, as is the case with Aracy.

Part of the files that make up her trajectory are available for research at the Institute of Brazilian Studies (IEB) at USP, in São Paulo. There are more than 5,900 documents , including postcards, correspondence and photographs that explore the Brazilian’s personal and professional life, such as her relationship with the writer and diplomat João Guimarães Rosa (1908-1967), who was Aracy’s husband after meeting her. at the consulate in Hamburg, Germany.

It was from this consulate that the Brazilian helped issue visas to Jews who sought to escape Nazi policy during the War, as explained by Mônica Schpun, Researcher at the Center for Research in Contemporary Brazil (CRBC) at the Paris School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS). ), in France.

She used the IEB collection in her research that resulted in the book Justa. Aracy de Carvalho and the rescue of Jews: exchanging Nazi Germany for Brazil , published in 2011.

“The IEB files are her personal files. What I consulted were mainly some letters that she exchanged during the period she was in Hamburg with her mother and some with other correspondents. Also some postcards”, the researcher reported.

Letters to Aracy
In addition to the IEB, Mônica researched the collections of the National Archives and in Germany, where she had access to documents from people who were directly helped by Aracy. In addition to telling this story, Mônica’s book forms a common thread between the Brazilian’s friendship with the German Margareth Levy (1908-2011).

“Their friendship built the thread of my book because they were two women who came from different backgrounds, who had totally different backgrounds and who would never have even met, much less become friends, if it wasn’t for that context. She [Margareth] was the person who most mobilized for the title of Justa da Aracy”, said Mônica.

The researcher explained that in order to receive this title, two directly helped Jews need to write a statement. In Aracy’s case, in addition to Margareth, the German Günter Heilborn, who came to Brazil with his wife using a visa issued at the Hamburg consulate, also reported on the Brazilian’s efforts to save Jews.

A letter of thanks to Aracy written by a member of the Jewish community in Germany who ran a Jewish emigration office also constitutes, for the researcher, one of the most important proofs of the work carried out by the Brazilian in the consulate. Despite not making it clear, the letter leaves evidence that people were sent to the consulate to be helped by Aracy.

“The letter thanking Aracy I consider to be the key part of Justa’s dossier. I was able to read this long letter and it was written by a person who was living through a very difficult period. I don’t think he had time to waste sitting at the typewriter and writing a letter that wasn’t really useful. This gentleman was probably sending people to be helped by her”, said Mônica.

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