When the Nazis overran France in the Spring of 1940 many of the Jews, fearing the worst, tried to flee the country. The ones heading South were refused entry into Spain or Portugal unless they had visas.
The Portuguese government did not want this influx of Jews and forbade their embassies to issue these visas. The Jews were frantic. Not to get that piece of paper amounted to a death sentence. They frantically pleaded with the consuls to give them clearance.
Aristides de Sousa Mendes was the Portuguese consul in Bordeaux. He saw the plight of the desperate Jews and realized what the outcome would be. He decided, despite his thirty year career, to deliberately ignore the direct order.
For ten days, hardly stopping for sleep or sustenance, as the German forces closed in on Bordeaux, Aristides and his team issued visas and stamped them.
They managed to issue thirty thousand before the Portuguese government got wind of what was happening and sent agents down to escort him back to Portugal where he was summarily sacked.
However, like the true bureaucrats they are, they honored those visas and thirty thousand Jews were saved by that one brave man.
The moral of this story is that it is imperative to stand up against officialdom and do the moral thing rather than follow orders blindly.
Aristides de Sousa Mendes saved more lives with his rubber stamp than anybody else. He truly was the Portuguese Schindler. We need far more men of principle like him.