Before the fall of France to Nazi Germany the Lisbon Jewish community was relatively small with just over a thousand claiming resident status, but quickly exploded as Portugal adopted a liberal visa policy allowing thousands of refugees from across Central Europe to enter the country before more stringent immigration restrictions came into place in late 1940 which included the outright exclusion of those Russian in origin or birth. However during the Holocaust Aristides de Sousa Mendes would disobey this order and arrange for refugees fleeing through France to enter the country, to later be again expanded by the government during the second part of the war allowing for those saved during Allied rescue operations safe harbour, joining many other neutral countries to become a major gateway for many escaping the war to the United States and a haven for spies operating across border against Nazi forces.