In partnership with the European Jewish Association, the Holocaust Museum of Oporto commemorated the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
A flame was lit in the Museum’s Memorial Room with the names of tens of thousands of people murdered during the Holocaust. The lighting of the flame was carried out by students from the schools present.
Generations after the end of the Shoah, antisemitism is worryingly on the rise, in Europe and beyond. The European Union is determined to put an end to it. The EU strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life (2021-2030) is a very ambitious strategy that faces much resistance not only in the general societies but also in national governments and parliaments.
Gabriel Senderowicz, the President of the Jewish community of Oporto said “We saw recently in Portugal that anti-Semitism is the rejection of Jewish people, the Jewish principles, Jews of synagogue Jews of business and all Jews who are not fully converted to modernism and its values.”
He added, ”the European Union will certainly manage to promote the Jewish people, their culture and religion. However, as soon as Jewish communities start making a strong mark in European territory, the influential antisemites in society will attempt to destroy Jewish life bit by bit, using the same myths and methods employed in the past.”
The Holocaust Museum of Porto (MHP) was created in 2021 by the Jewish Community of Porto (CIP/CJP) in partnership with B’nai B’rith International and Holocaust museums of Washington, Moscow, Hong Kong and others. The new museum received 40,000 visitors until December.
The Oporto Holocaust Museum invests in teaching, professional training of educators, as well as in the promotion of exhibitions, encouraging and supporting research. “It is important to teach the Holocaust in Portugal. ”At school my brother and I were the only Jews. The Holocaust was never taught or addressed, and few people knew anything about it, ” noted Dara Jeffries, a board member of the Jewish Community of Oporto.
The Museum portrays Jewish life before the Holocaust, Nazism, Nazi expansion in Europe, the Ghettos, refugees, concentration, labour and extermination camps, the Final Solution, the Death Marches, Liberation, the Jewish population in the post-war period, the Foundation of the State of Israel, Winning or dying of hunger, The Righteous among Nations.
In this Museum visitors have the opportunity to visit the reproduction of the Auschwitz dormitories, as well as a the Room of Names, a flame memorial, cinema, conference room, study centre, corridors with the complete narrative and photographs and screens showing real footage about the before, during and after the tragedy.
Deborah Lieberman Walfrid Elijah, a memember of the Oporto Jewish community: “The Holocaust must be recounted by the victims. My mother was an orphan when she reached Argentina and my father was forced to play the violin in Theresienstadt propaganda camp. I had no grandparents when I was born. They were all executed in Poland, after their heads were shaved, numbers were tattooed on their arms and they were used as slave labour.”
Jonathan Lackman, another member, said: “My grandfather escaped from Treblinka and my grandmother, who had typhus, was rescued from Bergen-Belsen camp in northern Germany, where Anne Frank died. I will always share their stories.”