Saturday, 29 Feb 2020 - 4 of Adar, 5780

Madrid to open its first Jewish museum following legal battle over building

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“This is the only major capital in Western Europe without a museum, yet it has deep Jewish ties to countless Jews who continue to nurture the Sephardic culture since the expulsion of 1492 and their affection to Spain,” Madrid Mayor Jose Luis Martínez-Almeida said.

Madrid will open a Jewish museum in a building that had been illegally occupied by members of the anti-capitalist Occupy network, the city’s mayor said on Thursday.

“This is the only major capital in Western Europe without a museum, yet it has deep Jewish ties to countless Jews who continue to nurture the Sephardic culture since the expulsion of 1492 and their affection to Spain,” Mayor Jose Luis Martínez-Almeida said while announcing the decision.

The museum is set to open within two years in a building nicknamed “The Ungovernable.” In November 2019, the mayor’s municipality won a legal battle to evict the squatters from the building, who had been living there since 2017.

The museum will be leased for free for 50 years and Fundacion Hispano-Judia, a Madrid nonprofit that promotes Jewish heritage, will be responsible for providing funding for the museum, according to JTA.

The publication Libertad Digital reported that a Jewish museum may help advance Madrid’s bid for UNESCO recognition of the central Cortes area, which is where the museum will be located.

A Jewish museum was scheduled to open in 2017 in Lisbon, Portugal but has been stalled due to opposition by residents and some local politicians.

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