The traces of Jewish Madrid: a hidden legacy

comunidad-judia-legado3-krmb-620x349abchttp://www.abc.es

Just after the week in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, the Jewish Madrid – almost disappeared by the relentless weight of History – is located between generalized ignorance as a sort of hidden patrimony, relative to two concrete epochs. One, primitive and medieval, scene of persecutions and sustenance of legends around its configuration. Another, contemporary, concerning the refoundation of the Hebrew community in Madrid.

The absence of architectural evidence, in other faithful chroniclers in stone, makes any justification to the documentary archive. Although there are no buildings or remains of the first Jewish quarter of the capital, there are writings that locate it in what is currently the cathedral of La Almudena. Behind them, inside the walls of the Arab wall, the Jews remained even after the Christian conquest of Madrid, then Mayrit, in the year 1083 by King Alfonso VI.

The edicts of execution, multiplied after the conception of the tribunal of the Holy Inquisition in 1478, and popular transmission play a key role in the flimsy certainties about the past of the Jewish community. According to documentary sources, the work of Alejandra Abulafia, director of Destino Sefarad, as early as 1053 a Jewish neighbor sent a letter to his sister counting his sentence for the death of two coreligionists. Just a few meters away from that old Jewish quarter, climbing up what is now the Calle Mayor, in the plaza of the same name, many merchants settled, especially in the space that today welcomes the Mercado de San Miguel and in the neighborhood of Plaza de la Villa.

Precisely in the Plaza Mayor, in the lanterns located in the center, there is an engraving that passes almost unnoticed. The relief shows a judgment with a sambenito to a Jew, who was nothing more than to put a sackcloth to the inmate, often without previous judgment, to humiliate and stigmatize him. This small trace, although anecdotal, partially synthesizes how medieval times were. In fact, another of the points collected in the map attached, the Valnadú gate, is remembered for being the access point in one of the major attacks suffered in the Jewish quarter.

Persecutions and Expulsion
The main test of its location, in any case, refers to the most tragic episodes of its history in the area. Sometimes narrated in literary code, a document of 1391, when many Jews were killed in the street of the Damas, in the Jewish quarter, according to Jacobo Israel Garzón in its prologue to the work Avapés: Theater in two acts (Solly Wolodarsky. 2009). This and other passages are included in the letter, such as the request of the Villa de Madrid to the queen to execute the penalties provided for Jews who did not wear distinctive signs in the dress, in 1478, or a wall that would isolate the Jewry, two years later.

Everything ends, as a part and result, in a key date for the Jewish community throughout Spain. On July 31, 1492, the Catholic Kings signed their expulsion, condemned ever since, and well into the nineteenth century, to a cryptic presence. Persecuted and in the strictest secrecy, the author goes on that, after a century, Madrid hosted numerous Portuguese crypto-Jews, descendants of those who had left the same year of the discovery of America. At this time and in the following years, different documents prove this situation; As a car of faith – one among thousands – in 1632, where “up to forty-four prisoners, of whom four were burned in a statue and seven in person” were allegedly assembled to whip and insult a Christ and a Virgin .

Another of the pillars on this legacy has much to do with speculation, justified in the popular transmission. It may be worth noting that the Lavapiés neighborhood, supposedly known as Avapiés on the date, does not appear on the route illustrated, but the truth is that, contradiction among historians, there is no documentary basis for this. It is, therefore, a myth; Similar to the one that assures that the present church of San Lorenzo was once a synagogue. Equally, Manolo’s name is said to have its origin in the Jewish community, for it derives from Immanuel, which in Hebrew means “God be with us.”

Refoundation
There is no effective refoundation until well into the twentieth century, although in the early years the end of this parenthesis is glimpsed. In 1917 the first synagogue of Madrid, Midras Ababarnel was founded, antecedent of the constitution of the Jewish Community in the region, in 1920. It also obtains an own enclosure in the civil cemetery of La Almudena, although this growth is not definitive .

The synagogue is closed in 1938 and, after the end of the Civil War, all public activity is interrupted. Thus, the Jewish Community was not restored until 1947, and two years later a new synagogue, the Lawenda Oratory, was inaugurated. Years later, it moved to Pizarro Street to house a larger one, Betzión. The definitive takeoff and settlement, peaceful except for the attack on Christmas Eve of 1976, when a bomb exploded next to the synagogue of Balmes Street, was in the 60’s; Developed with the construction of the Jewish cemetery of Hoyo de Manzanares, in the early 90’s. Madrid also has a Jewish school, Ibn Gabirol, built in 1965.

The Jewish community, in the present
It is estimated that the Community of Madrid currently lives around 10,000 Jews, with the seat of the Jewish Community (left, its opening) as the main meeting point; Both religious and social. Its growth in the last years mainly refers to Argentina, since many Jews emigrated to Spain after the military coup of Videla in 1976, and after the recent economic crises. The Second World War also provoked the arrival of numerous Jewish refugees. In those years, Madrid was configured as an alternative scenario of spies and covert diplomacy. As you can see, the Embassy confectionery, which served as a cover to save 30,000 Jews from the Nazi deployment in the capital, to Portugal.

Segovia and the Holcaust Day

A1-49632563.jpgCandles, white roses, poems and songs have reminded one of the most frightening times in European history in Segovia today and have served as a tribute to the more than 15 million victims of Nazism in an event celebrated on the occasion of the European Day of The Holocaust Memorial.

The event was attended by the deputy secretary of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, Elias Cohen; The press chief of the Israeli Embassy in Spain, Uriel Macías; The General Director of Centro Sefarad-Israel, Miguel de Lucas, and survivor of the Holocaust Rhoda Henelde, in addition, the Mayor of Segovia, Clara Luquero, and several councilors.

Macias explained in a statement to the media minutes before the homage that these kinds of acts have a double importance, since they serve as “lesson and warning” to the new generations, but also to honor the memory of those who were persecuted until death.

In this sense, he has insisted that not only “evil” is remembered in this act, but also the survivors and the people who helped save lives, who in their view, “are an example of good is possible.”

Although there are more and more Spanish cities joining this initiative, Segovia is one of the veterans, partly because of its close ties to its Jewish past.

Survivor Rhoda Henelde, who was born in Warsaw during the invasion of Poland by the Nazi army, has recognized that it is very hard for her to relive her childhood over and over but, in her opinion, acts like this “are an obligation for the People do not forget it “.

Henelde has assured that it has taken “all these years” to overcome these events that marked his life and although he has said that she was not in concentration camps or extermination, his family did not suffer the same fate.

“The important thing is to assume it to transmit it and move forward now that the situation has changed,” he has condemned.

The deputy secretary of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, Elías Cohen, has transmitted during his speech the need to “remember to avoid mistakes in the future and to educate from childhood.”

He also emphasized that these events that occurred in the heart of Europe only 70 years ago represent “a crime unique in history by its methods, its figures, the machinery of death they used and above all for the purpose of eliminating A collective for the mere fact of being “.

David Hatchwell:”Anti-Semitism springs in Spain from a radical left wing”

david-hatchwellDavid Hatchwell, president of the Jewish community in Madrid delivered a hard-hitting, direct speech, which left the representatives of the municipal executive behind.

David Hatchwell, president of the Jewish community in Madrid:
“Authorities, dear friends,
Nobel laureate Eliezer Wiesel, in his work Night, tried to explain the extent of the annihilating zeal of the Nazi machinery by saying: “The war that Hitler and his accomplices carried out was not only against the Jews – men, women and children – but also against the Jewish religion, against the Jewish tradition and, therefore, against the Jewish memory “.
Today, 72 years after the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camps, we remember and honor the more than 6 million Jewish people massacred. Among the victims, we remember today more than a million and a half children, kidnapped and killed for the simple fact of being Jewish children. Our memory should always include the hundreds of thousands of gypsies, homosexuals, disabled people and political dissidents, including the Spanish republicans. All of them, our brothers in suffering.
This terrible crime perpetrated for seven long years in the heart of a supposedly civilized Europe occurred in the light of day and under the silent gaze of the West.
Today, the just few among nations and countries like Denmark, Albania, Bulgaria or Finland deserve to be remembered, who made extraordinary efforts to protect their Jewish communities. We must remember all these allied nations, who sacrificed their youth to overthrow the beast of the Third Reich.
Our duty of memory requires us all to remember the greatest crime that has happened in the history of all mankind. Remembering the shoa is to work on the humanization of the human being. We must educate about the importance of freedom, transparency, independence of justice and respect for the difference of the other. We believed that with the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, Europe and the rest of the world would have been freed from anti-Semitism. It is not like this. Unfortunately the lesson has not been learned. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Arab countries today are still intoxicated by antisemitism rooted in everything Jewish and, of course, the only Jewish State, the State of Israel.
Also, in the last years, we are living in the western world and especially in Spain, a despicable wave of campaigns inciting to boycott to Israel, the Jew between the nations. These boycott campaigns, such as the BDS, are disguised as humanitarian political speeches of alleged propalestine support, but they are nothing more than new forms of anti-Semitism. Let us not confuse ourselves, behind them is the same ideology of hatred that only 80 years ago wanted to exclude the Jews from the face of the earth. Modern anti-Zionism is the acceptable anti-Semitism of the Europe of old, that double standard that applies to the Jews and to Israel is good proof of it.
The anti-Semitism that springs from social networks, social gatherings and extreme right-wing speeches, and above all from a radical, ignorant left, is not only a problem of the Jews, it is the metric of the pathology of intolerance in a Society, is a warning sign against racism, xenophobia, homophobia, discrimination and hatred of the different. Today, too, I would like to denounce here theocratic fanatical regimes like the Iranian, who proclaim Judeophobic hatred; Deny the shoa while threatening and preparing to commit a nuclear genocide of the same characteristics. I mean loud and clear today that it is not acceptable to ride a regime with Nazi intentions.
That hatred we also see today when the soulless of the Islamic State kidnap, rape, torture and murder other human beings in Africa, in the Middle East; Christians, animists, hosexuales and yazidíes and other minorities. Today they are suffering massive mass murders before the shameful silence of the planet.
The only way we can fight against intolerance is through the commitment of our political leaders; Through the monitoring of codes of conduct by our media; Through legal reforms to be able to act effectively against the incitement to hatred as well as the banalization and denial of the shoa; Through a better understanding of the shoa and its universal meaning through greater inclusion in educational programs. And also through a greater knowledge of the Jewish legacy in Spain as well as of the reality of the modern Jews of the State of Israel.

Also, in the last years, we are living in the western world and especially in Spain, a despicable wave of campaigns inciting to boycott to Israel, the Jew between the nations. These boycott campaigns, such as the BDS, are disguised as humanitarian political speeches of alleged propalestine support, but they are nothing more than new forms of anti-Semitism. Let us not confuse ourselves, behind them is the same ideology of hatred that only 80 years ago wanted to exclude the Jews from the face of the earth. Modern anti-Zionism is the acceptable anti-Semitism of the Europe of old, that double standard that applies to the Jews and to Israel is good proof of it.
The anti-Semitism that springs from social networks, social gatherings and extreme right-wing speeches, and above all from a radical, ignorant left, is not only a problem of the Jews, it is the metric of the pathology of intolerance in a Society, is a warning sign against racism, xenophobia, homophobia, discrimination and hatred of the different. Today, too, I would like to denounce here theocratic fanatical regimes like the Iranian, who proclaim Judeophobic hatred; Deny the shoa while threatening and preparing to commit a nuclear genocide of the same characteristics. I mean loud and clear today that it is not acceptable to ride a regime with Nazi intentions.
That hatred we also see today when the soulless of the Islamic State kidnap, rape, torture and murder other human beings in Africa, in the Middle East; Christians, animists, homosexuals and yazidis and other minorities. Today they are suffering massive mass murders before the shameful silence of the planet.
The only way we can fight against intolerance is through the commitment of our political leaders; Through the monitoring of codes of conduct by our media; Through legal reforms to be able to act effectively against the incitement to hatred as well as the banalization and denial of the shoa; Through a better understanding of the shoa and its universal meaning through greater inclusion in educational programs. And also through a greater knowledge of the Jewish legacy in Spain as well as of the reality of the modern Jews of the State of Israel.
The Jews of Madrid will continue to make efforts to get to know us better and for Madrid to remain an example of exemplary coexistence based on respect for the other, where we are never indifferent to suffering.
Thank you very much”.

http://tv.libertaddigital.com/videos/2017-01-27/david-hatchwell-el-antisemitismo-brota-en-espana-de-una-izquierda-radical-6059602.html

Ceuta(Spain) and the Shoah Remembrance

Ángel Sanz Briz, Chiune Sugihara, Irena Sendler, Giorgio Perlasca, Aristides de Sousa Mendes and Gino Bartali. Names that, a priori, are not too well known but had a huge impact for the millions of Jews who were persecuted during World War II.

That is why last Friday Jan 27th on the International Day of Victims of the Holocaust, the Jewish Community of Ceuta wanted to remember the admirable work of those “anonymous heroes” who risked their lives so that others did not lose it. For most, what was done during those times of barbarism, represented the most important of their lives. But they did not pursue fame or recognition, only to help those victims of Nazi horror have a chance.

This was highlighted by Alberto Aflalo, a member of the Isralieta Community, and charged with reading the manifesto of homage to those victims. He did it during the emotional, simple, event held in the Plaza de la Constitución and which was attended by the accidental president of the City, Mabel Deu, the government delegate, Nicolas Fernandez Cucurull, or the senators by Ceuta Guillermo Martinez And Fatima Hamed.

Aflalo referred to the sadness of commemorating a day as the International Day of the Holocaust Victims. Mention the millions of people trapped in concentration camps simply because of their status, religion or gender. A map of more than 42,000 extermination camps along virtually the entire European continent.

Figures that speak for themselves and that, nevertheless, it is necessary not to let it fall into oblivion to try to avoid that something like this can happen again.

Asturias(Spain) remembers the Shoa

judios-asturiasCandles and a concert to inaugurate in the Campo San Francisco the monument to the Jewish victims, next Sunday

The Jewish Community of the Principality of Asturias will inaugurate next Sunday at noon a new monument in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, after having to remove the one that was in the Winter park, destroyed by the acts of vandalism. It will be a monolith of four thousand five hundred kilos, from the Quarry of Arlós, and now it will rise in Campo San Francisco. At its opening there will be candles, prayers and a concert.
“It is a broad stone, narrower on top, uncut to convey the brutality of the Holocaust, which is an act that is beyond the understanding of the people, without any rational explanation, in which six million Jews were killed “Explains Oceransky. Now, he emphasizes, that monument in memory of the extermination will be present in the center of Oviedo and in its park more visited.


The monument, according to the spokeswoman of the Sephardic community of Oviedo, Aida Oceransky, has been funded with financial contributions from the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, the European Federation of Progressive Jewish Communities, families from the community and people related to it.
Its inauguration is attended by representatives of the Principality, the Oviedo City Council, the Government Delegate and representatives of Israeli communities throughout the country. During the act six candles will be lit, to honor the victims, and upon finishing Hadasa Ramel, will play the violin “Praeludium and Allegro in the style of Pugnani”.
On January 27, the Jewish community organizes an event in the Auditorium, which will involve 978 students from high school and baccalaureate of all Asturias.

Bulgaria and the Shoa in the Sephardic Museum of Toledo(Spain)

shoa-yadvashemThe Sephardic Museum of Toledo hosts until next Monday, January 30, the documentary exhibition “The power of civil society during the Holocaust: the case of Bulgaria 1940-1944”, an exhibition that was created on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Salvation of the Bulgarian Jews during World War II and was first presented in November 2009.

It has panels, facsimiles, photographs and text representing the development of events on the international scene throughout the years 1940-1943, the repercussion of events in Bulgaria, as well as the attitude of the authorities and the response Of the Bulgarian society, according to the Sefardi Museum reported Wednesday in a press release.

The exhibition, which can be visited until 30 January, was created on the occasion of the Holocaust Memorial Day –27 January – and between 2009 and 2015 has been presented in several cities in Europe and outside the European continent , Such as Warsaw, Prague, Copenhagen, Vilnius, Washington, New York, Toronto, Geneva, Dublin, Tel Aviv.

In Madrid

In Spain, it was possible to visit the Sefarad-Israel Center in Madrid (2013-2014), in the framework of the 15th European Jueva Cultural Day in Palma de Mallorca, at the Fundació Palma Espai d’Art – Casal Solleric ( 2014) and in the Foundation Three Cultures of the Mediterranean in Seville (2015).

The exhibition is held in collaboration with the State Institute of Culture of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria and the Center for Jewish Studies of the University of Sofia San Clemente de Ojrid; Features the graphic design of Orlín Atanasov and has been translated by Slavka Savova and Stoyan Mihaylov.

Segovia remembers the victims of the holocaust

On January 27th, the United Nations General Assembly designated the International Day of Remembrance in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust and the Prevention of Crimes against Humanity and by the European Union as the European Day of Holocaust Remembrance . On this date the commemoration of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp (Poland) by the Soviet troops; A place that represents the horrors of persecution and extermination, where a million and a half Jews, Roma, Poles, Russians and prisoners of various nationalities were murdered.

Segovia, for the fourth consecutive year, will join this tribute. The Tourism and Culture areas of the City Council have organized on Thursday 27 January at 19:00 hours, an event in the Alhóndiga in which 6 candles will be lit in memory of the different groups most directly persecuted (Jews, disabled, Spanish Republicans , Gypsies, homosexuals …).

The act-homage will go together with the mayor, Clara Luquero, the councilors of Historical Heritage and Tourism, Claudia de Santos, and Culture, Marifé Santiago. Also attending will be Elías Cohen, Deputy Secretary of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain; Uriel Macias, press chief of the Israeli Embassy in Spain; Miguel de Lucas, General Director of Centro Sefarad-Israel and Rhoda Henelde Abecassi, survivor of the Holocaust.

Rhoda Henelde Abecasis was born in Warsaw in the days of the invasion of Poland by the German Nazi army. Licensed in English Literature and Romance, she lives in Madrid and currently, as main activity, translates Yiddish literature into Spanish. In her testimony she will relate how she was saved, but especially what became of her and of the other survivors at the end of the war.

After lighting the candles, Marifé Santiago will read a fragment of his novel ‘La canción de Ruth’ and will hear a locution of Leon Felipe putting voice to his poem ‘Auschwitch’.

Next, the sixth elementary students of the Fray Juan de la Cruz School, accompanied by their tutor Belén Calvo Sanz and music teacher, Elena Labrador Ruiz-Medrano, will offer ‘Flowers between wire of hawthorn’. A composition of photos of children’s drawings, most of them Terezín, with fragments of Jewish children’s diaries. The photos will be projected while the students dramatize the quotes from the allusive diaries and interpret four musical pieces with viola, guitar and dulzaina. They will recite two final poems and distribute flowers and bookmarks.

The act will end with a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.