It shows the development of events throughout World War II on the international scene, the impact of events in Bulgaria, the position of the authorities and the firm response of civil society.
From the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Spain, we would like to invite you to our next cultural events that will take place at the Didgotic Center of the Jewish Quarter of Segovia (C / Judería vieja, 12), next April 3 at 18.00hs.
The exhibition “The Power of Civil Society during the Holocaust: the case of Bulgaria / 1940-1944 /” is a sample that represents the development of events throughout World War II on the international scene, the repercussion of the Developments in Bulgaria, the position of the authorities and the firm response of civil society. This exhibition will be accompanied by a lecture by Mr. Marcel Israel.
Amancio Ortega, founder and largest shareholder of the Inditex group(Zara, Bersjka, Massimo Duti,…), has donated 320 million euros for the acquisition of more than 290 latest-generation cancer teams that will be installed in hospitals all over Spain.
So far, the Foundation’s program for the technological renewal of radiotherapy diagnosis and treatment of cancer in public hospitals has only been developed in Andalusia and Galicia.
When, after visiting Toledo, Cordoba or Girona, Jewish tourists arrive into Madrid, they often ask the locals where the Jewish quarter of the city was. Some respond with silence or an embarrassed “I do not know”. Others answer that in Lavapiés, the most widespread belief, but false. And is that, after centuries buried and unknown, the Jewish footprint in Madrid remains covered with a mantle of legend and mystery that historians, archaeologists and documentalists try to dismantle in recent years to a stroke of rigor.
“The reality is that even today, little is known about the Jewish past in Madrid,” says Enrique Cantera, a professor of Medieval History at UNED who specializes in medieval Judaism. What can be taken for granted? There is evidence of Jewish presence in the city at least since it was taken by the Christians in 1085. Alfonso VI had conquered just before the Muslim Toledo and from there they moved to Madrid Christians and Jews. That is why the majority of Jews from Madrid had origin in Toledo.
When they arrived, they installed themselves next to the Arab wall, in a small and poor suburb on which now rises – to the disgrace of the archaeologists – the Cathedral of the Almudena. It dictates the logic because the rest of Jewish of Castile were located physically near the royalty and, next to, was the famous Alcazar, burned down in 1734 in the space that now occupies the Royal Palace.
But, a few meters away, where the new Museum of Royal Collections stands today, the archaeologist who runs the excavations, Esther Andreu, has found three tracks of Hebrew presence. The first is a fragment of pottery with the drawing of a menorah, the Jewish seven-branched candlestick. The second, a jamb of a door, typical of Jewish homes, which serves to adhere a box with the mezuzah, a parchment with verses from the Torah. Andreu also discovered a system of closing of the houses that allowed to turn the zone into a watertight compartment and that already existed in Toledo in the zone of the sheds. “There is a medieval document that speaks of the ‘Castle of the Jews.’ We must understand that it was not a castle proper, but a place protected from the rest of the population,” Andreu says. What there are not are documents “with a description of the Jewry or the location of the synagogue”, says the director of the Archive of the Villa of Madrid, Maria del Carmen Cayetano.
The archaeologist Esther Andreu, before the Cathedral of the Almudena.
The archaeologist Esther Andreu, before the Cathedral of the Almudena. ÁLVARO GARCÍA
Were there Jews before, in the Muslim Magerit? “Without a doubt,” Rafael Gili, a professor at the Center for Documentation for the History of Madrid at the Autonomous University, was recently responding to a lecture on the Hebrew past of medieval Madrid. It seems to prove two documents from before the Christian conquest: a letter in which Simeon Ibn Saul announces to his brother the death of two Jewish friends and a missive sent from Syria to Egypt in which he asks for some known Jew in the city .
The Jews were mainly engaged in trade, finance and crafts. Its stores were located in Christian area. Very few did it to the agricultural activities (generally in the hands of Mudejar), although “some had own vineyards in the suburbs to be able to make kosher wine”, that must be elaborated by Jewish hands, explains Cantera. “There was even a trapper, but also a kind of Jewish elite, who was involved in lending and collecting taxes,” says Tomás Dilal, a doctor in Medieval History for UNED and a reference in the study of the city’s Hebrew past. They did not reach the rank of “neighbors” of the city and depended directly on the King, who protected them.
Baptized or die
All this collapsed in 1391, the year of the anti-Jewish pogrom started in Seville that left slaughters, looting and forced conversions of Jews and arrived in Madrid from the hands of enraged Toledo. They entered the Jewish quarter through the now-defunct Puerta de Valnadú, which the authorities had left open that night, and forced them to choose between being baptized or dying. There are no figures of victims or conversions, but ten years later the nuns of the convent that was erected in the Plaza de Santo Domingo (demolished at the end of the 19th century) complained to the monarch that they could not charge 3,000 maravedis of aljama Called the Jewry their own inhabitants) because the members who were still alive would have been baptized.
It was not quite like this. The Jewish community remained active in the fifteenth century. It dispersed to other places, such as Puerta Cerrada or Puerta del Sol, until in 1481 Jews and Mudejar people were forced to confine themselves in their own neighborhoods. It is estimated that there would then be more than 200 Jews in the city. Ten years later, the Catholic Kings forced them to convert to Catholicism or to leave. Some fled to Portugal, others were baptized, and not a few embraced the Christian faith in public while privately professing their true self. It was the end of the Jewish quarter. That is where the legend of Lavapiés appears. The neighborhood never hosted a Jewry because it was not built before the expulsion of the Jews. Nor is it true that the name of Lavapiés alludes to the ablutions made by the Jews before entering the synagogue in the fountain that occupied the place until the nineteenth century, especially since it is not the Jews, but the Muslims, who make a wash Ritual before entering your place of prayer. The historian Puñal believes that the extended and erroneous attribution of the Jewry to Lavapies comes from the romantic literature of century XIX, that looked for mythical origins to some districts, and the fact that enough of its inhabitants probably descended from converted Jews, as show some Trade union names.
The Port of Huelva has become the first in Spain to possess the Kosher and Halal certificate which accredits to the Jewish and Muslim communities, respectively, that it is adequate to guarantee the conditions demanded in the handling of products.
Javier Barrero, the president of the Port of Huelva, says it is a very important step. And is that the port Huelva is put at the level of others as the one of Amsterdam or Rotterdam and counts from now with the certificates that guarantee that the Jewish and Arab products will be treated correctly in the port facilities. It guarantees respect for religious rituals and opens the door to markets such as the American and the Arab world.
What about leaving the country where your family lived for fifteen centuries? Sephardic Jews had never imagined that they should leave even though it was not easy to be a Jew in Spain, everyone knew the limits to freedom and dreamed that the day would come In which they could overcome them. But an expulsion, they had never contemplated that terrible possibility.
Community leader Don Yitzhak Abarvanel fought fervently for kings to review the tragic measure without success. He tried to prove that the Jews were true Spaniards, who had come before the Christians to the Iberian peninsula and that Spain was their true home, their home.
The arguments of Abarvanel were certain, the presence of the Jews in Spain goes back to the first centuries of the common era. The epigraphic demonstration of the origins is obtained through the tombstone with trilingual inscriptions, Latin, Greek and Hebrew, of the 2nd and 3rd centuries found in Tortosa, during the Roman Empire. The tombstones abound in Jewish symbols of the time and prayers in Hebrew.
But there are other sources that relate that in the year 953, the Jews of Pumbedita, place of high Talmudic studies of Babylon, sent a letter to the Jews of Spain, that has been found in the “Guenizá”, place that are saved Texts and sacred symbols so as not to deteriorate, in which it was stated that the Jews of Babylon were aware of the existence of Jewish communities in Spain and praised their knowledge and wisdom.
Other comments tell that from even older times, some believe that it was necessary to go back to the times of King Solomon, the Jews went from the east to the extreme west known at that time. These theories are related to the trips made by the Phoenicians in the Mediterranean Sea for commercial purposes. In these periods, which even reached the port of Barcelona, the Hebrews took part in these voyages because of the excellent political and commercial relations that the kingdom of Israel had developed with the rulers of Phenicia.
The Jews who arrived in Spain in Roman times were merchants and others arrived as slaves. As soon as they settled they began to build their small communities, their eyes witnessed how the great Roman empire succumbed until the Visigoths obtained the final victory. They lived with pagan society, then with Arian Christianity, who at first accepted the Jews without major problems, but at the end of the sixth century, with the spread of Catholicism began the persecutions. It was a difficult century for the Jews, their customs and beliefs were constantly attacked and even declared illegal, many opposed with stoicism, others had to flee.
The irruption of the Muslim armies from the south in the eighth century drastically changed the situation, quickly dominated the peninsula, cornered the Visigoths in the north and did not oppose the freedom of the Jews; On the contrary, they were invited to be part of the new administration, in the conduct of cities, to enter the academic field, and to their institutions. A new world was opened for the Jews, they could freely live their lives without oppression, it was on the eve of one of the great events of humanity, the “Spanish Golden Age.”
“Where are your Jews?” This was the overwhelming question that silenced a group of Arab countries that was accusing Israel of practicing apartheid against the Palestinians. It was pronounced at the UN Human Rights Council by Hillel Neuer, director of United Nations Watch, an organization dedicated to controlling the anti-Israeli bias of the ONE.
Neuer addressed this question to the representatives of Egypt, Algeria, Iraq and Syria, who recalled the massive exodus of Jews that these countries encouraged since the creation of the state of Israel.
“Algeria had 140,000 Jews, Algeria, where are its Jews? Egypt had 75,000 Jews, Egypt, where are its Jews? Syria, you had tens of thousands of Jews, where are your Jews? Iraq, there were 135,000 Jews, Where are your Jews? “
At the end of the speaker, who had previously been interrupted by all those mentioned, a huge silence fell on the UN room in Geneva in which the act was celebrated.
The Mexican government recovered three manuscripts belonging to Luis de Carvajal and de la Cueva, one of the Spanish conquerors of Mexico, founder of the New Kingdom of Leon and the city of Monterrey, in which the person of Jewish descent narrates his life and his Faith, in the context of New Spain.
Diego Prieto, director general of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), informed at a press conference that they are three documents with which he initiates properly Jewish literature in Spanish America during the sixteenth century, which had remained outside Mexico for More than eight decades.
He said that the documents recovered thanks to the donation of the philanthropist Leonard I Milberg, will now be under the protection of the National Library of Anthropology and History; Likewise it was announced that they will be exhibited from next April 3 in the Museum of Memory and Tolerance in this city.
These are documents of great value, in particular, “Memoirs of Luis de Carvajal”, a booklet drawn on 46-page cloth paper in which the Jewish conqueror writes his story from leaving Europe to New Spain, Life of his family in Veracruz and the moments before being imprisoned by the Inquisition and sentenced to die at the stake.