Commemoration of Yom Hashoa in Madrid

YOM HASHOA 2017 MADRIDThe emotional act was celebrated before the Holocaust Memorial, which was erected 10 years ago by the architect Alberto Stisin and the author of the work Samuel Nahon, representing the will to defend freedom and human rights.

The installation of the laurel wreath by the Deputy Mayor of Madrid, Marta Higueras, Daniel Kutner, Israeli Ambassador and Eva Benatar, a relative of the survivor of the Shoah, began the ceremony accompanied by the choir singing of the CJM.

Then the children of the Talmud Torah (Jewish school) have read in Spanish and Hebrew the poem ‘Every man has a name’, which appeals to the honor of the dignity of the Jewish people in the Holocaust and has continued to read testimonies Of Jews who lived the years of repression.

In the presence of councilors, government delegates, presidents of Jewish organizations, Holocaust survivors and members of the Jewish Community of Madrid, Raphael Benatar, Secretary and Spokesperson of the Jewish Community, stated that “Nazism was the closest thing to Nightmare that we can try to imagine as hell on earth, so, despite the passage of time we have an obligation to remember never to forget.

He also stressed that “the Jewish community will continue to stand firm against anti-Semitism, but faithful to the values ​​that our heroes, the survivors have left us: love, unity, work, study, memory and above all a bit of resentment and vengeance” .

Isaac Revaah, a survivor of the Holocaust, and saved by the hero Sebastián Romero Radigales, Spanish Consul in Athens, was present at the event, excited to remember the hundreds of millions who lost their lives 74 years ago.

After the reading of the prayer Malé Rajamim (Lord Merciful) on the part of the Great Rabbi of Spain Moshe Bendahan, and after keeping a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the tragedy, the act finished with the intervention of young people of the Center Ibn Gabirol and the interpretation of the theme “Elí Elí” by the choir.

The Israeli consul recalls the struggle of the Jews in Catalonia for freedom

The Fossar de la Pedrera has become the scene this morning of an act of remembrance of the struggle of the Jews in Catalonia for freedom. The ceremony has been convened by four entities: the Jewish Community Atid, Chabad Lubavitch, the Progressive Jewish Community Bet Shalom and the Israeli Community. The act was carried out just in front of the monument at the entrance of the cemetery which consists of ten stones; One for each Nazi concentration camp.

The Israeli consul in Barcelona, ​​José Antonio Sánchez Molina, was in charge of pronouncing the speech of the memorial. He recalled that today’s meeting was a reminder of “the struggle for freedom and the right to be different,” and against racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism. “In this trench lies 4,000 people persecuted by the dictatorship, and also the bodies of 7,000 Jews who came to Barcelona to fight for their freedom and for the Republic,” said Sánchez Molina.

The consul explained that the survivors of the Shoah (the Hebrew term for the Nazi Holocaust) were among the founders of the State of Israel, “a state of law where very different religions coexist and where all kinds of orientations are respected, From Jews to Muslims to Christians. Sánchez Molina recalled that Tel Aviv is the only gay friendly city in the Middle East, and that Israel is a consolidated democracy. The event has been supported by ACAI and Israel in Catalonia.

The act has served to recall the Holocaust and the six million murders, among which 1 million and a half were children. He has also used to explain the large number of concentration camps during the genocide, not only those of Jews, also those who imprison people for being homosexual or disabled. He ended up assuring that they will never stop denouncing this cause with the best weapon of all: the word. In a veiled allusion to the motion approved by the Barcelona City Council endorsing the boycott in Israel, the consul has indicated that “today we find a resurgence of anti-Semitism, but it has new forms, it is polyhedral.” “Now it’s anti-Zionism, a boycott of Israel, but do not deceive yourself, it’s anti-Semitism, it’s the same thing, they’ll find us with the weapons of speech, negotiation and dialogue to deal with this offensive,” he added. The consul has asked that it not become “the victims in executioners, and the executioners in victims”.

Spain aided to thousands of Jews to save their lives

ESPANA-AYUDO-JUDIOS-CLANDESTINA-MELILLA_EDIIMA20170409_0114_4There was a few years ago, when the clandestine passage to the land promised through Melilla was consented by Spain, instead of curbing it with a fence, because then what it was about was to help those fleeing from neighboring Morocco : An exodus of at least 5,000 Jews.

A story that until recently was almost unknown even in Melilla itself, as told to Efe the president of the Socio-Cultural Association “Mem Guímel”, Mordejay Guahnich, and the historian who coordinates the Sephardic Project in Melilla (Sefamel), Maria Elena Fernández.

Spain allowed some 250,000 Jews to flee clandestinely from Morocco through Ceuta and Melilla in the middle of the last century.

“Something we have uncovered now to make it known” in Melilla, explains the president of this association on Sephardic Jewish culture.

The regime of Franco was little friend of the newly created State of Israel, but also did not see anything well to Morocco after its independence of Spain and France, reason why it did not persecute these Jews, whom in Ceuta they were even applauded to them when they arrived .

But in Melilla, the other Spanish city in North Africa, “it was a very quiet step” and not even the Jews of the city “knew they had arrived,” explains Mordejay Guahnich.

“That clandestine passage for Melilla was totally secret”, he emphasizes.

The Moroccan Jews arrived at night and on the following day departed for Gibraltar, by boat mainly, from there to continue their journey to Marseilles (France) and finally to the Israeli port of Haifa.

The dates of that exodus and the names of its protagonists are recorded in military archives in Melilla, where “Mem Guímel” has been working, looking at about a hundred declassified documents, although now many have been re-classified.

Through them he has discovered that there were at least 5,000 who passed through the city.

The documents themselves, although detailing names and dates, qualify this step of clandestine, underlines Fernandez.

The historian remembers that as now with the subsahariana immigration on the fence, also then “the pressure was very much” in the border.

Only at that time there was a kind of “tacit agreement” and instead of impeding the passage, the security forces allowed.

“Possibly we did not bother because they were not going to stay here,” he says, and even in those documents there are testimonies of thanking the support of the Civil Guard.

At the beginning, around 1955, Morocco let them leave with a passport, but then realizes that it is losing a lot of people and decides to cut off that migratory flow “of people who went on vacation and did not return”, comments the researcher.

He stops giving passports and it is the Mosad, one of the Israeli secret services, that comes to the rescue of the Hebrews who want to leave at all costs.

They left behind pots on the fire, pretending that they had not left their houses, but in fact they had left alone with what was left in a suitcase.

Other families were divided not to leave all together and not to raise suspicions.

They arrived in groups of 30 to 40 from Casablanca, Tangier or Fez the majority, traveling hundreds of kilometers in buses that left them near Melilla “with great danger, because to be in those moments stopped in Morocco it was equivalent to him to spend several years of jail” , Reveals the historian.

They said they came to weddings, religious holidays or to visit relatives, in a drip that from 1956 to 1962 saw at least 5,000 per Melilla.

“In Melilla there were none left, they spent 24 hours sparingly,” in Fernandez’s words, because their goal was Israel, although afterwards life would take them to some even to America.

“Mem Guímel” has contacted them in Israel, but others have found them in Panama, Venezuela or Argentina.

A misfortune had to come, the tragic sinking of Price in 1961, one of the ships fleeing from Melilla, to break the news of this irregular immigration and unleash the wrath of Morocco, with the consequent conflict with Spain for consenting to it .

The Price is still not clear and that is why Semafel is still investigating his story, as well as the thousands of Jews who once had a pleasant step in Melilla to their dreams.

Segovia: The exhibition ‘The Power of Civil Society during the Holocaust: Bulgaria / 1940-1944 /’

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.

Was there a Jewish Quarter in Madrid?

Resultado de imagen de juderia madrid
1. First Jewish Quarter(until 1391) 2. Second Jewish Quarter(1480-1492)  4.Arab Nighborhood(1085-1502)  5. New Arab Nighborhhod(mid XIV cent-1502)

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.

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Incredible speech in UN: “Where are your Jews?”

Israel-and-UN“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.

At least 25%of Spanish citizens have Jewish origin

mario-saban1
Mario Sabán.

“I am often asked if you can be Jewish in Spain. Of course, yes, without any difficulty.” This is expressed by Mario Javier Sabán, PhD in Philosophy and Anthropology and president of the Jewish cultural network Tarbut Sefarad, founded in Lleida, where he lives. He was born in Buenos Aires in 1966, but is nationalized Spanish. He is a Sephardic, a descendant of the Hebrews expelled in 1492. “My father was born in Smyrna, Turkey, there were 80,000 Jews and they all left.

How many Jews are there in Spain?
Today there will be about 30,000 but it is very difficult to calculate how many are descendants. There are no Spaniards without Jewish origins, almost all have some. At least about 25 percent, 10 million.
According to his calculations, how many Jews had to go in 1492?
The figures vary between 120,000 and 200,000. How many were there? Most probably became, nobody thought that the Inquisition would last 300 years, many became thinking that the policy would change. There were even Juderia where all became Christians. And it was not the first time. Those of 1492 increased the ranks of those who had already done so in 1391 and 1412. Perhaps there were 120,000 converts. In all, there would be half a million Jews, but the whole truth escapes us.
Many concealed their origins.
Yes, for fear of the Inquisition. Blood cleaning certificates were purchased. We know that in Toledo and Burgos were 40 percent of the population: the more Catholic a population, the more suspicious that there are converts because families tried to hide their origins. The parents of Teresa de Jesús or the mother of Fray Luis de León were Hebrews. In century XVI is given with the grandchildren of the conversos the last cultural element Jewish. Cervantes himself would have a Jewish imprint, but then who did not? The footprint is very large and now it is well valued.
Do you think there are still negative connotations?
No, I have never felt antisemitism in Spain, there are unintended phrases like ‘Judaized’, like ‘Sadduca trap’ or ‘You are a Pharisee’, but who says it does so without perceiving its meaning. The problem is ignorance: rather than negative predisposition, there are anti-Israel media, with negative information that affects the Jewish subject.
Is there hate and love between Spain and the Jews?
I think so. They often ask me out, people of Sephardic origin, if you can live as a Jew in Spain, and tell them of course, without problems. Because the memory they had is that they were expelled, but at the same time they kept the ladino, the old Castilian.
To what extent was expulsion a disaster?
I compared 1492 to an expulsion of Jewish Jews from the United States. This is what happened in Spain. They dominated finance, astronomy, cartography, philosophy, medicine in a very large cultural and economic development. In the United States Jews are less than 5 percent. In Spain they were more. It was a demographic and cultural catastrophe. There were cities that were left without doctors. It happened all over Europe, but not of this magnitude: there was less.
You are a cabalist. What is it?
It goes from the general understanding of the universe; On the one hand the Theosophical, which is equivalent to quantum physics, and studies the mystery of creation: why God created the universe and for what. As for the prophetic Kabbalah goes from the levels of consciousness and it would be psychology, what power of energy a person has and what he can grasp from reality. So on one side is the physical and on the other the individual.

Melilla: Jews thank the Government for the Sephardic Law

Melilla Premio Mem Guimel a Rafael CatalaThe Jewish community of Melilla, which has been present in the city for more than 150 years, today recognized the Spanish State for the granting of nationality to the Sephardi, from which part of their diaspora settled in North Africa when Five centuries ago they were expelled from Spain.

The Minister of Justice, Rafael Catalá, has collected in representation of the Government the Prize Mem Memímel granted by the Jewish association of the same name by the law 12 of 2015, that granted the Spanish nationality to the descendants of Jews expelled in 1942 by Kings Católicos .

In picking up the plaque recognition, Catalá stressed that this law is one of “the most important” in recent years “for its symbolic content,” as it represents “the historic restoration of a debt five centuries ago with the Jewish people And the Sephardi in particular. “

The expulsion of this community “marked negatively the history of Spain, for the loss of talent, capacity and affection” towards this town and “Spanish nationality, which should never be lost,” the minister has condemned.

For this reason, he thanked this “gesture of reunion” with Sefarad, the land that judicial tradition identifies with Spain, after receiving the award from the President of the Association Mem Guimel de Melilla, Mordejay Guahnich.

The presentation took place at the Assembly of Melilla during the visit of the minister, at a ceremony in the presence of the city’s president, Juan José Imbroda, and the government delegate, Abdelmalik El Barkani.

The event coincided with the celebration of Purim, a Jewish holiday that originated in the Book of Esther of the Bible, in memory of the salvation of the Jews of Persia from being annihilated.

The Spanish Government bets for the Hebrew-Sephardic cultural heritage

Resultado de imagen de MARTA TORRADO GRUPO POPULARhttp://www.lacerca.com/noticias/espana/grupo_popular_pide_impulsar_difusion_herencia_cultural_sefardi-353695-1.html

Culture spokeswoman Marta Torrado of the Popular Parliamentary Group on Tuesday defended a motion by her group urging the government to give impetus to projects aimed at spreading the Hebrew-Sephardic cultural heritage to highlight its legacy as a part Indispensable of our identity.

The initiative of the Popular Party, which has been approved in the Committee on Culture by a majority, without any vote against and with the abstention of the PSOE, recalls two key events of recent years. On the one hand, the reunion of the two cultures sealed by the Kings of Spain in 1992, when the V Centenary of the expulsion of the Jews was commemorated and, on the other hand, Law 12/2015, in matters of the granting of nationality Spanish to the descendants of the Jews expelled 500 years ago.

Marta Torrado has stated that “Sephardic Jews have been authentic ambassadors of our country, of Sefarad, for over five centuries, a phenomenon that is not comparable in the world” and has assured that “its dispersion led to a cultural impoverishment from Spain”.

During her speech at the Commission, the popular senator recalled that it was in the mid-nineteenth century that the most liberal and progressive sectors related the Spanish decline with pressure exerted by religious intolerance. “It was then that the expulsion of the Jews in 1492 and its harmful consequences was put as the maximum exponent of the intolerance”, it has pointed out.

He also highlighted the impact of the war in Africa and the story of the soldiers who landed on those lands, who were surprised by the cheers with which they were hailed and received as true liberators.

Torrado also wanted to put in value that it was a senator, Angel Pulido, who for the first time brought to the Upper House, in 1903, the reality of the Sephardic Jews. It also highlighted the first agreement signed with Greece in 1916, thanks to which Spain took under its protection the Sephardic of Spanish origin.

Thanks to the agreement signed between Spain and Greece, the Sephardi were treated as nationals and it was established that in the case of disputes over them or their property, it was the Spanish diplomats in the Hellenic country who lent them assistance and defense.

According to the Culture spokesperson of the GPP, this treaty was “a crucial step” because from that moment the Sephardic of Spanish origin could obtain the Spanish passport, although it did not imply the recognition of the nationality.

Finally, Marta Torrado has emphasized the role played by figures such as Sanz Briz, Romero Radigales, Ruiz de Santaella, Julio Palencia, Rolland de Miota and Eduardo Propper, who contributed to save thousands of Jews from the camps. Nazi extermination and therefore are recognized as Righteous among the Nations in the World Center for Documentation and Commemoration of the Holocaust.