The 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 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”.
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.
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.”
The 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 depressive Madrid of the first 40 was also a Madrid of secrets and intrigues, spies with monocle and clandestine activities. Under its privileged geographical situation, holding the interests of Nazis and allies, stories of alternative diplomacy are hidden; Double side of the exclusive Embassy. This confectionery of the Paseo de la Castellana, which brought together aristocrats, ambassadors and intelligence agents around tea, pastries and surveillance, closed its doors 86 years later.
The distinguished and exclusive British appearance of the place, founded in 1931, colored the city’s leaden landscape. It was the obsession of Margarita Kearney Taylor, owner of the same, who from the beginning tried to turn the area into an approximation of the elegant neighborhoods of London, such as Mayfair or Belgravia. Then, with the outbreak of World War II, he strove to give refuge and departure to those fleeing from the German Gestapo and SS.
The confectionery, also converted into a restaurant, was named “Embassy” because of its proximity to several embassies, especially the British and German embassies, the latter located a few steps away, next to the “Friedenskirche” IBM building. Their interests converged on the exclusive premises, witnessing a tense and superficial calm.
The Nazi deployment, led by Paul Winzer, head of the Gestapo, and Hans Lazar, head of propaganda in Spain, increased control and pressure in the area with the connivance of Francisco Franco. Germany, in this sense, even came up with an invasion to satisfy its strategic pretensions in the conflict. Kearney Taylor, along with the British ambassador Sir Samuel Hoare, turned his place into a refuge to alleviate the persecution suffered by anyone who was against the interests of the Nazis.
Embassy’s basement, which housed an oven for confectionery cakes, housed thousands of undocumented immigrants who received food, attention, and some money. It is estimated that the British embassy spent more than 1,000 pounds a day to undertake such an undertaking, which was eventually interrupted by several closures of the premises. Marguerite’s mood, Irish of elegant but firm appearance, did not waver.
Regarding the Jews, Embassy was constituted as their salvation and opportunity of flight. Franco never undertook a policy of persecution against them, but anyone who entered illegally into Spain was subject to arrest and deportation. About 30,000 people were evacuated, despite the harassment of the German embassy.
Versionada y dirigida por Laila Ripoll estará en cartel hasta el próximo 26 de marzo.
El Teatro de la Comedia de Madrid acoge hasta el 26 de marzo, el drama político ‘La judía de Toledo’ de Lope de Vega, versionada y dirigida por Laila Ripoll.
El espectáculo se representa con motivo del 25 aniversario de Micomicón Teatro, que coproduce la obra junto a la Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico.
El texto de Lope de Vega, que este año cumple su 400 aniversario, es, según Laila Ripoll, un drama político donde los hombres de poder se comportan de manera reconocible en muchas actitudes que se pueden ver hoy, algo que “interesa” e “inquieta” a la directora.
Dónde.- Teatro de la Comedia (Calle Príncipe, 14 – Madrid)
‘The Jewess of Toledo’ at the Teatro de la Comedia in Madrid
Versioned and directed by Laila Ripoll will be on line until next March 26.
The Teatro de la Comedia de Madrid hosts until March 26, the political drama ‘The Jewel of Toledo’ by Lope de Vega, versioned and directed by Laila Ripoll.
The show is represented on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Micomicón Teatro, which co-produces the work together with the National Company of Classical Theater.
The text of Lope de Vega, which this year marks its 400th anniversary, is, according to Laila Ripoll, a political drama where men of power behave in a recognizable way in many attitudes that can be seen today, something that “interests” and ” Worries “the director.
Where.- Teatro de la Comedia (Calle Príncipe, 14 – Madrid)
Casa Sefarad-Israel hosted an event organized by the Association of Friends of Israel. The event was attended by personalities such as Israel’s Ambassador for Spain and Andorra, Daniel Kutner; The Secretary of State for the Middle East, Manuel Gómez-Acebo or the mayor of Jaén, Javier Márquez.
It was an attempt to give an account of the work done during the last year and to present two more associations. The event was enlivened by the musical intervention of Dani Toledano, Víctor Monge and José Antonio Cano “Chiki”. Juan de la Torre and Eva Garcia-Ron, co-founders of the Association of Friends of Israel in Spain, presented the participants, after reviewing the activities they have organized throughout 2016. Juan de la Torre thanked the newspaper LA RAZON the possibility that they have been given to publish in our blogs.
The first association presented to the two hundred people who filled the halls was the Andalucía-Israel Friendship Association. A long run that was run by its president, Erik Domínguez, deputy mayor of the municipality of Guarromán, and the councilman of the city of Seville, Rafael Belmonte. His aim, he said, is “to foster relations between Andalusia and Israel, to value the Jewish legacy in Andalusia, to combat anti-Semitism and Judeophobia and to honor the memory of the Shoa,” said Domínguez, who also pointed out that Andalusia and Israel “Share their love of culture.” In addition, Domínguez wanted to make clear that the BDS association, which advocates a boycott of Israel and its products and companies, can not be accepted by any public administration, since the Spanish Constitution “does not discriminate on grounds of origin.”
The Israel-Spain friendship, like an old and large leafy tree
For his part, the president of the Basque Association of Friends of Israel (AVAI ILEE), Jon Gotzon Laburu, toured the history of the friendship between the Basque Country and Israel and initiatives that have been carried out, such as calling To a “Plaza Sefarad” square, as well as having a souvenir for those “Basque heroes who helped save Jews”, in whose memory there is even a commemorative plaque in the port of Haifa.
“Putting a flag of Israel in an act in the Basque Country is not easy,” he explained to the audience, who interrupted this degree in Information Sciences and a master’s degree in Business and Communication Management on numerous occasions.
The Israel-Spain friendship, like an old and large leafy tree
The Secretary of State for the Middle East, Manuel Gómez-Acebo, affirmed that “the relationship between Spain and Israel is not only the relationship between two governments, but that it is between societies” and called them “rich and varied”. He also pointed out that “they are sometimes overshadowed by the more political aspect of the matter”. For Gómez-Acebo “there is still much to do, especially to make themselves known to each other.” Thus, the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated that “in Spain has to shed more and more the image of Israel as a democratic country that is.” He also recalled the regional forum of foreign ministers that took place in January in Barcelona, attended by 43 countries, including Israel. “In Spain we continue working for the idea of respect for the memory of what Sefarad was,” he added.
Israeli ambassador Daniel Kutner said: “Friendship with Israel, which spreads throughout Spain, is like a large, ancient tree. It has roots that at first glance can not be seen, but it also has a trunk Strong and large and small branches. It is a tree to be taken care of, to provide water and fertilizers. “