Melilla: ‘Tetuan striped’, the exhibition about Atletico Tetuan goes to the Autonomous City After passing through Madrid and Tel Aviv, “Tetuan striped” returns to North Africa.

atletico de tetuanThis time the expo is enriched with a panel dedicated to football in Melilla and the inaugural event will feature the intervention of former footballer Antonio Potous.

While the city of Tetuán was part of the Spanish protectorate of Morocco (from 1912 to 1956), Atletico Tetuán became a member of the Primera División of Spanish football, specifically in the 1951-52 season. Atlético Tetuan, who also had a basketball section, played for six years in the second Spanish Division and five more in the Third. Today, in Tetuan there is still a great passion for Spanish football and a very strong sentimental nexus with Atletico Madrid.   Atlético Tetuán was, in the image of the Maghreb city, an example of coexistence between cultures. Muslims, Jews, Christians, shared the fervor for their colors. In order to narrate its history and recreate the spirit of Tetuán and his team, Asociación Los 50 has created a pleasant exhibition that is composed of illustrations, texts, and period objects. International players, shield, colors, stadium, historical milestones, anecdotes, can be seen in an initiative in which also collaborate Government of the Autonomous City of Melilla and Center Sefarad-Israel.   After passing through Madrid and Tel Aviv, “Tetuan striped” returns to North Africa. This time the expo is enriched with a panel dedicated to football in Melilla and the inaugural event will feature the intervention of former footballer Antonio Potous: born in Tetuán, he played in the Rayo Vallecano loaned by Atletico Madrid, and was a precursor The best handball team in Melilla as well as other sports.   Club Marítimo de Melilla April 7 through April 30, 2017 (Inauguration: April 7 at 8 pm).

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.

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.