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”.
There 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.
The Jewish Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, embarks again on a battle against the Holocaust deniers. On this occasion Robert Rozett, the director of his library – the one who owns the most complete collection of the world on everything published about the genocide committed by the Nazis – has written to the Director General of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, to ask him personally to take measures That prevent the sale on their platform of books that “deny, distort and trivialize the Holocaust”, says verbatim. “I have sent an email to his personal account, a letter addressed to him to the company’s mailing address in Seattle and also an email through Amazon customer service, to be sure that our request reaches His destiny, “Rozett admits in conversation with EL PAÍS.
They have not made a list of titles to withdraw – they will do later, they confess – but they have offered their help to the North American online sales giant to identify the publications to be withdrawn and have included in the missive three concrete examples that they would like Amazon to leave To sell immediately on their different websites: Richard Harwood’s well-known book Did six million really died ?, which calls into question that six million people actually died in the concentration camps of Hitler’s Germany during World War II ; The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The case against the presumed extermination of European jewry, written by Arthur R. Butz, who maintains that the mass extermination in Auschwitz did not occur and for that reason the allies could not have knowledge of him and by The Leuchter Reports: Critical Edition by Fred A. Leuchter and others, commonly known as the Leuchter Report and conceived to call into question the existence of gas chambers in Nazi concentration camps.
Years ago, when the American company began to take off, Yad Vashem already contacted the company’s management to ask them not to be complicit in the distribution of books that “foment hatred and feed anti-Semitism,” says Rozett, but The firm shielded itself in freedom of expression so as not to withdraw them.
In some countries, such as Germany – where Holocaust denial is a crime – Amazon does not distribute those books. Nor does it in its subsidiaries in Spain, Italy or France but in the United States and the United Kingdom where, for Rozett, there is also a border between legal and correct that should not be passed, although denying genocide Jewish, is not classified as illegal. “It may be legal, but it is not right or is it right to profit from material that encourages hatred? Should you make money at any price? “Asks the director of the Library of Yad Vashem who, like Amazon, defend the sale of such publications for the sake of freedom ..
Therefore, the director of the Library of the Holocaust Museum assures that, even if they do not receive a response from Amazon, they will not cease their efforts to withdraw from the market all those publications that question the organized and large-scale extermination committed by the Nazis. “Especially now that we’re seeing how in the last two weeks there’s a surge in violence against Jews in the United States,” Rozett says.
It refers to the false bomb threats received in February by at least 11 American Jewish centers and the desecration of a Jewish cemetery last week in the suburbs of St. Louis and in the reconstruction of which Muslim activists are also collaborating Defend multi-religious coexistence.
The excavations at the site of La Mota, the interpretation center of Jewish culture on the Camino de Santiago and the proposal to design a Sephardic cultural itinerary in the province of Burgos are the three major initiatives in which Castrillo Mota works Jews, and that tomorrow Monday will present to the Spanish Jewish community in an act organized by Center Sefarad-Israel. The objective is not only to publicize the projects, but also to gather the necessary support to develop them.
The Mayor, Lorenzo Rodriguez, recalled that the Jewish community in Spain is very “deluded” by the proposals of the Burgos municipality, since they mean recovering the past of the Jewish people in Burgos. “We have taken the projects very seriously,” as Ángel Palomino, director of the archaeological site research and value project, and Gonzalo Villarreal, architect in charge of the Sephardic memory center, demonstrates.
The center of the Sephardic memory would require an investment of around 500,000 euros
Both will be in the meeting tomorrow, which will take place at the headquarters of the Sefarad-Israel Center in Madrid, from 19:00. Manuel Moratinos, responsible for historical documentation, will also be present. Castrillo Mota de Judíos wants to give a boost to its projects in 2017, so that among its objectives is to begin, at least, the works for the creation of that center of Sephardic culture on the Camino de Santiago, whose investment will be around the 500,000 euros.
The City Council already owns the home in which the center will be installed, and knows what it wants to do. Most of the intervention will focus on the façade, which will be restored. The interior will be left as it is, although it is musealized. The most important thing is to have the financial funds to start it, although Rodríguez hopes to start the rehabilitation this year, even if it is with own money of the City Council and the Cultural Association Mota de Judíos.
“We depend on external aid,” he acknowledged, so they do not leave an opening date, although the mayor acknowledges that they would like to have it running by 2019. Meanwhile, Castrillo has work to do in the archaeological site of ‘La Mota’ , Which has 80,000 square meters of land for excavation. This year will begin the third phase of the excavations, which will count on an aid of the Provincial of 20,000 euros, which the City will complete with 9,000. And the Junte is expected to collaborate as in previous years, with 30,000 euros.
In March, Rodríguez will return to Madrid to discuss the organization of a trip to New York
In this new phase will continue working in the synagogue, always following the indications of the research project of Palomino. The ultimate aim is to put into value the site where the Castrillo origin lies as a refuge for the Jews expelled from Castrojeriz. The latest initiative to be presented to the Jewish community is the project to create a Sephardic cultural itinerary in the province, which is still in its infancy, but which would be willing to collaborate around fifteen municipalities.
Travel to New York
The presentation will also serve to raise economic support, and to advance in the trip to New York that is being scheduled for upcoming dates. Lorenzo Rodriguez explained that in March they will have a specific meeting at the Sefarad-Israel Center to address this issue, but it is intended to be able to travel to the United States to present the Jewish Castrillo Mota initiatives to the American Jewish community. There would be a delegation led by the mayor, the architect and the archaeologist, in addition to the Sefarad-Israel Center.
The municipality wants to become an international benchmark for Jews, so this year, they will have contact with Israel. They will visit the country and, at the same time, will host a meeting with the town of Kfar Vradim, with which they twinned last year. The cultural proposals of this 2017 will be complemented by a summer course on Jewish culture and tradition, in collaboration with the Sefarad-Israel Center and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the traditional concerts, also in the summer months.
Only three months after his first official visit, Dr. Abraham Haim, president of the Council of the Sephardic Community in Jerusalem, returns to Lucena to deliver the speech Spain and the Jews: encounter, disagreement and reunion. An event, which will be attended by the manager of the Network of Jewish Quarters of Spain, Marta Puig Quixal, and which is held at the Casa de los Mora, from 20:30 on Monday, February 13.
Fran Carrasco Guijarro, advisor to the Jewish Delegation of Tourism and a hairdresser linked to Rasgo – a certification of distinction sponsored by the Spanish Jewish Network – will present Abraham Haim, who also holds a degree in History of the East Media by the University of Tel Aviv and in Language and Literature by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Carrasco pointed out that the lecturer “brings Lucena to Jerusalem in a cultural and academic way and this is very important for us to have this link because we can create very important ties, tourism and academics.”
Manuel Lara Cantizani, councilman responsible for Tourism and Culture, thanked the Popular Party, represented at the press conference by its consultant Pedro Arroyo, “its support for tourism initiatives regarding the Jewish past, which puts the City Council in contact with people Very important of world-wide level “and that they add” constantly “to this type of projects.
The socialist mayor said that in 2017, the Delegation of Tourism “has very clear that the activities are to be structured with a new objective, not only generate visits, but improve infrastructure and generate a new product, making space, new contacts and open to the Not only through the Jewish Network, but also through the Integral Plan of Tourism – recognized by the Andalusian Administration for its excellence in management – within its line linked to the Jewish world. ” He also said that “soon” will be announced an event included in the program Enrédate of the Junta de Andalucía and that will be combined with the third tasting of kosher products.
Finally, he commented that in the ordinary plenary session of this month of February will propose the reactivation of the technical table of the Jewish world to which will be invited, among others, to José Antonio García Suárez, coordinator of Your History; The official chroniclers of the city, Francisco López Salamanca and Luisfernando Palma Robles; Fran Carrasco, Mario Flores, representatives of the political groups; And the territorial delegate of Tourism, Culture and Sport in Córdoba, Francisco Alcalde Moya.
The Burgos municipality of Castrillo Mota de Judíos, which in 2015 got rid of its surname ‘matajudíos’, promotes a project to create a Sephardic cultural itinerary that makes Burgos a tourist reference for the Jewish community and values the shared history and Heritage and cultural heritage.
The province has a very extensive and interesting Jewish past, which can be a great tourist attraction, said the Mayor of Castrillo Mota de Judíos, Lorenzo Rodríguez.
In the municipality is worked to recover the settlement of La Mota, place to which the Jews expelled from the near village of Castrojeriz, origin of the town and its name.
On the other hand, in Castrojeriz remains of the synagogue and the walls remain, while Belorado stood out for its great Jewry, the same as Burgos or Miranda de Ebro.
Vestiges of the past of ancient Jewish communities are also found in Roa, Frías, Villadiego, Lerma, Aranda de Duero, Pancorbo, Pradoluengo, Medina de Pomar or Briviesca, for example.
For this reason, Lorenzo Rodríguez has proposed to these municipalities the possibility of creating a Sephardic cultural itinerary, as a “singular” tourist resource for the province of Burgos.
The aim is to become a benchmark of the international Jewish community, taking advantage of the thousands of Jews who visit Spain each year to visit prominent places in their community history.
The first meeting, of contact, was held days ago and was attended by fifteen towns, although they would be willing to join the initiative some more.
At the moment, Castrillo Mota de Judíos will be in charge of leading the project, accompanied by Castrojeriz and Pradoluengo.
The three localities will attend the call for aid for tourist infrastructure of Sodebur, the Development Society of the Province of Burgos, dependent on the Diputación.
It is to get economic support to elaborate a historical and archaeological project, explained the mayor of Castrojeriz, Beatriz Francés.
The most important thing is to document the Jewish past of the province and to define the preserved cultural and patrimonial resources, as well as the archaeological remains to be recovered.
Next, the tourist itinerary will be designed, marking each one of the historical or cultural landmarks, and will be promoted among the Spanish Jewish community.
The mayor of Belorado, and provincial deputy of Culture, Luis Jorge del Barco, bets to implicate in the project to the Diputación since it is a “challenge” for the municipalities.
De Barco recalled that the Provincial Institution studied a couple of years ago to develop a similar tourism resource, although the initiative did not materialize.
Now would be a good time to recover it, since the proposal of Castrillo Mota of Jews “is very exciting and accurate.”
Since the change of name in 2015, the town has strengthened ties with the international Jewish community and receives numerous visitors, who would be interested in knowing more about the Jewish past of Burgos.
Rodríguez has insisted that the province must recover its history shared with the Jewish people and put into value the inherited patrimonial and cultural wealth.
On February 14, 1349, the St. Valentine Massacre takes place in Strasbourg. Two thousand Jews were burned alive accused of spreading the plague.
It is well known that Jews have always been persecuted in the history of mankind. They have been blamed for the great misfortunes, besides being considered usurers, murderers of children and even antichrists.
Such was the case of the Black Death, which peaked between 1347 and 1353. It is estimated that the Great Death (as it was known before the 19th century) killed 60% of Europeans.
The answer you gave to this deadly epidemic? They accused the Jews of poisoning fountains and wells for the sole purpose of exterminating Christians. The evidence was found in the false confession under torture of a Jew named Agimet in 1348, who acknowledged having thrown a poison into the well from which the people were supplied, under the command of Rabbi Peyret.
This motive was sufficient to begin the persecution towards the Jews, who were exposed to all sorts of barbarities.
And so, on February 14, 1349, two thousand Jews were taken to the cemetery of the French city of Strasbourg, where they were burned on a wooden platform, in addition to imposing a law that forbade to tread that land for 100 years to Jews who They got rid of the murder.
The persecution spread throughout Europe, to the point that in Spain, any Christian was forbidden to associate with any Jew, whom they imprisoned, exterminated and expelled from all parts of the continent.