Thousands of children in Portugal visit Holocaust Museum on Yom Hashoah

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“The Holocaust must never be forgotten, especially at a time when antisemitism is resurgent in many countries around the world,” Israeli Ambassador Dor Shapira stated.

On April 18, Yom Hashoah, the Jewish Community of Porto (CIP/CJP) brought thousands of Portuguese schoolchildren to the Holocaust Museum of Oporto to educate them about the horrors of the Holocaust and teach them about the program “Nunca Esquecer, em torno da memória do Holocausto” (“Never Forget, around the Memory of the Holocaust”), which was created in collaboration with the government.

 

Ambassador of Israel to the Portuguese Republic Dor Shapira launched the event by telling the youthful attendants that the future belongs to them. “The Holocaust must never be forgotten, especially at a time when antisemitism is returning with increasing vigor to many nations around the world,” he said.

The adolescents hailed from Lisbon, Amadora, Coimbra, Mondim, Penafiel, Maia, and gueda, among numerous other cities, villages, and regions.

They had the opportunity to visit a replica of the Auschwitz dormitories, a name room, a flame memorial, a cinema, a conference room, a study center, and a timeline with photographs and displays displaying actual footage of the Holocaust before, during, and after its occurrence.

“In this museum, we like to see teenagers asking how the Holocaust was possible,” said Gabriel Senderowicz, president of the Oporto Jewish Community, which constructed and oversees the museum.

The Jewish Community of Oporto, in collaboration with B’nai B’rith International and other Holocaust institutions around the globe, opened the Holocaust Museum of Oporto in 2021. It has thus far welcomed 50,000 visitors per year, the majority of whom are students.

“Unfortunately, there is a growing perception that politicians are tired of discussing the Holocaust, or when they do, they appropriate it for narrow political purposes,” Senderowicz stated. “We can see and sense that the true lessons of the Holocaust are being neglected because Jews are not obtaining the protection they require, in part because they are viewed as dominant and oppressive. We wish to alter this perception by ensuring that the next generation learns the truth about the Holocaust and its lessons, which are still relevant as antisemitism reaches its highest levels since the end of World War II.”

The Holocaust Museum of Oporto is overseen by members of the Porto Jewish Community whose parents, grandparents, and relatives perished in the Holocaust. It is part of an anti-antisemitism strategy that already includes the Jewish Museum of Porto, school excursions to the Porto Synagogue, courses for teachers, historical videos, and charity actions in collaboration with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Porto.

The museum depicts Jewish life prior to the Holocaust, Nazism, Nazi expansion in Europe, the ghettos, refugees, concentration, labor, and extermination camps, the Final Solution, death marches, liberation, the Jewish population in the post-war period, the establishment of the State of Israel, and the Righteous Among the Nations.

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