On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the end of the Holy Inquisition in Portugal, a movement considered decisive for broad religious freedom in Portuguese territory, the protocol for the creation of a new museum that will tell the story of the Jews in the country has been signed.
Baptized Tikva, which means “hope” in Hebrew, the Jewish Museum will be installed in Belém, facing the Tagus.
Covering an area of almost 4,000 m2, the museum will present the nearly 2,000 of the history of Jews in Portugal, in addition to showcasing the culture and traditions of the people.
The project is signed by the American architect Daniel Libeskind, who has a long experience in the field.
Libeskind was responsible for the design of the Jewish museums in Berlin, San Francisco and Copenhagen, as well as Holocaust memorials in the Netherlands, Canada and the United States, in addition to the conversion of Ground Zero to the World Trade Center. At New York.
Work is expected to start in 2022 and open in 2024.
The protocol was signed on Wednesday (31) by the city hall (prefecture) of Lisbon and by the non-profit association Hagadá.
“It is not a museum of the Jews, but a Portuguese museum which tells a specific story: the life of the Jews in Portugal, a Jewish and Portuguese history”, explains Associação Hagadá.
The mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina, affirmed that the future space makes a “very clear political affirmation” of the defense of the values of coexistence and respect between cultures as “key element of a society”.
Although the Jewish Museum was an old town project, the location of the exhibition center was controversial. The original idea was to install it in the Alfama region, where the Jewish quarter, known as the Jewry, the oldest in the city existed.
Already deeply affected by tourism (at least in the pre-pandemic period), the inhabitants of the region have mobilized against the chosen place. Heritage associations have also reported problems. In the midst of legal proceedings, the museum was then moved to Belém, in an already free area.
According to Lisbon City Hall, where the museum was to be built, a memorial will be returned to the Jewish people.
Present in Portugal almost since its foundation, Jews have a long tradition, and a history of persecution, in the country.
One of the most violent episodes took place in central Lisbon in April 1506 during the so-called Easter Massacre. Thousands of so-called New Christians have been beaten to death.
The official installation of the Inquisition in the country in 1536 brought further persecution to the Jews.
As a historic remedy, Portugal offers the descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled from their territory the possibility of having Portuguese nationality, a decision that benefits many Brazilians.