I remember my grandmother`s screams, when events were remembered or new details relating to our relatives or friends emerged. I find it very hard to verbally express the uncertain suffering of those screams.
Both my mother`s and father`s family are originally from Poland. When the ghettos were broken up, they were loaded onto trains and transported to the extermination camps.
I also have family members who never made it to the camps. They were shot by firing squads beforehand. These killings are tragic, but there is a gruesome detail: some of my family members were forced to dig their own graves.
Today I can only tell you the story because a lady from the same village - a witness - survived this tragedy and was then able to tell others what had happened.
Today I'm here because my grandparents and parents survived. Porto was their haven. My beloved grandparents were religious. In Poland they were born into a 3 million strong community. In Porto they found a Jewish Community with 30 people. One thousandth: 0.001%
My grandfather Srul Finkelsztein was a stand-in Rabbi of the Synagogue for decades, and my grandfather Meir Cymerman was at one time President of the Porto Jewish Community. During the war they were involved in refugee rescue to the Pyrenees.
I am sure that my grandparents would be proud to know that I am writing this story in the Portuguese Jewish News. More than that. The Holocaust Museum of Oporto has been created by the Porto Jewish Community to which they belonged and to which they dedicated great energy.
The Holocaust Museum of Oporto is one of the few Holocaust museums in the world that is run by a Jewish community. The ethical dimension is more important than the aesthetic dimension, as it is led by people who were directly affected by that catastrophe and know both its historical importance and its tremendous educational significance.
May the Holocaust Museum of Oporto contributes to keeping the memory alive, we must not forget. Amen.