A unique specimen. The Jewish Community of Oporto published a book composed solely by the minutes of Board meetings during a decade. The book will now be sent to Isaac Herzog, the President of Israel.
Entitled "A Gift for the President of Israel", the specimen "shows how a dead Jewish organization can develop in religious, cultural, social and philanthropic terms in just ten years", says Gabriel Senderowicz, the President of the Community. "The book also clearly shows the concern of the elites of Lisbon in March 2022, when they ordered the police to seize those precious documents, which in the meantime have already been returned to the Community, although they are damaged, i.e., each page is marked with the six numbers of the shame that the European Jewish population experienced catastrophically in the 1940s."
According to the Board member Deborah Elijah, "The Community was persecuted using KGB methods. Following orders, the Portuguese police seized those minutes so that they could be read by certain Lisbon elites. The life of the Community in terms of religion, culture, philanthropy and international relations was read and re-read by elites who considered that the rebirth of the Community was a national threat."
Elijah explains that "As in the Soviet Union, weak communities linked to existing powers were used to serve as propaganda, like a musical instrument, just as my father was forced to play the violin in Theresienstadt concentration camp.”
In September 2022, Portugal’s Court of Appeal said that criminal indictments against the Jewish Community of Oporto were “based on nothing,” something the Oporto police had already stated in 2021. However, Senderowicz explains that “Police from Lisbon raided the synagogue and the Jewish museum and arrested the rabbi on the basis of anonymous denunciations that attributed to him acts of corruption by two people he does not know (one certified by the Jewish community of Lisbon, the other by the community of origin) and accusing him of corrupting registry offices he never visited. At the same time, “suitcases of cash” were searched for at the home of the Vice President (the granddaughter of the ‘Portuguese Dreyfus’), a construction company of a community collaborator was suspected of issuing certifications of Sephardi origin and an official statement from the authorities spread the news that the community was also indicted for drug trafficking.”
The Jewish Community of Oporto has already called on the European Union and other more capable organizations to investigate a case of ‘Soviet-style antisemitism’ in Portugal. According to the complaint, the case included using criminals who intended to defame the country’s strongest community, destroying Jewish leadership, halting the influx of Israeli citizens and ending the law that granted Portuguese citizenship to Jews of Portuguese origin.