The government has approved a law that regulates the attribution of Portuguese citizenship to descendants from Sephardi Jews. The ministry of Justice says that more than a historical repair, this decision is the attribution of one’s rights. Paula Teixeira da Cruz also says that this is a sign that Portugal condemns the anti-Semitism which has been witnessed throughout Europe.
I would not like to say that it is a matter of historical repair, because I understand that on this matter, there is no possibility of repairing what has been done. I would say that it is a matter of addressing one’s rights.
An unique process, an unique title and an unique tax.
We took a long time to start talking about this matter. In fact, a very long time. And therefore, I think that today is a day that we should stress. So it is of double importance the sign we are giving here. An importance naturally linked by historical reasons, unfortunately, but also a relative sign of what is happening to Jewish communities throughout Europe.
In fact, to tell Sephardi Jewish descendants who feel that are Portuguese, and who have always maintained affective bonds through generations to their ancestors’ land, that if they want to get their Portuguese citizenship, that they are very welcome to do so. It is important– We would like that this had never happened, but having already happened, we think it is positive to try and repair it.
I think that the major interest is having a certification of one’s Sephardi origins. And this law is going to allow for this certification, which is very important for families who have trouble identifying their ancestors.
It is a justice’s establishment, really, because the Portuguese Jews who left here 400, 500 years ago, in their vast majority, did not leave at their own will.
They left because they were being persecuted.
In memory of the thousands of Jews who were victims of intolerance and religious fanaticism, murdered on the massacre which took place in this square, in April 19th, 1506.