A new Holocaust museum in Oporto, Portugal, has received more than 10,000 visitors in the month following their opening, averaging at 300 visitors per day, from across Portugal and Spain.
The museum has generated political and diplomatic interest further afield too, with visits from the embassies of Israel, the United States, Russia, France, Sweden, and more.
“The typical visitors to the Oporto Holocaust Museum are teenagers and ordinary citizens. There are always long queues of people waiting to get in, due to the limitation of the number of visitors established by the Portuguese health authorities. It is interesting to notice that there have already been taxi drivers who decided to visit the Museum after having brought several interested people here”, says Jacob Levi, a member of the Jewish Community of Porto, who frequents the Holocaust Museum.
Gabriela Cantergi, member of the Community Board, says that “the Holocaust museum was conceived to be part of an inter-religious, philanthropic and antisemitism project that involves courses for teachers, films about the history of the Jews in Portugal, and visits to the Jewish Museum and the Synagogue, in Oporto. However, the enormous dimension it has taken on in such a short time has made it an autonomous facility already adopted by the Portuguese society.”
The museum features talks from descendants of holocaust survivors who speak about their parents’ experiences in the Holocaust to museum visitors.
One such featured speaker is Josef Lassman, whose mother survived Auschwitz and whose father lost his entire family in the Holocaust.
“Most visitors are unaware of what happened during the Holocaust. When they tour the museum and find that they can speak directly with a child of Holocaust survivors, that is always the most moving moment of the visit,” said Lassman. “There are long, interested, very moving conversations between the visitors and myself.”
The museum is open every weekday from 2:30pm until 5:30pm, with free entry for all until June, and for visitors under 30 from then on.