A special event marking the opening of the first public Holocaust education center in Romania will take place Sunday, May 18, in the town of Sighet, Romania. The “Holocaust Cellar” will become a new feature of the existing Holocaust museum in the pre-war home of Nobel Prize-winning author Elie Wiesel, in the old Jewish Ghetto of Sighet. The Cellar will serve as a learning center dedicated to the 13,000 local Jewish Holocaust victims.
The opening is sponsored jointly by the Government of Romania, the City of Sighet, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, the Romanian Jewish Federation and Limmud FSU.
“I am honored and deeply moved that my cherished home in Sighet has become a place Romanians and others can learn about the crimes of the Holocaust, and how the Jewish community was wiped out,” said Wiesel. “The opening of the Holocaust Cellar supports my life’s efforts to ensure that humanity never forgets the evil that took place there and throughout Europe.”
In 1944, two days after Passover, the Jews of Maramures County, in Northern Transylvania, were rounded up and forced into 13 ghettos. Eventually, 131,639 Jews from Northern Transylvania were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau; most were exterminated. Between 280,000 and 380,000Romanian and Ukrainian Jews were murdered or otherwise died during the Holocaust in Romania- a Nazi ally, and the territories under its control. An additional 135,000 Romanian Jews, living under Hungarian control in Northern Transylvania, also perished in the Holocaust, as did some 5,000 Romanian Jews in other countries.
A press conference with Wiesel will be broadcast live Sunday at 9 a.m. EST (4 p.m. in Sighet) and can be viewed at the following link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?