1 Recognition of the Genocide

1.1 Recognition, official texts

Portugal officially recognised 27 January as Holocaust Remembrance Day through the adoption of a resolution by the national parliament on 27 January 2010, although the date has been observed in Portugal since 2006.

However Portugal has not officially recognised the Genocide of the Roma through law.

1.2 Data (camps locations, Remembrance places, measures etc.)

Portugal was a gateway to safety for Jews and Europeans who opposed the Nazis. The Government granted these refugees "resident" status. Portugal came under increasing diplomatic pressure from the Nazis, leading Salazar to issue more stringent immigration restrictions (late 1940). Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a Portuguese diplomat in Vichy France, ignored Government directives and issued large numbers of visas allowing Jews in France to travel to Portugal. The Portuguese Government dismissed him as a result. As the War turned against Germany, Portugal started to grant visas again. The Government cooperated in various rescue efforts. The Government granted the visas with the condition that Portugal would be a transit point and that other countries would accept them. Portugal like other neutral countries attempted to save Hungarian Jews. An estimated 100,000 Jews and other refuges fleeling the Nazi opression managed to reach safety through Portugal. All the Jews who managed to reach Portugal survived the War.

Portugal's records do not mention any Roma.

1.3 Specialised institution, commission, research centre etc., dealing with this issue

Memoshoa is the Remembrance and Teaching of the Holocaust Association. It was founded after the first seminar for Holocaust Teaching held by the International School Yad Vashem. It collects historical data but particularly focuses on developing the teaching of the Holocaust in schools. It was founded by Esther Mucznik, vice-president of the Jewish Community of Lisbon. Teaching materials offered through Yad Vashem seminars and other publications on the Holocaust can be found online. However it is focuses on the Jewish Holocaust and does not consider specifically the Genocide of the Roma.

The Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo (National Archive of the Tower of the Tomb), the Portuguese national archive, is located in Lisbon and was established in 1378. The Diplomatic Historical Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains the Ministry’s records as well as private diplomatic archives. Other relevant materials are held in the Historical Archives of the Red Cross in Portugal. The Jewish community of Lisbon also has an archive with Holocaust-related material.

1.4 Official initiatives (campaigns, actions, projects, commemoration days, museums)

Portugal observes 27th January as Holocaust Remembrance Day. The date was chosen to coincide with the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. Besides commemorating the victims of the Holocaust, the Memorial Day is intended to promote education about the Holocaust in schools, universities and other institutions, as well as in communities, and to reaffirm the values of justice and mutual understanding in order to avoid future acts of genocide. Holocaust Remembrance Day was formally established through the adoption of a resolution by the national parliament on 27th January 2010, although the date has been observed in Portugal since 2006.

Every year, a number of commemorative events are held at the Portuguese Parliament and attended by parliamentarians and government and civil society representatives. In 2012, a documentary about Portugal as a migration route and host country for victims of Nazism was screened and a condolence note for all victims of the Holocaust approved. The note paid tribute to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and other victims of racial persecution, as well as to political dissidents and members of the resistance.

In Portugal, the Roma and Sinti genocide is officially commemorated on 27th January.

2 Teaching about the Genocide of the Roma

2.1 Inclusion of the topic in the school curriculum

The study of the Holocaust is compulsory in schools and is part of the National History curriculum. It is taught at the third level of elementary education and in secondary school. Students’ knowledge of the subject is assessed at the national level. All Portuguese students in the ninth grade (ages 13 to 14) study the Holocaust. The subject is explored in greater detail in the eleventh and twelfth grades (ages 15 to 17) by those studying socioeconomics, languages and humanities. The subject of the Holocaust is also addressed in other subjects, including Portuguese studies, foreign languages and philosophy, as well as in the Education for Citizenship and Human Rights programme.

However it is unknown to what extent the Genocide of the Roma is included in the school curriculum.

2.2 Inclusion of the topic in the school textbooks

There is no information on the inclusion of the Genocide of the Roma in school textbooks.

2.3 Training of teachers and education professionals

In 2012, a conference entitled “Portugal and the Holocaust – Learning from the Past” took place in Lisbon under the patronage of the Ministry of Education and Science. In 2014, the Directorate-General for Education of the Ministry of Education and Science organized and promoted a webinar on the subject of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, titled “Learning from the Past, Teaching for the Future”. This Webinar was supported by the Memoshoá Association.

2.4 Particular activities undertaken at the level of education institutions

The students of the Vilela Secondary School developed a project called N.O.M.E.S. (Names and Looks for the Remembrance and Teaching of the Shoah). The students organized an exhibition entitled “Jews in Portugal in World War II: Memoirs of a Paradise in Times of War”.

2.5 Remembrance day

3 Official contacts and resource persons

3.1 Responsible person in the Ministry of Education

Minister of Education

Nuno Crato
Av. 5 de Outubro
107, 1069-018 Lisboa
Telephone: 217 811 800
Fax: 217 811 835
E-mail: gabinete.ministro@mec.gov.pt

3.2 Resource persons - list of experts and historians

4 Initiatives of the civil society

4.1 Relevant projects having a real impact on the people and/or the wide public

The Portuguese NGO Desincoop has participated in the making of a video about the Genocide of the Roma with the Brazilian Gypsy Embasssy (Embaixada Cigana do Brasil Phralipen Romane), starring Nicolas Ramanush president of the latter. The video “Roma Genocide – Part of European History lasts 17:48 min and is in Portuguese.

5 Point of view of the Roma community - including survivors' testimonies