An event marking the opening of the first public Holocaust education centre in Romania takes place on Sunday in the pre-war home of Nobel Prize-winning author Elie Wiesel.
The “Holocaust Cellar”, in the town of Sighet, will serve as a learning centre dedicated to the 13,000 local Holocaust victims.
It is the first in a series of events to mark 70 years since the expulsion of the last Jews of northern Transylvania to Auschwitz.
Wiesel said: “I am honoured 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.”
He added: “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, Jews in northern Transylvania, were rounded up and forced into 13 ghettos. Eventually, over 130,ooo Jews from the region were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, with most killed.
“The story of the Jews who lived in North Transylvania has not been widely told until now,” said Chaim Chesler, chairman of the Memory Committee of the Claims Conference. “We’re proud to help begin this next chapter.”