Portugal approves annual day to commemorate historic Inquisition of Jews

Parliament agreed it should marked every March 31, the anniversary of the day the Inquisition was officially disbanded.


The Portuguese parliament has approved a law that will see the Inquisition of Jews in the country officially commemorated every year.

The Inquisition will be commemorated on March 31, the date in 1821 the Inquisition of Portugal was officially disbanded.

Jews were expelled from Portugal in 1497, and the Inquisition, formally established in 1536, spent much of its time attempting to root out Jews who had converted to Christianity but still practiced Jewish rituals, or those who had escaped the Spanish Inquisition.

Many of those targeted by the Portuguese Inquisition were subject to public executions. Records from the time show that over 30,000 people were executed or burned at the stake.

Ashley Perry, president of Reconectar (an organisation which reconnects descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jews with Judaism) told the Jerusalem Post that the move was a “historic and important decision”.

“Hopefully, this day will create greater awareness of this dark chapter of Jewish and Portuguese history, which still casts a giant shadow across the world, with tens of millions of descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities still disconnected from any knowledge of their ancestry.”

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