A Holocaust education center will open in the childhood home of Nobel Prize-winning author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel in the Romanian town of Sighet.
The “Holocaust Cellar” is scheduled to open on May 18, as part of the Holocaust museum located in Wiesel’s pre-World War II home, which sits in the old Jewish Ghetto of Sighet in Maramures County.
The learning center will be dedicated to the 13,000 local Holocaust victims.
The opening is sponsored by the Government of Romania, the City of Sighet, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, the Romanian Jewish Federation and Limmud FSU and is the first in a series of events to mark 70 years since the expulsion of the last Jews of northern Transylvania to Auschwitz.
“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,” Wiesel said in a statement. “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, the Jews of Maramures County in northern Transylvania were rounded up and forced into 13 ghettos. Eventually, 131,639 Jews from Marmures County were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and most were exterminated.
Between 280,000 and 380,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews were murdered or died during the Holocaust in Romania and the territories under its control. An additional 135,000 Romanian Jews living under Hungarian control in Northern Transylvania also died during the Holocaust, as did some 5,000 Romanian Jews in other countries.