Hamburg and Portugal: A Historical Connection Part I

The history of Hamburg is linked to the one of Portugal as early as back to the 2nd half of the 16th century. This was the time when Hamburg was part of the Hanseatic League, a commercial and political alliance between seaports from Russia and the Baltic States down to Belgium.

During this time, unfortunately, the Portuguese Jews, called Sephardi Jews, had to flee after the beginning of the Portuguese Inquisition. After quite an odyssey, some of them arrived at the doors of Hamburg, but were not allowed to have their own cemetery.

By the time they arrived, Hamburg was just a little town and what belongs to Hamburg now formed a bunch of independent cities and villages. One of them, Altona, decided to welcome the Sephardi Jews and to grant them a cemetery in 1611.

Closed in 1877, the cemetery is a protected monument since 1960. You will find there for example the tombstone of the father of Heinrich Heine, a 19th century poet who escaped to France for political reasons, or one of the widow of Moses Mendelssohn, a famous philosopher.

There is now an application running to make it a UNESCO world heritage site.


Ps: We are currently looking for participants in Braga, Vilanova de Gaia, Porto, Setubal and Lisbon. If you would like to reinforce the Portugese connection with Hamburg then please register on our website www.world-mail-panel.com (Survey Code: GMS 1107)


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