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The Northern Transylvania Holocaust Memorial Museum represents a tough history lesson learned in a few minutes.
The Holocaust Museum was founded after the Revolution in the old Jewish synagogue of Simleu Silvaniei, Salaj County. The village lies at about 30 kilometres from Zalau and it is also called the town below Magura, thanks to the Magura hill nearby.
The Jewish Church in the city lost the first function and presently houses a unique museum in the northern Transylvania. The synagogue was built at the end of the nineteenth century and is located in the centre of Simleu, near the City Hall headquarters.
In 2005, this museum was founded in the synagogue. Many historians and Romanian and foreign tourists made their way through the town thanks to the museum of the synagogue, where they can be witnesses to the local history, while before their eyes there are portrayed the atrocities committed during the Second World War.
How the idea of starting this museum in Simleu Silvaniei appeared? It has a historical explanation: in 1944, thousands of Jews in the area were locked in a ghetto in Salaj, located just a few kilometres away from the town below Magura.
Locals tell the story they have heard from their elders of how these Jews were starved, beaten and even tortured to reveal to the authorities where they had hidden their fortunes. Many of them were even killed, while others had chosen to end their own life. Those who resisted were sent to Auschwitz. This terrible page of history led to the appearance of the museum, at the initiative of some survivors and of two associations of Jews.
The old temple holds now photos, maps, testimonies of Holocaust survivors, old documents, but also worship objects specific to a synagogue. Wherever you look, you can see the death marches and concentration camps. Recently, a library was inaugurated with books on Jewish history, obtained from donations. Presently this museum of horror has become practically a tourism brand for Simleu Silvaniei.
If you want to visit, there is no entry fee and it is open daily from 10.00 to 17.00 on weekdays and from 11.00 to 15.00 on Saturday and Sunday.
Images from The Museum of Simleul Silvaniei
- 1 “Mihai Viteazul” (Michael the Brave) – rural celebration
- 2 “La fântâna dorului” (At the Sorrow Fountain) – folk festival
- 3 The Onion Festival
- 4 Negreni Fair
- 5 The Grapes Ball
- 6 Folklore and folk art afferent to the tradition of Beius Fair
- 7 The Slovakian Potatoes Holiday
- 8 Aeternus Maramorosiensis – Medieval Festival of Sighetu Marmatiei
- 9 The “Salajean Village” Festival – Porolissum
- 10 Autumn on Ierului Valley