A new Holocaust learning center opened in Elie Wiesel’s childhood home in Sighet, Romania on Sunday. The “Holocaust Cellar” is the latest addition to the Holocaust museum housed in the Wiesel home, which is located in the courtyard of Sighet’s old Jewish ghetto where thousands of Jews once lived. The first of its kind in Romania, the Sighet public learning center will focus on the 13,000 local Jews who died in the Holocaust.
On Sunday, an opening ceremony for the learning center was held as the first of a series of events commemorating 70 years since the expulsion of the last Northern Transylvanian Jews to Auschwitz. A number of Jewish organizations collaborated with the Government of Romania and the City of Sighet to sponsor the event, which drew Romanian religious and political leaders to celebrate the center’s inauguration.
Wiesel, who spoke to attendees via webcam, expressed his support for the new project. “The house I was raised in is now a museum but to me it will always be uniquely special, eliciting the warmest of memories until the darkness of the kingdom of night befell us,” he said. “I hope that your meetings, though melancholy in nature, are fruitful, enriching and full of meaningful learning.”