Does anyone know who now has the key to the Madeira Jewish cemetery? And how he/she can be contacted?
Many thanks if anyone can help.
Because there is no Jewish community in Madeira it is difficult to get any information. I know that about 4 years ago there was a group of people who wanted to start a fund to renovate the cemetery because it was in serious disrepair and falling into the sea. I believe the people at the garage (ProMotors) nearby may know who had the key but other than that I have no idea. If you Google it, there are a few thread, although not recent, but may be some info there.
Thanks for your response, flower city. About 4 or 5 years ago there was a gentleman called Carlos who had the key and opened the cemetery for us. I had his mobile number but the number no longer works. I just wondered if anyone knows how to contact him or if there is someone else who looks after the key.
There is a lot of discussion in the Madeira portuguese press about this over the past few years but no name of a specific person responsible seems to jump out.
The Israeli Ambassador to Portugal, Tzipora Rimon, spent three days in Madeira in July, 2014.
See (in Portuguese): http://bit.ly/17pGepc
May be you should email the embassy in Lisbon to see if they can provide a contact name.
The email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visited the cemetery without entering it as the gate was locked and the garage across that was supposed to keep the key (sounds more like an odd old myth...) was no longer there and its space marked "For Sale"... Still, Funchal is dotted with numerous telling plaques next to its numerous locations of historic significance none, however, next to this almost intriguing cemetery nor the past location of its only synagogue on Rua do Carmo, which is a shame and a disgrace. The cemetery was established due to the efforts of José de Abudarham, who has established his own Madeira wine company, some of which wines have commanded a very high price until very recently (mark owned now by the Madeira Wine Company), and who is buried in said cemetery together with other members of his family. All of which stresses even further the worthiness for Funchal city council to mark this cemetery and synagogue (also sponsored by same José de Abudarham wine maker and merchant) with the well deserved plaques indicating their role and significance in Funchal's colourful history.Edited: 12:07 pm, January 23, 2016
A lot of work has recently been done at the cemetery at great expense, tidying up the cemetery itself, and also shoring up and underpinning the cliff below. A new keypad was put on the door to replace the old padlock and key, and a nice plaque was put on the wall with Hebrew and Portuguese lettering. Unfortunately it was very soon vandalised, and has now been ripped off the wall completely, leaving no evidence that it was there. Funchal City Council seems to have done its best with regard to the cemetery, but unfortunately there are vandals around who will spoil anything, not necessarily anti-semitic. It's so sad as it's evidence of the small but important role the Jewish community had in Funchal's history.