The Commission made possible the installation of a plaque in the Judeo-Spanish language at the memorial on the site of the Nazi germans' infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau killing center in Poland. Judeo-Spanish is a traditional language of Sephardic Jews used by people expelled from Spain who settled in the Balkans during the 15th century.
The memorial earlier had plaques in the other languages spoken by the people killed at Auschwitz: Bielorussian, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Romany, Rumanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Ukrainian, and Yiddish.
The Judeo-Spanish plaque recognizes the 120,000-160,000 Judeo-Spanish speakers who were killed at the site. Many came from Salonika (today’s Thessaloniki), Greece, where the pre-war Jewish population of Judeo-Spanish speakers numbered between 60,000 and 80,000.
The inspiration for the plaque came from Professor Haïm Vidal Séphiha of Paris, France, a survivor of Auschwitz, who visited the former killing center in 2000. Noting plaques in the languages spoken by all victims other than Judeo-Spanish, he launched the Judeo-Spanish At Auschwitz campaign.
The plaque was dedicated on March 24, 2003 -- the 60th anniversary of the departure of the second convoy of Jews from Salonika to Auschwitz.