The installation of the National Museum of Resistance and Freedom in the Fortress of Peniche was awaited 43 years ago by the former prisoners who passed through it during almost half a century of the dictatorship in Portugal.
Peniche Fortress “is practically the only symbol of resistance to fascism,” said Domingos Abrantes, the former political prisoner who had been in prison for many years.
The communist history, a member of the central committee of the PCP, recalled a resolution of the Council of Ministers of 1976, in which the Government of the time decided that in that space would be erected a national museum.
“It’s been 43 years and we can not stop wondering why we do not have the museum.” It was not a coincidence and it was deliberate, “Domingos Abrantes said.
After several projects are foreseen there, after pressure from the Assembly of the Republic following demonstrations against the inclusion of the monument on the list of assets to be granted by the State for tourism purposes, in April 2017 the Government opted to invest 3.5 million euros in the installation of the National Museum of Resistance and Freedom.
“We still do not have the museum, but now the process is irreversible,” concluded the former prisoner, satisfied with the “happy” outcome of the 2016- 2017 struggle to stop those walls and prison buildings, littered with memories of prisoners and their lives families that passed by, were demolished or used to make room for a luxury hotel.
“Of all the symbols of fascism only this one remained and it was also threatened to disappear and the fact of standing is an achievement,” stressed the anti-fascist.
“Today it is a great joy to arrive here, 45 years later, and see the buildings to be painted and to be recovered to be an integral part of the future museum,” said José Pedro Soares, another of the former prisoners still alive.
From tears in the eyes, for this former political prisoner “it is very important to perpetuate for the future and above all for the new generations what was fascism and the struggle for freedom and to have this testimony for future memory.”
Both considered that the words “resistance” and “freedom” can not be dissociated, for April 25, 1974, also known as the Carnation Revolution, “would not have existed without 48 years of resistance.”
Of the approximately 2,400 prisoners who were in Peniche and who, next April 25th, will see a memorial erected with all their names engraved, there are about 50 survivors left.
In this sense, they defended the necessity of a museum to preserve the memory of this period of the History of Portugal and to remind it to the new generations.