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The monument is a gift and symbol of ever-lasting thanks given by the people of Gibraltar to the island of Madeira and its inhabitants.
The city of Funchal and Gibraltar were twinned on by their then Mayors, the Mayor of Funchal Miguel Albuquerque and the mayor of Gibraltar who had been an Evacuee from Gibraltar to Madeira Solomon Levy, respectively.
Most of Gibraltar's Jews evacuated to the United Kingdom during the Second World War, when the Allies used Gibraltar as a base of operations.In 1474, twelve years after the Christian takeover, the Duke of Medina Sidonia, sold Gibraltar to a group of Jewish conversos from Cordova and Seville led by Pedro de Herrera in exchange for maintaining the garrison of the town for two years, after which time the 4,350 Jews were expelled by the Duke. It is likely that many returned to Cordova where they had to face the persecution of the Inquisition under the infamous Torquemada from 1488.Jews were expelled from Spain under the Alhambra decree of 1492 and from Portugal by order of King Manuel I in 1497, effectively ending all Jewish activity there, except in the cases of conversos or possible Crypto-Jews.Some Jews opted to stay in the United Kingdom, but most returned, although there was a slackening in some of their religious practices.The efforts of the Spanish sephardic Italian born Rabbi Josef Pacifici, who assumed the Gibraltar rabbinate and took control of Jewish education in Gibraltar, have helped reverse this tendency. Several Gibraltarian Jews have served in important positions in the Government there in the 20th century, particularly Sir Joshua Hassan, who served as Chief Minister of Gibraltar for two separate terms before his death.