The Belmonte Jews are a Jewish community of marranos that survived in secrecy
for hundreds of years by maintaining a tradition of endogamy and by hiding all the
external signs of their Jewish faith nesteld among Roman Catholicism. The
community in the municipality of Belmonte, Cova da Beira subregion, Portugal,
goes back to the 12th century and they were only discovered in 1917 by a Polish
Jewish mining engineer named Samuel Schwarz. They officially returned to
Judaism in the 1970s, and opened a synagogue in 1996.
In 2003, the Belmonte Project was founded under the auspices of the American
Sephardi Federation, in order to raise funds to acquire Judaic educational
material and services for the community (which now numbers 300).
A Jewish Museum of Belmonte (Museu Judaico de Belmonte) opened on 17 April
2005. In the summer of 2006, the American Sephardi Federation ceased to have
the Belmonte Project under its auspices.
Their Sephardic tradition of Crypto-Judaism is considered unique.