Spanish ‘Kill Jews’ village to change name – Europe – Al Jazeera English

Residents in a tiny Spanish village have voted to ditch its unfortunate, centuries-old name: Castrillo Matajudios, or Castrillo Kill Jews.

A vote on Sunday went 29-19 in favour of scrapping the northern Spanish town’s name, in existence since at least 1623, said the mayor, Lorenzo Rodriguez.

Residents decided instead to take on a less offensive, older name for the  town, Mota de Judios, or Hill of the Jews, he told the AFP news agency.

The town hall will review the vote on June 3 before launching the paperwork for a new name, a process that could take from six months to a year, he said.

“When the change is approved I think it will be a turning point,” said the mayor, who led the movement to change names and had threatened to resign if residents disagreed.

The decision should bring an end to the embarrassment of locals, who frequently found themselves trapped into giving awkward explanations to  outraged outsiders.

“When you travel elsewhere, you always have to explain, because people say, ‘You kill Jews in Castrillo’,” Rodriguez, told AFP.

“It makes no sense because we are descended from a Jewish community. We  have a star of David on our coat of arms.”

He said the town, which lies near the city of Burgos, was born in 1035 as a safe haven to a persecuted Jewish community, which settled on a hill, or Mota,  in the area.

They remained there until 1492 when Jews were mostly expelled by a brutal religious tribunal known as the Spanish Inquisition.

Angel Palomino, an archaeologist, said it was thought descendants of Jews who had converted to Roman Catholicism decided to change the town’s name during the Counter-Reformation so as to prove the purity of their faith.

via Spanish ‘Kill Jews’ village to change name – Europe – Al Jazeera English.

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