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June 24, 2014 3:02 pm

Spanish Town Called ‘Kill Jews’ Looks to Open Jewish Cultural Center

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The current second name of the Spanish town Castrillo Matajudios means "Kill Jews" and reflects the dark past of the Spanish Inquisition. The town, where residents are known for Jewish ancestry, has an official shield (pictured) with the Star of David. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. The Spanish village of Castrillo Matajudios, which translates to “Kill Jews Fort,” is looking to open a Jewish culture center as part of a process to change the town’s name and reflect its Jewish history.

The town’s mayor Lorenzo Rodriguez is scheduled to present the plan to open a Sephardic Jewish cultural center at a town meeting on Wednesday, the local Spanish radio station Radio Arlanzon reported.

In May, town residents voted in favor of changing the name to Castrillo Mota de Judios” or “Hill of Jews,” which many believe is the original name of the town.

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That original name dates back to 1035, when Jews who escaped being killed at another nearby town settled on the town’s hill. Records from 1627 show that the name was then changed to “Kill Jews,” more than a century after the Spanish Inquisition, which had forced Jews to convert to Catholicism or face either execution or expulsion.

Some researchers believe that the town’s new name was invented by Jewish converts to Catholicism who wanted to make it seem that they opposed people who tried to maintain their Jewish faith. Others think the new name was simply a misspelling. The town’s official shield includes the Star of David.

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