'Kill Jews' Village Votes to Change Name

Spanish hamlet backs switch, 29 to 19

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted May 26, 2014 1:37 AM CDT

(Newser) – After almost 400 years, a tiny Spanish village called Castrillo Matajudios—"Camp Kill Jews"—has voted to adopt a less murderous name. A majority of the hamlet's 56 registered voters sided with the name-change campaign backed by mayor Lorenzo Rodriguez, who threatened to step down if villagers decided against change, Reuters reports. He argued that although Jews were massacred in the area, "this is a village descended from a Jewish community "that was forced to convert to Catholicism and changed its name during the Spanish Inquisition to convince authorities of its loyalty.

Before the name change in 1627—more than a century after Jews were ordered to either convert to Christianity or leave Spain—the village was called Castrillo Motajudios, or "Hill of the Jews," and some researchers believe the change may have been the result of a slip of a pen, the AP notes. No final decision has been made on a new name, but the village will probably revert to "Hill of the Jews" after a town meeting next month. Some 29 of the village's residents voted for change, while 19 voted to keep "Kill the Jews" and the remainder either didn't vote or turned in blank forms.

"Kill the Jews" is around 160 miles north of Madrid.   (Wikimedia Commons)
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