Town Named 'Jew Killer' May Change Its Name

Residents of Castrillo Matajudíos will put it to a vote
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2014 11:59 AM CDT
Town Named 'Jew Killer' May Change Its Name
Castrillo Matajud?os   (Wikimedia Commons)

Castrillo Matajudíos sounds lovely—unless you speak Spanish. In English, the name of the tiny Spanish village is "Castrillo Jew Killer" or "Castrillo Kill the Jews," depending on the translation. It was so named because Jews were massacred there twice, in 1035 and 1109. Now the mayor of the village, population 60, is suggesting it be renamed, and residents will vote on the matter this week, the Jerusalem Post reports. The proposed new name is actually an old one: Castrillo Mota de Judíos, or "Castrillo Jews' Hill," which is believed to have been the village's name originally.

The name was changed during the Spanish Inquisition, a time of religious persecution in Spain, The Local reports. The term matar Judíos, or "killing Jews," is also used in parts of Spain to describe drinking spiked lemonade, now a traditional part of festivals held around Easter; in medieval times, Jews would sometimes be put to death in public during the holiday. Matarjudíos is also still a Spanish surname, the Guardian notes. As for the town, "The majority decision will be respected, even if it is only by one vote," says the mayor. (In 2012, voters of a New Hampshire town faced a somewhat similar vote: whether to rename "Jew Pond." They did.)

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