Lonely Planet Writer

Spanish village renounces ‘Jew Killer’ name

Spanish town renounces historic name.
Spanish town renounces historic name. Image by Tomás Fano / CC BY-SA 2.0

A macabre historical name that has hung over a tiny northern Spanish town for centuries has finally been changed to something less controversial. The name Castrillo Matajudíos – ‘Jew Killer town’ – is a reference to the village’s dark past as the site of two Jewish massacres in and around the town in the 11th and 12th centuries. It is thought that the name of the village was changed in the 17th century during the Spanish Inquisition, when there was widespread persecution of non-Christians and intense anti-Semitism. Following a town vote instigated by the mayor, the name has now been changed to Castrillo Mota de Judíos, meaning ‘Hill of Jews’, which is thought to have been the original name and a reference to the Jewish inhabitants who first settled there. Read more: thelocal.es