Residents of a Spanish town whose name translates as ‘Camp Kill Jews’ have voted to change its moniker.
The name of the northern village - Castrillo Matajudios – dates back to the period after Catholic monarchs King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella ordered the expulsion of Jews in 1492.
The campaign to change the name was led by the town’s mayor Lorenzo Rodriguez, who told Haaretz on 25 May: “We’ve been labelled as being a village where Jewish people are killed, accused of being anti-Semitic.
Castrillo Matajudios no more: Residents have voted to change the name
“The reality is this is a village descended from a Jewish community.”
On Sunday residents voted 29-19 in favour of scrapping the centuries-old name, in favour of Castrillo Motajudios, or Hill of Jews, the Times of Israel reported.
The town hall will review the vote on 3 June before launching the paperwork for the name change – a process which could take up to a year.
“When the change is approved I think it will be a turning point,” Rodriguez told AFP.
He added: “When you travel elsewhere, you always have to explain, because people say ‘You kill Jews in Castrillo’.
“It makes no sense because we are descended from a Jewish community. We have a star of David on our coat of arms.”
The town was originally called Castrillo Motajudios, or ‘Hill of the Jews’, becoming ‘Mata’ in the early 17th century.
The change reflected the shadow cast by the Inquisition of 1492, when the Jews of Spain and Portugal were expelled following decades of forced conversions and burnings at the stake, Haaretz writes.
Speaking to Spanish daily newspaper Diario de Burgos in April, Rodriguez explained the original name came after a number of Jewish people were massacred in nearby Castrojeriz in 1035, prompting survivors to move to Castrillo Hill. A second massacre occurred there in 1109.