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Spanish Town Castrillo Matajudios (“Camp Kill Jews”) Votes to Change Name

New name: “Hill of the Jews” Read More

By / May 28, 2014

And now for some good news: the Spanish town of Castrillo Matajudios—which literally translates to ‘Camp Kill Jews’—voted on Sunday to revert to its original name, Mota de Judios, or ‘Hill of the Jews,’ The Times of Israel reports.

It’s a change almost 400 years in the making. Mayor Lorenzo Rodriguez says the town was established in 1035 as a “safe haven” for a persecuted Jewish community, which settled on a hill in the area—thus the original name, Mota de Judios.

But in 1623—over one hundred years after the expulsion and forced conversion of Spain’s Jews in the Inquisition—the town changed its named to Castrillo Matajudios, most likely to further distance itself from its Jewish origins. “It makes no sense because we are descended from a Jewish community,” explained Rodriguez. “We have a star of David on our coat of arms.”

Not only is the name nonsensical, it’s also a beloved drinking game. According to JTA, the phrase matar Judios (“killing Jews”) describes “the traditional drinking of lemonade spiked with alcohol at festivals held in city squares at Easter, or drinking in general… The name originates from medieval times, when converted Jews would sometimes be publicly executed in show trials at around Easter.”

Residents voted 29-19 in favor of the change, which will be reviewed by town hall next week and, if approved, implemented over the next 6-12 months. We can only assume the nays were holding out on logistical grounds, because surely it must be a bummer to live in a town that manages to encapsulate murder, anti-Semitism, binge-drinking, and the Inquisition it its very name, no?

Image: Wikimedia Commons