Kill Jews village may change name

A Spanish village is considering removing the phrase “kill Jews” from its name.

The village of Castrillo Matajudios near Leon in northern Spain will convene its 60 resident families at a town hall meeting this week to discuss and vote on the first formal proposal to change the village’s name, the regional daily Diario de Burgos reported April 11.

Mayor Lorenzo Rodriguez, who submitted the proposal, suggested changing the village’s name to its original Castrillo Mota de Judios, which means Castrillo Jews’ Hill. He said the name was changed during the Spanish Inquisition.

In parts of Spain, and especially in the north, locals use the term “killing Jews” (matar Judios) to describe the traditional drinking of lemonade spiked with alcohol at festivals at Easter, or drinking in general.

Leon will hold its “matar Judios” fiesta on Good Friday, April 18, and organizers estimate 40,000 gallons of lemonade will be sold.

The name originated in medieval times, when converted Jews would sometimes be publicly executed in show trials around Easter, said Maria Royo, a spokeswoman for the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain.

“Regrettably, this type of expression exists in Spain,” she said, but added that “the people saying it are mostly unaware of the history. It is a complicated issue that is ingrained in local culture.”

Last month, Ramon Benavides, the president of a local association of hoteliers, told the Spanish news agency EFE, “When ‘killing Jews,’ it’s best to take it slow and keep track of how much you drink to avoid excesses and its consequences the next day.” — jta