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The files of the Inquisition

The book by Lucien Wolfe, one of the leaders of the Jewish establishment in England in the XNUMXs and a vigorous opponent of Zionism, which deals with the stories of the Jews of the Canary Islands during the Inquisition, has just been published by a reprint of the University of Toronto

by Benny Landau

The cover of the book "Jews in the Islands".
the canaries"

Lucien Wolf was recorded in the annals of the movement
Zionism as one of the stumbling blocks of Weizmann's life
had to bypass on the way to the Balfour Declaration.
At the beginning of the twentieth century he managed in London the
"The Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs", organization
who was the main spokesman of the Jewish establishment
in Britain and its policy makers in the same
period. Among other things, he insisted that only the committee
authorized to negotiate with the British government,
He feared a Jewish state in Israel and predicted its establishment
will present British Jewry with an embarrassing problem of
Double loyalty.

At the same time as his political activity, Wolf became famous
As an expert in Jewish history. In 1925 value
and published a book called "Jews in the Islands".
The Canaries" and in the long introduction he described the way
in which he began to investigate, back in 1890, the circumstances
The immigration of Jews to England during the years of the government
Patronage (Oliver Cromwell and his son). according to him,
was surprised to find that the main characters

In an adventure, Antonio Fernandez Carbajal and some of his followers, arrived in England from an archipelago
Small in the eastern Atlantic, a group of islands that played no role
in Jewish history and was hardly recorded in the records.

Wolf asked to reveal more details about the Jews of the Canary Islands, and in the fall of 1894
Plan a visit to Las Palmas, the main port city. During the preparations he told about
His plan for a friend named Lord Bute, and Hela spared him the hardships of the journey. the lord,
As it turned out, he had acquired all the documents of the Inquisition branch a few years earlier
which operated in the Canary Islands and brought them to England. He handed over the documents for the perusal of
Wolf and Hella translated, explained, edited and published his findings in a book that has just been published
In University of Toronto reprint.

Wolff naturally focused on the Inquisition cases that had a Jewish aspect.
The information he uncovered made it clear to him that a small Jewish community had been established in the Canary Islands for years
Many before she took in some of the victims of the deportation carried out by the Spanish authorities in the peninsula
Iberian, in .1492 a few years later, following further decrees of Ferdinand
And Isabella, the entire Jewish community in the islands was forced to go underground. Her son disguised her
their religion, they pretended to be "new Christians" or "converts", and a few years later it emerged
They manage to lead an almost normal lifestyle, despite the intelligence activities of the Inquisition.

They even prospered. They found themselves in a good place in the middle of the profitable cruise line
to the New World and cooperated with the pirates who made the group of islands their base
the front. From the ports of the archipelago, the pirates attacked the returning Portuguese ships
Loaded with goods from India and China. Most of the local economy was based on robbery
And the residents, according to Wolff, had a common interest in opposing the crown's policy
and the persecutions of the Inquisition.

But the terrorist forces could not be stopped. The Inquisition, a determined organization
Aided by a network of informants and informers, in 1504 he opened a branch in Las Palmas and staffed
The same in officials who took care to document their diligence. They strove to expose Jews in secret,
Encourage whistle-blowing between neighbors and friends, gather evidence and record statements. they are also
Filed everything extremely meticulously which was probably the secret of the organization's strength:
In those years the Inquisition had the best information in the world.

The working assumption was that the "New Christians", also known as "Conversos"
And "Maranos", keep Jewish customs in secret. The historical counterargument
She, that the suspicion was cultivated and exaggerated in an effort to destroy the status of the "new Christians"
and halt their progress. In Lucien Wolff's book, the craft of whistleblowing is depicted
The daily is almost a farce:

* May 17: 1499 Diego de Mandragon presented himself at the offices of the Inquisition and after
who was sworn made the following statement: that he had heard that Gonzalo de Burgos was an apostate
and that a Hebrew book was found in his home. And also that the aforementioned witness and his wife visited Burgos' house
The aforementioned, and he told them that he would marry six wives. Hearing this, the witness questioned
How does he know this, and the aforementioned told him that while he was in Spain, Magid told him
Fortune telling, that he will live to the age of eighty, he will have six wives, all decent, he
He will suffer severe persecutions after which he will live happily and die a bad death at the age of eighty.
Upon hearing this, the witness's wife said that she preferred a short life and a good death to me
Long life and bad death. To this Burgos replied, that the end of eighty years of life is not
It doesn't matter what death he dies and the main thing is that he has strength.

* May 18: 1499 Pedro de Bellosa stated that Juan Bernal said to Juan Marquis:
"Welcome Jew". The latter replied, "You honor me by being honest with me
Jewish". To which Bernal replied with a shout: "Son of a whore, then you are indeed a Jew!"

* June 14: 1499 Maria de Alcazar appeared before the Inquisition and made a statement
who worked by the name of Juan Crespo told her that his lady used to hit the statues of the saints and always
Cooks two meat meals, one for her and the other for her husband. To her husband she is always
Serves pork but she herself eats other meat.

* November 5: 1505 Alonso de Vargas stated that some teachers, mainly Jews
certain, they swore that Gonzalo de Burgos said that his father was Jewish and that his wish was
die in the same faith. For this purpose he made preparations to move to live in Barbary. information about
Thus he was dispatched to the Inquisition in Seville and they ordered the aforementioned Burgos to appear
before them, but on his way to Seville he drowned off the coast of Cadiz.

* November 15, 1505: Hernandez Martínez Portuguese denounced the wife of the color
Juan Fernandez for saying: "With good work a Jew will save his soul in his own religion,
Just as Jesus Christ was created in his religion."

* November 22: 1505 Juan Fernandez appeared before the Inquisition and confessed
that 18 months ago, when he was in Las Palmas and wanted to write to Gramel Farn and from there
who does not know how to write, he asked one, Jimenez, to write for him and that he signed the letter
In Hebrew letters, the way he used to do before he converted to Christianity, since he didn't learn
(to write) in any other language, except that his intention was not to denigrate the Catholic faith or
to observe any Jewish practices, but only because he does not know what is written in everything
another language.

* November 26: 1505 Juan Alonzo de Añaya stated, among other things: "People
Many told him, especially Gutierrez de Ocena, a notary public, that on the island of Gomera
Or on the island of Hero, the above mentioned Okana kept and forced others to keep the Sabbath day, no
on the first day. Okana being a convert, he assumes this was done to save the
Jewish customs. Furthermore, this witness has heard from many people that it is widely known
Luis Alvares, who is a convert and has been reconciled, brings together converts day and night and explains
They have the Jewish faith, and it is known to all that the converts who are, or have been found, on the island
This is heard and given in spite of him and that they meet secretly in his house and no Christian
Old is not allowed to take part in meetings.

* November 27: 1505 Diego de San Martins stated, among other things, that the wife of
Pedro de Blavas bakes his bread in another woman's house and she claims it looks like it
for her as matzah; Gutierrez de Ocena is alleged to have said "those who are burned are saints."
Dormitory". The witness provided a different proof regarding a number of converts who were seen entering his house
of Luis Alvarez, which is widely assumed to hold Jewish ceremonies;
The witness's house overlooks the aforementioned house, and that he saw many converts entering it
At night, including Martin Elliman and his brothers Francisco and Diego de Carmona,
Alonso Gutierrez, Fernando Desoria, etc.; The home of Luis de Novela is called
"The Little Synagogue".

* October 8: 1505 Antonio de Valladolid declared against Juan de Herrera:
The declarant saw a lamp lit on Shabbat in the house belonging to the aforementioned Harare, although no one was there
Same time at home. The lamp stood in the corner and did not light up in front of any statue.
When asked about the character of that Harara, and whether it was said that one of his relatives was convicted of
By the Inquisition, the witness replied, that it was said of the aforementioned Harare that he was suspected of being a Jew
and that he escaped from Toledo from the terror of the Inquisition.

* December 5: 1505 Anton Garcia, son of Diego Diaz Rilxado (who was transferred
From the hands of the Inquisition authorities to the civil authority and was elevated by it to
HaMoked), confessed that he said in a debate with some people, who were discussing the Jewish faith, that
He believes her, but the devil must have spoken from his throat because he always believed
With complete faith in the Christian Jesus.

The tragedy did not always unfold as a farce of ignorance, fears and superstitions.
Lucien Wolf tells about a "marked man" named Alvaro Gonzalez, who was born
In Portugal, he served as a rabbi or cantor and in 1496, when Portuguese Jews were expelled from their homes,
He converted and joined the Catholic Church with all his family members. Because it got difficult
Very, apparently, pretending to be a Christian, soon fled the country, lived three
Years in Gibraltar, migrated to San Miguel in the Azores, was banned, fled with
other "new Christians" and in 1504 he arrived in the Canary Islands. He settled in Las
Palmas, engaged in the shoe trade and purchased vineyards. According to the evidence against him, both he and
His family members lived as religious Jews. Gonzalez kept kosher, kept his days
During the fast and on Shabbat evenings, he hosted other "new Christians" in his home and welcomed the Sabbath
according to the best tradition. He refused to baptize his slaves and was not afraid to express his opinion
about Christianity When one of his neighbors teased him and claimed he was Jewish, he replied, "It's better
A good Jew from a bad Christian."

His trial began in October 1524 and ended in January 1526. He was convicted of heresy,
He was transferred to the mainland authorities and all his property was confiscated. "Although he denied the accusations against him
During the trial," writes Lucien Wolff, "he did not hide his loyalty to Judaism
When he was put on the stake, on February 24, 1526
Beverly hills

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