(JTA) — A Spanish aristocrat offered an official apology to the Jewish community of Gibraltar for the expulsion of Jews in the 15th century.
The duke of Medina Sidonia, D. Alonso Gonzalez de Gregorio y Alvarez de Toledo, read the apology to members of the Gibraltar Jewish Community on Monday at the Instituto Cervantes, the Gibraltar Chronicle reported.
It was the first time a representative of the family returned in an official capacity to Gibraltar in more than 500 years, since the 1474 expulsion, according to the Chronicle.
“Today I apologize before the Jewish Community in Gibraltar, who are moral and genetic heirs of the converted Andalucians, who in 1474 fled the cruel, uncontrollable genocide in Andalucia and resorted to take refuge in this city,” he said in his statement.
Two years later, the duke’s ancestor, Enrique Perez de Guzman y Fonseca, the second duke of Medina Sidonia, expelled them.
“Although some historians may have already distanced him from the atrocities, in no case have they been successful in exempting him from the grave responsibility which, through historical justice, I recognize in his name,” the current duke said.
Gibraltar was captured from Spain in 1704 during the War of the Spanish Succession. It is now under the sovereignty of Great Britain.