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Jewish Life Reviewed in Latest Cables and Letters

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For over 400 years, the word “Jew” was little but a myth in Spain which in 1493 drove all its Jewish subjects from the couontry. A certain number, it is true, had remained, preferring to submit to baptism rether livelihood. These Maranos, as they were called, long continued to practise their Judaism in secret, and even as late as the sicteenth century there are still records of punishments for various Jewish observances, such as that of the Sabbth, shechita and circumcision. But gradually they assimilated completely with the surrounding population and in the majority of cases their desendants do not even know of their Jewihs ancestry. Only one group has succeeded in keeping their separate individuality. These are the descendants of Maranos who had settled in the Balearic Islands. The native Spaish populaiotn of the islands, naturally distrustful and reserved towards all strange elements, after four and a half centuries, still looks on them as strangers, and calls them “Judeos”. Mixed marriages were in consequence almost unknown, and so these Maranos, whose ancestors departed from traditional Judaism over four centuries ago, have to the present day preserved their racial purity, though they are very loth to admit their Jewish descent.

It was not till the Great War that Jews once again began to settle in Spain. A number of German and Austrian Jews, as well as a few Turkish Jews, came there during the war, and soon began to practise their religion. In 1919 the first Jweish community was established in Barcelona with some 25 members, mostly Sephradim. By 1922 this number had grown to 91.

In 1931 Spain became a republic, and the rumor spread that the new government was willing to welcome Jews back to Spain, and even to encourage their immigration, realizing the loss that Spain had suffered as a result of the expulsion of the Jews in 1493. This led to a slight increase in Jewish immigration into Spain. Today the Barcelona Community has 160 members, while #e Madrid community, founded in 1916, has 26 registered mumbers.


Soon after the establishment of the Spanish republic the new government offiered a number of German Jews chairs at Spanish universities. But none of these offers have yet been put into effect. This is due largely to the opposition of the professional associations.

The refugees in Spain have to a considerable extent been looked after by relief organization established by those Jews who had settled there previously. A number of these with some technical knoleged have been able to start as independent artisans, and a few intellectuals with means at their desposal have managed to find profiable employment. But apart from these, the situation is almost hopeles. Much can be done with capital. Without it, while Spain in the industrial sense remains the primitive country that it is, it is parctically impossible for Jwish immigrants to obtain work of any sort.

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