Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

To Sephardic Jews Spain Has Always Been Mother Country Abravenel’s Descendant Writes in Madrid Daily

May 20, 1931
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Senor Paul Abravenel, a distinguished Sephardi of Salonica, who now lives in Paris, has written to us, says the “Libertad” here, the leading Liberal daily in Spain, pledging his support to our movement for the solemn abrogation of the decree of 1492 under which. the Jews were expelled from Spain. Your movement for the return of the Sephardic Jews to Spain and their re-incorporation into the life of the country is deserving of all support, he writes. Although centuries have passed since the edict of expulsion issued by the Catholic Sovereigns of Spain in 1492, the Jews have remained loyal to Spain, preserving the Spanish tongue, in spite of the natural tendency to assimilate to the languages of the countries in which they now reside, and although there have been difficulties in the way which seemed almost insuperable they still to-day proudly continue to call themselves Spanish Jews.

I am myself, Senor Abravenel proceeds, a direct descendant of Don Isaac Abravenel, who was Treassurer, or Minister of Finance in Spain from 1484 till the expulsion in 1492, and thus belong to one of the oldest and most distinguished of Spanish families, tracing its descent back to King David.

Eighteen years ago, in 1913, Senor Abravenel goes on, I entered the service of Spain, as a Secretary to the Spanish Consulate in Salonica, finally becoming Secretary of the Chancellory. I was a member also in Salonica of the Joint Hispano-Hellenic Committee which examined the claims to Spanish nationality of the Jews of Spanish origin living in the city, which were disputed by the Greek Government, and I finally succeeded in obtaining official recognition from the Government in Athens for about 400 families who were overjoyed.

I was happy to be able to serve. Spain in these capacities and in other offices which I held subsequently, because both to myself and to my fellow-Jews of Spanish origin (Sephardim), Spain has always been the mother country, the beautiful land which we all love, Senor Abravenel says. There is not one single Sephardic Jew who does not feel proud to call himself Spanish. With unbounded joy, with burning desire, with overwhelming love, and with all the strength of our soul, all we Sephardic Jews respond to the movement for our return to the country of our origin, to our beloved Spain, the land of our great grandsires. I do not know how to express to you sufficiently all the gratitude which I feel for the initiative your paper has taken in this matter. I place myself completely at your disposal, and you may call upon me to do anything in my power to help to carry out this great work, under the aegis of the new constitutional are, Senor Abravenel concludes.

The Republic will realise the hopes and wishes expressed by Senor Abravenel, of that we are convinced, the “Libertad” comments.

Recommended from JTA