Spanish Town "Camp Kill Jews" Changes Name

Tiny Spanish town reverts back to old name from early 17th century after mayor deems current name 'offensive.'

Cynthia Blank,

Spain (illustration)
Spain (illustration)

Following a vote and regional government approval, Spanish town Castrillo Matajudious, which translates to "Camp Kill Jews," has officially changed its name back to Castrillo Mota de Judios ("Jews' Hill Camp").

The town voted to change its name nearly a year ago after its mayor deemed the name offensive; the regional government of Castilla y Leon approved the change on Monday, AP reported. 

Documents prove the town's original name was indeed "Jew's Hill Camp," but that it was changed to "Camp Kill Jews" in 1627, in the wake of a 1492 edict ordering Jews to convert to Christianity or face expulsion. 

Historians believe the village first changed its name in an attempt by Jewish residents who converted to Catholicism to prove their loyalty to Spain and reinforce the repudiation of their religion. 

Many of the people currently living in Castrillo Mota de Judios have ancient Jewish roots, though there are no Jews believed to reside there. 

Another possibility for the name change, researchers say, was a simple written error. 

The decision comes on the heels of Spain's lower house of parliament approving a law granting a citizenship path to descendants of Jews who were forced to flee Spain in 1492 and during the ensuing inquisition.