The small Spanish village of Castrillo Matajudios will hold a referendum on whether or not it should change the second part of its name, which means “Kill Jews.” On May 25, the village’s 56 registered voters will be asked whether the name should be kept or revised to an earlier, less offensive version.
The second part of the town’s name was originally “Motajudios,” which means “Jews Hill.” That name dates back to 1035, when Jews who escaped being killed at another nearby town settled on the town’s hill. Records from 1627 show that the name was then changed to “Kill Jews,” more than a century after the Spanish Inquisition, which forced Jews to convert to Catholicism or face either execution or expulsion.
Some researchers actually believe that the town’s new name was invented by Jewish converts to Catholicism who wanted to make it seem that they opposed people who tried to maintain their Jewish faith. Others think the new name was simply a misspelling. The town’s official shield includes the Star of David.
“There are always the stories of people from here traveling to Israel with a passport that says ‘Matajudios’ and wishing they didn’t have to show it,” said the town’s mayor, Lorenzo Rodriguez Perez, the Associated Press reported.