by Samuel Schwarz l I. The Marano Background The existence of secret or Crypto-Jews in the full tide of the twentieth century in a republican country of Europe may appear incredible.... Nevertheless-as it has been my good fortune to discover-Crypto-Jews are still to be found in Portugal. These Crypto-Jews are the descendants of the Maranos whom the Decree of Expulsion of 1496 and the brutality which followed it forced to abjure their faith. This remnant of ancient Portuguese Jewry, having miraculously survived persecution, preserves to this day its purity of race and consciousness of faith despite four hundred years of Christianization and three hundred of Inquisition. A few historical details may render this anomaly a little less strange. An essential difference, it will be recalled, distinguishes the expulsory measures of the two Iberian countries, Spain and Portugal. Spain witnessed a veritable mass emigration of Jews in consequence of the decree of March 31, 1492; for the greater part of Spanish Jewry (Alexander Herculano estimates the number at 800,000), refusing to surrender their faith, abandoned its native land within the four months fixed by the implacable law. In Portugal, on the contrary, no important emigration followed upon the expulsory
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies – Purdue University Press
Published: Oct 3, 1999
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