Spain’s ‘Jew killer’ town says yes to name change

The residents of the tiny Spanish town of Castrillo Matajudíos, or Castrillo 'Jew Killer' on Sunday voted to change the name of the village and lay the ghosts of their past to rest.

Spain's 'Jew killer' town says yes to name change
Castrillo Matajudíos, or Castrillo Jew Killer is believed in 1035 by Jews fleeing a pogrom. Image: Google Maps

The town of just 60 people in Spain's northern Burgos province made headlines in April when local mayor Lorenzo Rodríguez said he wanted the name changed to something less offensive.

Now his wish is one step closer to reality.

While most Spaniards spent Sunday casting ballots for their representatives in Brussels in the European elections, the people of Castrillo Matajudíos also voted on whether to change the town's name to Castrillo Moto de Judíos, or Castrillo 'Hill of the Jews'.

Results were overwhelming.

With a participation rate of 93 percent — or more than double the 45.85 percent who turned out to vote in the EU elections in Spain — 29 votes were cast for the initiative, and 19 against.

The move will now be approved in a town hall meeting on June 3rd, according to Spain's El Mundo newspaper.

If the decision is formally adopted, authorities will then have to get on with other practicalities like getting the town name changed on Google Maps.

That will mean telling the tech giant about the new name, as the company only makes such changes if they are informed by a third party, a Google spokesperson told The Local.

Castrillo Matajudíos first appears in the historical records in the early 17th century but is believed to have been founded as early as 1035 by Jews fleeing a pogrom.

Spain has its fair share of bizarre place names, from the ominous-sounding Consuegra (With-mother-in-law) near Toledo to the rather off-putting Pozo de las Mujeres Muertas (Dead Women’s Well) in Asturias.

Alongside these is Valle de Matamoros (Valley of the Moor Slayers) in Extremadura. Authorities there, however, said last month they had no plans to follow Castrillo Matajudíos' lead and push for a name change.

SEE ALSO: Gallery – Spain's most disgusting place names

The news about Castrillo Matajudíos comes after Spain recently announced it plans to grant citizenship to the descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 under the command of the Catholic Kings Isabella and Ferdinand.

Spain’s Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardón has since referred to the forced conversion and eventual expulsion of the country’s then 200,000-strong Jewish population as "the biggest mistake in Spanish history".

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