Spanish village called 'Camp Kill Jews' officially changes name

The small village voted to change its name back to Castrillo Mota de Judios, or "Jews’ Hill Camp" in a referendum last year

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The Independent Online

The small Spanish village of Castrillo Matajudios which translates as “Camp Kill Jews” has officially changed its name to Castrillo Mota de Judios, or "Jews’ Hill Camp" after long-lived complaints that it was offensive.

The village, which has a population of about 50, voted to change its name in a referendum last year and honour its Jewish origins by returning to its original name.

The long awaited renaming has been supported by the regional government of Castilla y Leon and bolstered by Mayor Lorenzo Rodriguez.

Located in the Burgos province of Northern Spain, documents show that the village was originally Jews’ Hill Camp and that Camp Kill Jews dates from 1627.

The anti-Semitic name is thought to originate from a 1492 Spanish order which forced Jews who did not convert to Catholicism to flee the country with those who refused faced with the Spanish inquisition or being burnt at the stake.

Researchers also believe that the offensive name may come from Jewish residents who converted to Catholicism and wanted to persuade the Spanish authorities of their loyalty.

Others think the change may be due to mistranslation or confusion over handwriting.

There are no Jews living in the village today, although most of the village’s populace have Jewish ancestry and are keen to restore pride in their heritage. The star of David is included in the village’s official shield showing that ties to the area's Jewish traditions remain strong.

This month, Spanish parliament also approved a law to creatie a citizenship path for Jewish decedents whose ancestors were forced to flee the country in the past.

This is not the only Spanish place name to cause controversy. The ancient town Valle de Matamoros, which translates as Kill Muslims Valley is located in the south-east of the country. The town has no plans to change the name at present.