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Conversos Persecuted -
A Jewish Account

After the conversion of tens of thousands of Jews to Christianity on threat of death, the presence of "converts" clinging to their Jewish ways plagued the Spanish realms. The kings of Spain now pressured the reluctant converts to become sincere Christians. The Inquisition, a medieval institution, was revived in Spain in 1478 to root out insincere converts. This tribunal evolved into a thought police that caused the burning and torture of at least 2,000 victims.

This text describes some of the traumatic effects on the Jewish community.


. . . before the Expulsion [in 1492], the king of Spain persecuted the anussim [forced converts] and investigated their conscience, for they kept some of the Jewish commandments in secret; and in every town he forced the Jews to preach in the synagogue and to put under ban all who knew of any forced convert that he had given oil for illumination or money for any other purpose, to reveal the matter. The preachers preached in the synagogue in the presence of the king's scribes and adjured the people under oath to tell what they knew, for it was the king's wish that such matters be reported; hence those who did not reveal the names of such converts would be excommunicated. Alas, the sword of these bans consumed the Spanish [Jews], who were beset by afflictions and evils wherever they went.