Segments in this Video

Five Hundred Years of Jewish Tradition (04:37)


In 1492, Catholic conquerors forced all Jews to leave Spain. Many of the Jews chose conversion rather than death. Jewish traditions from those times have often survived in families professing to be Catholics.

Jews and Muslims in Spain (02:34)

Jews had lived in Spain since the 4th century. In 711 Muslim forces captured Spain from its Christian rulers. Cordoba's mosque stands next to the Jewish Quarter. For hundreds of years, Jews lived in Spain under Muslim rule until the Reconquista in the 11th century.

Spain's Christian Conquerors (02:38)

Spain's Christian conquerors enlisted the help of the Jews to help them settle their new territories. Toledo becomes one of the great cultural centers of Europe. Descendants of Spain's Jews are subjects of some of El Greco's paintings.

Catholic Church: Jews Must Convert (03:36)

The Church maintained that Jews could be in positions of power at the heart of the Spanish court. The church said Jews must convert or be exiled. In the 13th century, the Church attempts to prove that Christians are superior to Jews.

Attack on the Jews in Spain (02:39)

Jews are accused of spreading the Bubonic Plague that sweeps through Europe in the 14th century. Many Jews are killed, and others renounce Judaism. This marks the end of civilian Jewery in Spain.

Jewish Community Diminishes (03:46)

By the end of 1391, most of the Jewish communities had been attacked. Only 1/3 of the Jewish population remains in Spain after that. In Zaragoza, the capital of Aragon, becomes the main Jewish center in Spain.

Catholic Church Claims Victory Over Jews (02:59)

In 1413, the Pope calls for a disputation during which the Church aims to prove that Jesus Christ had been born 14 centuries earlier. After 18 months, the Church claims victory, a signal to once again campaign against the Jews.

Conversos: Jews Who Convert to Christianity (03:51)

The true strength of the Jews in Spain resides in the countryside where the Jews continue their traditions. Even those who had converted (conversos) were welcome to live a Jewish way of life.

Ferdinand and Isabella Order the Inquisition (03:19)

The marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella marked the final stage of Jewish life in Spain, though some Jews served the royal couple in the palace. The Church orders an Inquisition be formed to deal with the problem of false "conversos."

Inquisition: Secret Procedures, Public Sentencing and Burnings (03:08)

In January 1481, the Inquisition begins, and during the seven years of the Inquisition, 750 men and women are burned alive. Everything is conducted in secret except sentencing, which is done in public to terrify other conversos into repenting.

Inquisition: Conversos Killed or Forced to Recant (03:36)

From February 1486 through May 1490, a hundred conversos are killed, and thousands of others are made to recant. The Grand Inquisitor, Tomas de Torquemada, set the stage for the expulsion of all Jews from Spain.

Expulsion of Jews From Spain (02:59)

In late 1491, when Granada succumbed to the Christian forces, the Reconquista was complete. By expelling Jews from Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella believed they would rule a united, Christian Spain. In March 1492, the royal couple signs the Edict of Expulsion.

Jewish Preparations for Their Exodus from Spain (03:03)

The Edict of Expulsion defined the routes the Jew would take and what they could take with them. They could take no money, animals, corn, or gunpowder. Jewish communal property was taken over by the Church

Jewish Exodus in May 1492 (03:35)

In May 1492, the Jewish exile begins. Ships were ordered to take them to North Africa, while other Jews traveled by foot to Portugal. Thousands left for other ports in the Mediterranean. After 1500 years in Spain, the Jews had 3 months to prepare for their departure.

Remnants of the Jewish Civilization in Spain (02:19)

The exile from Spain opened a new cycle in Jewish history. This segment includes a photo montage of remnants and artifacts of Jewish history in Spain.

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Many Latinos in the American Southwest wear amulets and perform certain practices different from their fellow Latino Catholics—and are discovering only now, to their great amazement, that they are descended from Jews who chose conversion rather than death at the time of the great expulsion from Spain in 1492. This program looks at remnants of what was once the great Jewish civilization in Spain: the artifacts, which were Christianized or destroyed, and the people, many of whom continued to practice elements of the religion and folklore of Judaism and for most of whom the memory of Jewishness has long since been extinguished. (50 minutes)

Length: 50 minutes

Item#: BVL3989

ISBN: 978-1-4213-9776-4

Copyright date: ©1992

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA.