capital of Spain.
[Muslim stronghold -
Christian occupation in 1083]
Mentioned as a Moorish stronghold, it was a tiny town in
the Middle Ages. A small Jewish community existed there in
the 11th century. Most of the Jews there were apparently
merchants during the Muslim period. Nearby was located the
small town of Alluden, whose name is derived from the
Arabic al Yahudyin (al-Yahūdyīn) ("the Jews"). Madrid was
captured from the Muslims by Alfonso VI in 1083.
The Community's Status.
The community began to flourish during the 13th century,
the Jewish quarter being located on the present Calle de
la Fé ("Street of the Faith").
The synagogue, which was destroyed during the persecutions
of 1391 (see below), was situated next to the church of
San Lorenzo. In 1293 a copy of the resolutions passed by
the Cortes in Valladolid was sent to Madrid, in which
Sancho IV ratified a series of restrictions concerning the
Jews. They were barred from holding official
positions, the rate of usury they were permitted to charge
was defined, and they were prohibited from acquiring real
estate from Christians or from selling them properties
already acquired, among other limitations.
In 1307, when Ferdinand VI confirmed these prohibitions at
the Cortes in Valladolid, a copy of them was passed to
Madrid. They were endorsed by Alfonso XI in 1329. A
directive from the time of *Asher b. Jehiel (early 14th
century) permitting action to be taken against an
*informer who had harmed the community is extant (Asher b.
Jehiel, Responsa, Constantinople (1517), ch. 17, no. 6).
The Jews of Madrid owned goods and real estate in the town
and its environs. In 1385 John I acceded to the request of
the Cortes and delivered a copy of its resolutions to
Madrid. He then imposed a series of restrictions
concerning the relations between Jews and Christians,
prohibiting Jews from holding official positions,
canceling debts owed them by Christians for 15 months, and
abrogating the right to acquire stolen goods, among other
Expulsion. [massacres and conversions in 1391 -
impoverished new community]
The persecutions of 1391 were disastrous for the Madrid
community. Most of its (col. 682)
members were massacred, some adopted Christianity, and
community life came to an end. The municipal authorities,
in a report sent to the Crown, complained of the pueblo menudo
("little people") who continued the rioting and pillaging
for a whole year. Several of the rioters were arrested and
tried, but many escaped justice. Apparently the community
was later reestablished, although it was greatly
badge - job restrictions]
During the early 1460s, *Alfonso de Espina preached in
Madrid against the *Conversos. It was there that he turned
to *Alfonso de Oropesa, the head of the Order of St.
Jerome, to enlist his support in eradicating judaizing
tendencies among them. In 1478 the municipal council
complained that the Jews and the Moors there were not
wearing a distinctive sign (*badge). The Crown answered
the complaint on November 12 and ordered that the
offenders should be punished in the prescribed manner. On
February 2, Ferdinand and Isabella renewed the restriction
issued by John II in 1447 which prohibited the Jews of
Madrid from trading in foodstuffs and medicaments and from
practicing as surgeons.
[Expulsion of Spain in
No details are known as to how the community fared after
the decree of expulsion of the Jews from Spain was issued
in March 1492. However, on Oct. 7, 1492, Ferdinand and
Isabella ordered an investigation into reports of attacks
on local Jews by various persons who had promised to
assist them in reaching the frontiers in order to go to
the kingdoms of Fez and Tlemcen. On Nov. 8, Fernando Nuńez
Coronel (Abraham *Senior) and Luis de Alcalá were
authorized to collect the debts still owing to Jews.
The Conversos. [show
trials in Madrid (autos-da-fé)]
Several Conversos of Madrid were tried by the Inquisition.
They were at first tried in Toledo; however, in 1561 when
Madrid became the capital of the kingdom during the reign
of Philip II, the supreme tribunal of the kingdom was
established there and subsequently numerous *autos-da-fé
were held in the city. During the 17th century, many
Portuguese Conversos were tried there and one of the large
autos-da-fé in this period has been painted by Rizzi de
Guevara. During the 1630s, Jacob *Cansino negotiated with
the Conde-Duque de Olivares concerning the possible return
of the Jews to Madrid, after the example of the Jewish
community in Rome. However, the talks had no results
because of opposition from the Inquisition.
Throughout this period, Madrid was the principal center of
the activities of the Portuguese Conversos, several of
whom were connected with the court, while others developed
diversified business enterprises and maintained relations
with the Converso centers outside the Iberian Peninsula.
Community. [constitution of 1869 - Jews from North
Africa - Jews from Europe - community since 1920 -
refugees of WWI - refugees from NS territories].
Jewish settlement in Madrid was gradually renewed from
1869, with the conferment of the constitution and the
arrival of Jews from North Africa, who were joined by
Jewish immigrants from Europe. However, it was only during
the 1920s that a community was organized. During World War
I, Madrid gave asylum to a number of refugees, and Max
*Nordau and A.S. *Yahuda, who lectured there in Semitic
philology, lived there during this period.
Among the first Jews to settle in Madrid was the Bauer
family, whose members played an important part in the
organization and development of the community. The law of
1924 which granted citizenship to individuals of Spanish
descent encouraged the further development of the
community, and in the early 1930s there was an addition of
refugees from Nazi Germany. During the Spanish Civil
War, the community underwent much suffering and most of
its members dispersed.
[Cultural life and
institutions in Madrid]
In 1941, the Arias Montano Institute for Jewish Studies
was founded and a department of Jewish studies headed by
Professor Francisco Cantera-Burgos was organized within
the University of Madrid. It was later headed by Professor
F. Perez Castro. Madrid also gave asylum to war refugees,
who were supported by the *American Jewish Joint
Distribution Committee. After the war, the community began
reorganization. A synagogue was founded in Calle del
Cardinal Cisneros. In 1958, a Jewish center with a
synagogue was opened. In 1959, while the representative of
the World Sephardi Federation, Yair Behar Passy, was
visiting Madrid, an exhibition of Jewish culture in Spain
was held at the National Library of Madrid.
An Institute for Jewish, Sephardi, and Near Eastern
Studies was founded jointly by the Higher Council for
Scientific Research and the World Sephardi Federation in
1961. (In 1968 the institute amalgamated with the Arias
Montano Institute). Within the framework of the institute,
the first symposium on Spanish Jewry was held in Madrid in
1964. Leaders of the Madrid community in the late 1960s
included A. Bauer, H. Cohen, L. Blitz, and M. Mazin (the
president of the community).
In that year [] the community numbered over 3,000.
It served as a center for Jewish students from abroad
coming to study in Madrid. Some Jewish immigrants from
North Africa have been integrated within the Madrid
community. In 1968 the community inaugurated its new
communal center and synagogue.
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in Madrid, vol. 11, col.
683, synagogue inaugurated in 1968: One of the two
synagogues of the
Madrid community center, opened in 1968. The center also
comprises a kindergarten, school, kosher restaurant,
a club, and community offices. Photo: M. Ninio,
Dr. B. Garzon was appointed first rabbi of the community,
which had a recognized school and a Jewish scout movement.
See also *Spain.
-- Baer: Spain, 2 (1966), index
-- Baer: Documents (orig. German: "Urkunden"), 2 (1929),
-- Fita; in: Bulletin of History Academy of Madrid (orig.
Spanish: "Boletín de la Academia de la Historia"), Madrid,
8 (1885), 439-66
-- F. Cantera: Spanish synagogues (orig. Spanisch:
"Sinagogas espańolas") (1955), 241-2
-- R.T. Davies: Spain in Decline (1957), 76-77
-- AJYB [American Jewish Year Book], 63 (1962), 318-22
-- J. Gomez Iglesias (ed.): Law in Madrid (orig. Spanisch:
"El Fuero de Madrid") (1963)
-- Suárez Fernández: Documents (Span.: Documentos), index
-- Ashtor: Korot, 2 (1966), 145
-- H. Beinart: Ha-Yishuv ha-Yehudi he-Ḥadash bi-Sefarad
(1969).> (col. 684)