The Mezuzah in the Madonna's Foot: Oral Histories Exploring Five Hundred Years in the Paradoxical Relationship of Spain and the Jews

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Simon & Schuster, 1993 - Всего страниц: 316
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Tortured and burned at the stake during the Inquisition - after 700 years of peaceful coexistence with Christians and Moors during the Golden Age - all surviving Jews who refused to convert were expelled from Spain in 1492 and were not allowed to set foot on Spanish soil for more than four centuries. Yet during World War II - when most Allied and neutral nations, including the United States, closed their eyes as well as their borders - thousands of Jews fleeing from the Holocaust were able to survive because they were granted sanctuary in Spain. The astonishing story of how Jews found asylum from Hitler's Final Solution under Franco's Fascist regime is one of the startling paradoxes of that terrible time - so improbable and controversial that it has gone largely ignored until now. In The Mezuzah in the Madonna's Foot, Trudi Alexy lets us hear at firsthand the harrowing accounts of Jewish refugees who braved the forbidding trek across the Pyrenees during the worst period of Nazi persecution, and of their rescuers in Spain who put their own lives in danger to save and sustain them. Whether it is in the memories of Nina Mitrani, who as a bride of eighteen followed alone after her husband's escape into Spain (where she remains to this day); or Lisa Fittko, who helped smuggle the ailing Walter Benjamin to safety only to learn of the famed German-Jewish writer's suicide soon there-after; or Renee Reichmann, whose heroic rescue operation in behalf of Hungarian Jews has been likened to that of Raoul Wallenberg, this extraordinary oral history bears eloquent witness to the complex, contradictory relationship between Spain and the Jews and to the generosity and kindness extended by ordinarySpanish citizens, the clergy, local police, and government officials in behalf of a people who had been so long barred from their land. The author began this book as an exploration into her own past, hoping to reconnect to the Jewish heritage she was deprived of as a child when her thoroughly assimilated family fled during World War II from Prague to Paris, and then hid in Barcelona as hastily baptized Catholics, before finally emigrating to the United States. Her search for her lost birthright lasted more than four years and led Trudi Alexy to speak with sixty people in five countries on three continents. Along the way she discovered her own mystical kinship with the Marranos, Spain's "Secret Jews", who lived as Catholics in name only and passed on to their descendants both their hidden ancient Jewish traditions and their fear of being found out. She examines too the experiences of the present-day descendants of the Marranos who followed Columbus to the New World. Nearly 500 years later in the American Southwest, they still hold on to their Christian cover while concealing their Jewish identities. The book ends with a candid interview with Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia about the paradoxical relationship of Spain and the Jews.

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THE MEZUZAH IN THE MADONNA'S FOOT: Oral Histories Exploring 500 Years in the Paradoxical Relationship of Spain and the Jews

Пользовательский отзыв  - Kirkus

A compelling, multidimensional look at Judaism and Spain—a land infamous for its medieval anti-Semitism but as yet unheralded as a haven from Hitler. Alexy (a family therapist specializing in art ... Читать весь отзыв

LibraryThing Review

Пользовательский отзыв  - dickmanikowski - LibraryThing

It just didn't grab me enough to compete with other books on my to-read list. Читать весь отзыв

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Foreword 11
ii
A Jewish Identity
21
Girlhood in Prague
23
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Об авторе (1993)

Trudi Alexy, 1927-2004, was also the author of"The Mezuzah in the Madonna's Foot: Marranos and Other Secret Jews". Searching for her own Jewish identity, Alexy researched, wrote, and lectured on hidden Jews in many countries.

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