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

Trudi Alexy, Author Simon & Schuster $23 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-77816-3
When Hitler annexed Austria in 1938, Alexy, then 10, and her Jewish family fled Prague to Paris, then to Barcelona where they lived as converts to Catholicism before emigrating to the U.S. in 1941. Now a Los Angeles family therapist, the author spent the last four years reconnecting with her Jewish roots through trips to Spain, Israel, Canada, Mexico and Brazil. She interviewed Jewish refugees who had sought shelter in Spain during WW II, as well as ordinary Spaniards who risked their own lives to rescue, shelter and sustain Jews fleeing Hitler and Mussolini. Alexy identified strongly with Spain's Marranos or Secret Jews--Catholics in name only, who ived in constant fear of the medieval Inquisition--so she tracked down direct descendants of the Marranos in the American Southwest. Their startling testimonies, as well as scholarly studies reviewed here, claim that many Sephardic Jews, harboring deep-seated fears of persecution, still practice today as Marranos, maintaining a dual religious status, in places from New Mexico to the Netherlands. Jewish Book Club alternate. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 324 pages - 978-0-595-41159-7
Paperback - 316 pages - 978-0-06-060340-3
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