“Dutch Tzedakah” - Stories of righteous ones in the Netherlands - Saving Jews from the Nazis

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Chapter 3

The Sephardic Hebrew’s

The Middle Ages produced two identifiable groups of Hebrew’s (Jews), each having a distinct way of life, literature, and philosophy, but both having the same faith in the One God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In Spain Jews were know to have arrived by around the year 500 AD for there is a well known head stone known as the Trilingual Headstone, which is in first in Hebrew, followed by Greek and Latin. The stone is from the 6th.centuty to the tomb of a young Jewess named “Meliosa,” being the daughter of Yahuda and Miriam, bearing testimony to the presence of Jews living in Sevile at the time of the *Visigoths.

The Trilingual Headstone

*A member of the western Goths that invaded the Roman Empire in the fourth century a.d. and settled in France and Spain, establishing a monarchy that lasted until the early eighth century.

There was one-way of life dominant from around 600 AD, whilst another came into being later. The first of the Jewish groups were known as the Sephardic, or Spanish Judaism, then later came the Ashkenazi, or German - Eastern European Jews. The Sephardi Jews being the older and more sophisticated group, were famed for their vitality in teaching and learning, especially during the Middle Ages. Many great Hebrew scholars were produced in Spain and Portugal, some of who would later settle in the Netherlands.

Faithful Jews gathered together around their rabbi to learn from the Scriptures

Called in Hebrew the Torah (Five Books of Moses) and the Tanach (the writings, Psalms and the Prophets)

Earlier, under Roman rule, Hebrew life in Spain was reasonable. Later Muslims ruled part of Spain, whilst the Roman “Christians” governed the rest. Under Muslim rule the Children of Israel lived happily and safely, for Islam respected Israel's faith in “One God.” With the Roman Christians, the Hebrew’s did not fare at all well, although there was the exception to the rule. The first restrictions were imposed on the Hebrew population by the first Christian king, Reccared l, 586 to 601. He formally announced that he had converted to the Roman Catholic faith and established it as the religion of the state. For some of the Spanish population this would have a positive effect. For the Hebrew community the effect was immediate. Some time later persecution generally abated under the just rule of Swinthila, 621 to 631. Hebrew’s that had left owing to the previous hardships now returned to their homes, and those who had been forced into the Roman Catholic faith by Reccared, returned to their fold. However, all too soon, Sisinand, who acted on the Bishop’s orders, overthrew Swinthila. He re-enforced all previous restrictions on the Children of Israel. In this manner, life continued for the Hebrew’s in Spain, never knowing what their fate would be tomorrow. Years later after various restrictions and persecutions, the scene became even more ugly.

In the thirteenth century more and more restriction were imposed on the Jews in Spain and Synagogues were taken away and were converted into churches.

One of the large Synagogues that was stolken and turned into a church

On Ash Wednesday, March 15 1391, a mob broke into the Jewish quarter of Seville. The Governor of the city had two of the leaders of the mob seized and publicly whipped. This action only angered the mob even more. On the 6th, the population surrounded the Jewish quarter and the carnage started. Four thousand Jewish, men, women, and children were brutally murdered.

Here we see what is left of the ancient Jewish quarter

Soon enough Jewish homes were plundered and burned to the ground. Some were forced into christening in order to save their lives. As it was said, “Between fire and blood, some chose the waters of baptism” whist other chose death! In Cardova the entire Jewish quarter was burned down and a further two thousand perished by the brutal hands of so-called “Christian” Spain. The rampage continued. In Ecijca and Carmona and not one single Jew survived. Corpses were scattered in the streets as far as the eyes could see. Then, on the fast day of the seventeenth of Tammuz, June 20, a frightful butchery took place in Toledo. Here again, some chose christening rather than death. The same scene occurred in over seventy Castilian towns. During this rampant holocaust, over fifty thousand Jews were massacred, while those that had now been christened numbered many thousands. During this time, the only safety for the Children of Israel, in dispersion was in areas governed by the Muslims and they were willing to protect them as brothers!

Jews that were forced to accept the Roman Catholic faith hated christianity with all their heart and soul, for they knew it was a religion of pure hatred and that these evil people would murder babies and children and their enforcers would in the name of their Jesus do hideous unmentionable things and then force the to be christened. Thus they longed to throw away the hideous and murderous the mask of Catholicism. Some were fortunate to escape to Granada, Portugal or North Africa, where they speedily rejoined their beloved Synagogues. The majority, however, who were compelled to remain in Spain, secretly lived a Jewish life as far as it was possible, fulfilling the obligations of the faith of their fathers, whilst in public demeaning themselves as Roman Catholics. The people of Spain hated these fictitious Christians or Crypto-Jews, and called them “Maranos,” or “the accursed.” Ironically, they would be even more hated than those who were openly true to their Jewish faith.

By the fifteenth century, some Jews had, in spite of all things, found favour and even very high positions. During the reign of Henry IV of Castile, 1454 to 1474, and John II of Aragon 1458 to 1479, Jewish physicians attended them. They were Jacob Ibn Numez whom Henry named Chief Rabbi of Castile, and Abiathar Ibn Crescas, who restored King John's eyesight by two skilful operations. During this time, reason once again prevailed, but not for long. Upon the death of Henry, Isabella mounted the throne of Castile in 1474. Ferdinand her consort was proclaimed, King of Castile. Five years later, Ferdinand succeeded his father in Aragon and practically the whole of Christian Spain was united. Isabella was a zealous Roman Catholic, and was extremely bigoted. Suspecting the “Maranos,” a bill was issued on November 1, 1478, with the full blessing of yet another evil and ungodly Pope, authorising the “Inquisition.” Many Maranos fled from Seville, Cardova, and Toledo to Cadiz. Even though the local Governor would gladly have protected them, he was ordered by the Inquisitors to return them to Seville. February 6, 1481 brought in the first so-called “act of faith” (Auto da fe), with six men and women being burned at the stake. By the end of October some three hundred had perished in this way, while some eighty had been imprisoned for life. All possessions were taken into the royal coffers. Believe it or not, but even dead Jews were not spared. They were formally charged with having relapsed to their Jewish faith, their bones were exhumed and committed to the flames, while their estates were confiscated. Those who had fled the land were burned in effigy, so great was the madness of the Roman (Babylonian-pagan) Church in Spain.

Throughout Europe, there were groups of Christians, who rejected by the corrupt Church of Rome. These faithful Christians also felt the evil hand of Romanism in their communities. They, together with the Jewish People were burnt at the stake, or were drowned because these Christians believed in “adult immersion (baptism).” These courageous believers were known as “the Protesters” or “Baptisers.” Yet, their Roman Catholic persecutors were supposed to be Christian and follow Jesus’ example. However, history proves that they, especially the popes seldom lived according to the commandments and teaching Christ. Yet, his teaching s so clearly recorded for them in the New Testament.

“Blessed are the Merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the Pure in Heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God” Matthew 5: 7-9.

The New Covenant makes it quite clear that in the end time, Rome the “city of the seven hills”, is clearly identified with “the harlot,” the “the beast,” “dripping with blood of the saints,” who shall be “utterly be cut off” and destroyed in the end as will be all her followers and cohorts, unless they repent and “return to the Almighty in Spirit and in Truth!”

“Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty.” Malachi 3:7.

According to prophecy, Israel would be scattered and hunted by their enemies, in this case, by a group who called themselves “the Church.” It is no wonder that Yahushua, Jesus (his original Hebrew name = Yahushua) the New Testament declares these persecutors as “Tares” or “Heathen.” Righteous ones are known as the “Wheat of the Harvest.” In fact, this is based on an excellent Hebrew parable, and much can be learned from it unto this day.

According to the book of Matthew, Jesus spoke about this counterfeit wheat, the “tares.” It needs to be understood that the “tare” when still a sapling looks just like - wheat. However when it is fully grown it is deadly poisonous. Thus those who called themselves Christians but, behaved otherwise, were in fact “tares” and are deadly poisonous, as history has so clearly proved.

A righteous follower of Jesus will uphold his words and pray for those that come against them, and would not murder, but uphold Jesus’ words, and live to serve him, thus being “Merciful, pure in heart and be a peacemaker.”

Part Two of this book deals with individuals who by conduct and actions prove themselves to be, “Righteous” and “Christian” in the true sense of that word!

The question must be asked, “Who was to blame for the crazed outbursts against Israel?” The LORD God? … Israel? … Or, was it those who perpetrated the evil attacks against, Jewish men, women, and children?

The answer is not a simple one. Israel, the people of God, had the Torah, the Holy Scriptures, and Commandments from days of old. Israel was clearly warned by YHVH (the LORD) the result of disobedience. Prophet after prophet warned Israel, to, “Turn (return) again unto the LORD” with the promise that “God would return unto them,” and bless them. However, at that time, as the prophet Jeremiah stated in his book, they did not return, and Israel and Judah was carried off to Assyria and Babylon. Later still, Israel was driven to the “four corners of the earth.” Israel must therefore carry a share of the blame, due to the mere fact that, through the sin of disobedience and sin Israel (temporally) lost the Land of Inheritance.” However, God did not give licence to “Ha Goyim - the Nations,” to hate, persecute and murder His people. This they did by their own evil doings and their punishment has been made quite clear in the Scriptures

“As you have done unto them (unto Israel) so shall I do unto you” Obadiah 1: 15.

For Israel, the lesson is clearly given unto them in the Torah. An analogy is found in the book of Exodus, which shows that Egypt the land of bondage scripturally is a type, a picture of Sin, while Pharaoh is a picture of the evil ones who stand against the true God of all Creation! Moses typifies the Redeemer, the promised Moshiach (Messiah), and Israel, the Land of Promise, a true picture of Hope, Salvation, and Resurrection. Israel has the Word of God, and they must remain faithful to it at all times, keeping Torah (the Law). For YHVH (the LORD), blessed be His Holy Name, redeemed His people out of bondage from Egypt.

Indeed, the dispersion was due to Israel's sins, but all the evil that was laid upon them will be dealt with on judgement day. All people, without exception, be they a king, or subject, if they hated, robbed, hurt, murdered even one Jew they will have Scripturally done so to their own detriment.

YHVH (the LORD), blessed be His Holy Name, clearly said that all enemies of Israel, who pursue evil against them, will suffer as much as they have made Israel suffer.

“He that pursues evil will pursue it to his own death” Proverbs 11: 19.

“As you have done it unto Israel, so will it be done unto you” Obadiah, verse 15.


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