The Spanish Exile and the Holocaust: A Study in Jewish Spiritual Response to Catastrophe

By Eliezer Schweid

Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, 1990

Comparing the expulsion from Spain and the Holocaust seems impossible. Yet, some fundamental similarities do exist. In both cases Jews penetrated the country's economic, social and political networks, while they weren't really assimilated within its people. These things led to the rise of racial anti-Semitism. Yet, the Jewish leadership showed an inability to foresee the future calamity, while the regime tried to give a solution to the "Jewish Problem". In terms of Jewish spirituality, there were some prominent differences after the tragedy. While after the expulsion from Spain Jewish rabbinic leadership was not undermined, and the Jewish Kehillah rehabilitated, the Holocaust marked the destruction of the Jewish Kehillah organization in Germany and Eastern Europe. This process may have stemmed from the fact that after the Holocaust the political situation of the Jewish people as a whole was changed, while the expulsion from Spain affected mainly the Spanish community. The author finishes with a discussion about the nature of memory of both catastrophes, emphasizing the "never again" reaction to the Holocaust, that should provide the motivation for Jewish identity, and the source of its will to continue living and creating as Jews.

Topic: Jewish-Christian Relations, History, Antisemitism, Sephardic Jews, Spirituality, Shoah, Holocaust, Zionism

Name of Publication: The Expulsion from Spain and the Holocaust: The Jewish Community's Response

Page Number(s): 1-17

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Genre: Article

Coverage: Diaspora , Israel , Spain

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Schweid, Eliezer. The Spanish Exile and the Holocaust: A Study in Jewish Spiritual Response to Catastrophe. The Expulsion from Spain and the Holocaust: The Jewish Community's Response. Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. 1990: 1-17. http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=10828


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