VITORIA


VITORIA, town in N. Spain, S.E. of Bilbao. Vitoria was founded in 1181 by King Sancho I of Portugal, the "City Builder" (1185–1211), and destroyed by fire in 1202. The town recovered in the days of Alfonso *X (1252–84) of Castile, and it appears that the Jews helped to develop it anew. The Jewish quarter was situated in the eastern part of the city, along the battlements. Isaac ibn *Ẓadok (Çag de la Maleha) was a tax farmer there in 1276. Toward the end of the 13th century the community was one of the moderately important Castile communities. Little is known about the community in the 14th century. In 1439 Don Shem Tov ibn Naḥmias collected dues from the fairs held in the Basque country and taxes from the whole of Castile. From 1482 the anti-Jewish decrees issued by the Cortes of *Toledo (1480) were put into effect in Vitoria also. Nevertheless, the crown often intervened on behalf of the Jews there, granting them a charter of protection as late as 1488. Following the edict of expulsion (May 1492), the community leaders of Vitoria negotiated with the municipal authorities regarding the fate of Jewish communal property. The Jewish cemetery was given to the town council, which undertook to take care of it and never to build on it. The place was subsequently known as the Judimendi ("Jews' Mount"). The synagogue was also given to the town council and turned into a school. In July 1492 the majority of the Jews of Vitoria left the town for nearby Navarre. In order to speed up their assimilation, in 1493 the Conversos who had remained were scattered throughout the town and not allowed to live in a separate quarter. In 1952, the Jews of *Bayonne, descendants of the Jews of Vitoria, reached an agreement with the town releasing it from its duties toward former Jewish property. The remains in the old cemetery were collected and reburied in a common grave, with a monument to commemorate the old community of Vitoria.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Baer, Toledot, index; Baer, Urkunden, 2 (1936), index; M. Kayserling, Geschichte der Juden in Navarra… (1861), 116–32, 213; J. Amador de los Rios, Historia… de los judíos de España y Portugal, 2 (1876, repr. 1960), 130; Sefarad, 12 (1952), 442–3; Suárez Fernández, Documentos, index.

[Haim Beinart]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.