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SAINT-JEAN-DE-LUZ, town in the Basses-Pyrenées department, S.W. France. There is no record of the presence of Jews in Saint-Jean during the Middle Ages; it was only from the 16th century that a number of Marranos settled there. In 1612 an official submitted a report to the Conseil d'Etat, notifying it of the presence of a large colony of Marranos. In 1619 Catherine de Fernandés, a woman who had recently arrived from Portugal, was accused of having spat at the Host when she went to receive communion. In spite of the criminal investigation conducted by the royal prosecutor, the populace seized the accused and burned her at the stake in the town square. At the same time a priest of Portuguese origin was also accused of being a crypto-Jew and of having been chosen as priest by a large number of Portuguese New Christians who, in fact, conducted themselves more like Jews than Christians. All the Portuguese New Christians were expelled from Saint-Jean, apparently fleeing to Biarritz.


M. Philippson, in: Archives Israélites, 29 (1868), 1115–17; H. Prague, in: Annuaire des Archives Israélites 5663, 19 (1902), 37–52.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.