Earliest Jewish manuscript in New World to return to Mexico

ByREUTERS
March 24, 2017 03:31

The manuscript was lent to the museum of the New York Historical Society by the government of Mexico after reportedly resurfacing on the auction circuit in 2015.

Earliest Jewish manuscript in New World to return to Mexico

The oldest Jewish document of the New World was returned to Mexico and presented in Mexico City on Thursday, more than seven decades after it disappeared.

The document, a 1595 autobiography of Luis de Carvajal, is considered to be an important artifact showing Jewish life on the American continent, but disappeared from Mexico's national archives more than 75 years ago, according to authorities.



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The manuscript was lent to the museum of the New York Historical Society by the government of Mexico after reportedly resurfacing on the auction circuit in 2015.

Luis de Carvajal, a "converso" Jew in Mexico, was put on trial during the Inquisition and executed in 1596, after he denounced more than 120 other secretly practicing Jews, according to the New York Historical Society.


The "Memorias" manuscript consists of Carvajal's memoirs, a book of psalms and commandments, and a collection of prayers.

The manuscript will be returned to Mexico's Museum of Memory and Tolerance after its exhibition.

According to Swann Galleries in New York, where the manuscript was on sale last June, Carvajal's wrote under a pseudonym and told of his Jewish faith.

After Carvajal was incarcerated, the auction house said, a cell mate exposed his manuscript whereupon Carvajal gave in under torture and was ultimately killed.

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