The oldest Jewish document of the New World will be returned to Mexico in March, more than seven decades after it disappeared.
The document, a 1595 autobiography of Luis de Carvajal, is considered to be an important artefact showing Jewish life on the American continent but it disappeared from Mexico’s national archives more than 75 years ago, according to the Mexican consulate in New York.
It resurfaced on auction markets in London and New York in 2015 and 2016, and was subsequently lent to the museum of the New York Historical Society by the Mexican government.
Spanish-born Luis de Carvajal was put on trial during the 16th-century Inquisition in Spain’s colony of Mexico, suspected of being a Jew. While in prison he began writing a memoir in which he called himself Joseph Lumbroso, or Joseph the Enlightened. He was from a family of “converso” Jews who had converted to Catholicism.
Carvajal’s “Memorias” manuscript consists of his memoirs, a book of psalms and commandments, and a collection of prayers, Mexico’s consulate in New York said.
According to Swann Galleries in New York, where the manuscript was on sale last June, after Carvajal was incarcerated a cell mate exposed his work, whereupon Carvajal gave in under torture and was ultimately executed.
He was burned at the stake in 1596, aged 30, after he had denounced more than 120 other secretly practising Jews, according to the New York Historical Society.
The consulate said the manuscript would be returned to Mexico’s Museum of Memory and Tolerance after its exhibition on 12 March.Monday, March 06, 2017