Campaign of the Month: August 2011
Le Ballet de l'Acier
Marranos – Iberian Jewish converts to Christianity – were invited to settle in the French city of Bordeaux early in the sixteenth century, to rebuild the economic life of the city and the region following the long war with England. Many of the Marranos maintained a façade of Christianity while continuing to practice Judaism in private; this was quietly tolerated by the leaders of the community due to the importance of the Marranos to the economy.
Officially Jews in France are not permitted to assemble or even speak to their Christian neighbors, as affirmed by an edict issued by Louis XIII in 1615, but the “Portuguese merchants,” as nominal Christians, continue to live as the king’s subjects, including a small community in Paris itself.