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Lost Manuscript of 1st Jew in Americas to Be Returned to Mexico

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image Marranos, or Jews in hiding, celebrate a secret Seder in a 1892 painting by Moshe Maimon. | Photo: Wikipedia

The manuscript includes the memoirs of Luis de Carvajal, a "converso" Jew who was imprisoned and tortured.

The oldest Jewish document of the New World will be returned to Mexico in March, the Mexican consulate in New York said on Friday, 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 the consulate.

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, Mexico's consulate in New York said.

The consulate said the manuscript would be returned to Mexico's Museum of Memory and Tolerance after its exhibition on March 12.

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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