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    Jorge Sampaio

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    September 18, 1939 – September 10, 2021

    When we learned about the Spanish Inquisition in school, the story always ended with "the Jews were kicked out of Spain and went to Portugal". And the teacher moved on, because the quota of Jewish topics for that semester had been filled.

    But what happened in Portugal? Was it the new land of milk and honey (ewww) and manna from the sky (seriously, ewww)?

    Not exactly. Jews were granted freedom, alright... for all of five years, after which the king changed his mind. Enter the Portuguese Inquisition! (No one ever suspects the Portuguese Inquisition.) Jews were forced to convert or leave the country. So leave the country many did.

    Eventually, some made their way back, but Portugal's Jewish community is not exactly thriving. For example, Jorge Sampaio, the country's president from 1996 to 2006, had a Jewish grandmother. Although he is proud of his ancestry, Sampaio does not consider himself a Jew.

    So where did Jews go after being kicked out of Portugal?

    Let's just say that it didn't go too well, wherever they went...

    Verdict: Barely a Jew.

    November 14, 2013

    See Also

    Ferdinand Magellan

    Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa

    Helmut Schmidt

    Pedro Teixeira

    Tomas de Torquemada
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