You are now entering the Jewish Currents archive.

May 18: The Inquisition’s Oldest Victim

May 19, 2013

spanish_InquisitionThe oldest victim of the Spanish Inquisition, Maria Barbara Carillo, was burned at the stake for heresy in Madrid on this date in 1721. She was 95 years old. Carillo belonged to a large family of descendants of forcibly baptized Jews and was sentenced to death for heresy, for allegedly practicing Judaism in secret. Burned at the same auto-da-fé were Antonio Carillo, 55; Ana Maria de Morales, his wife, 56; and several others who may have been Maria Barbara Carillo's relatives. Another Carillo, Gaspar, the son of Antonio and Ana Maria, was "reconciled" and sentenced to seven years as an enslaved oarsman in the royal navy, to be followed by imprisonment. At the time of Maria Barbara Carillo's burning, the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition had been functioning in Spain for 270 years. It would not be definitively abolished until 1834. According to Inquisition records, children as young as 11 were sentenced to life imprisonment for "Judaizing." To watch Mel Brooks replace horror with richly choreographed bad taste, see below.

"An estimated 31,912 heretics were burned at the stake, 17,659 were burned in effigy [most were already dead] and 291,450 made reconciliations in the Spanish Inquisition." —Jewish Virtual Library