Town Called ‘Death to Jews’ Resistant to Changing Its Name

A Jewish organization is petitioning to change the name of a small French town outside Paris to change its name, which they consider offensive. The town is called La-mort-aux-Juifs, which translates to “Death to Jews” in English. So it’s understandable why the organization might be a little peeved.

“[That the name] was unnoticed during seventy years since the liberation of France from the Nazis and Vichy is most shocking,” Shimon Samuels, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s international relations, wrote to France’s Interior Minister.

The hamlet itself consists only of a farm and two houses and is overseen Courtemaux, a village of 289 people. Courtemaux deputy mayor Marie-Elizabeth Secretand is less than enthusiastic about the idea of a name change.

“It’s ridiculous. This name has always existed,” she said. “No one has anything against the Jews, of course. It doesn’t surprise me that this is coming up again. Why change a name that goes back to the Middle Ages or even further? We should respect these old names.”

As she hints at, this isn’t the first time they’ve been petitioned to change the name of the town. About 20 years ago the municipal council denied a similar movement to change the name.

Samuels insist that the name change is more necessary now than ever, given a recent surge of violent anti-semitic acts due to the Israel-Palestine situation.

In a similar story, a Spanish town called Castrillo Matajudios (Little Hill Fort of Jew Killers) changed its name to Mota de Judios (Hill of the Jews) in May.

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