Translated Texts: Sultan Bayazid el segundo i los djudios desterados de Espanya
Translation of Albert Levy’s piece about the expulsion of Jews from Spain and their reception by Sultan Bayazid. Translated by Ashley Bobman.
The more fortunate of the exiled,
the Jews expelled from Spain,
sheltered themselves in Turkey,
away from death and tyranny.
The glorious Sultan Bayazid II,
famous then in all the world,
received the Jews “with open arms”
in the lands of the Ottoman Empire.
Sultan Bayazid showed himself to be pious,
more intelligent, prudent, and ingenious,
than all the Christian princes
concerning the life of our brothers.
He understood the value of the unfortunate ones,
the treasures that they had preserved,
neither in their bags nor in their stomachs,
but in the drawers of their fine minds.
He realized the very serious benefit
that it was going to be for his empire,
the progress and the prosperity
that was going to result in each city.
He made fun of the absurd idea
of the accursed and ugly inquisition,
of the queen, of the priest Torkemada,
for their terrible and bad decision.
Of the King Ferdinand he made fun
for exiling the Jews,
an intelligent and beneficial people,
a proud and hardworking people.
Sultan Bayazid always remarked
and to his court this he declared,
“Ferdinand impoverished his own country,
and mine he very much enriched.”
The Jews praised and lauded
this monarch for his favors,
rights, and privileges accorded to them,
and he looked upon them with eyes of piety.
He sent an official “decree”
to the European provinces, in general,
commanding all of the governors
to not expel the Spanish refugees,
to receive them with sweetness and affability,
to give them shelter in any city,
to treat them as peaceful citizens
so that they live happily and with content.
Therefore, thanks to this sovereign,
so good, sweet, and very humane,
the expelled Jews from Spain
began to live better days.
Thousands established themselves in Turkey,
forming a grand family,
organizing themselves in various communities,
and displaying effort and activity.
They opened schools, they founded synagogues,
they organized various institutions;
in short time they witnessed success,
making noteworthy progress.
The Jews in the Ottoman Empire
made a super-human effort;
they created an Eastern Spain
in their private and national lives.
Leaving Spain, leaving the inferno,
sheltered under the pious government,
they progressed, their status rose,
earning quite elevated positions.
The Spain of today feels regret
for the terrible expulsion,
for the inquisition of accursed memory
that remains blackened in history.
The Spain of today realizes the mistake
and it proclaims with a sincere heart
that their country was impoverished
since the Jews established themselves in Turkey.
The Spain of today has a strong desire
to see the Hebrew people
return to their country, like before,
and make huge progress.
Until now numerous attempts,
serious, repeated, and enthusiastic,
were made by politicians
for the return of our brothers.
King Alfonso, the current monarch,
as well as Pulido, the intelligent senator,
have made repeated calls
to well considered Sephardic people.
King Alfonso recently
declared to Mr. Rozanes that which follows:
“it is my desire that the exiled Jews
return to my lands, [and] live restfully.”
“They are faithful, active, and zealous;
they should forget the tragic memories:
come to Spain, live in the peace,
without having troubles or more anguish.”
Even after more than four centuries of exile,
the Sephardim, as we are known today,
cannot erase the sad and accursed inquisition
from the nation.
We speak Spanish, this we maintain,
we keep traditions and customs,
but, the past is unforgettable,
since it was a tremendous blow.