In a bid to reconnect with its Jewish history, the city of Marchena in southern Spain organised an international reunion for foreigners named after it.
The two-day gathering began at the weekend in the city, near Seville. Organisers believe foreigners whose surnames are Marchena are predominantly descendants of Sephardic Jews, who fled during the Spanish Inquisition to escape the Church’s religious persecution.
A non-profit organisation, Sepharad-Legado Sefardí, arranged the event, First Journeys for the Jewish and Sephardic Memory of Marchena, along with the municipality.
Among those who accepted the invitation was Kenneth de Marchena, a Dutch Jew who was born on the Caribbean island of Curacao. He has spent years researching his family history and posted on social media that it was “beautiful to be back in the city with our family name”.