Jewish missionary activity in Portugal between the Wars

Between 1925 and 1938 an attempt was made to convert the Anusim or secret Jews of Portugal to open Judaism, by establishing Jewish missions in Portugal. The man who initiated this movement was my late father, Wilfred S. Samuel. He had joined the London Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation and become an enthusiastic student of its early history. In 1924 he published a monograph, his first, on ‘The First London Synagogue of the Resettlement’,1 which was built in 1657 by Antonio Fernandes Carvajal (or Carvalhal) from Fund?o in Portugal.

In August 1924 Wilfred Samuel read a news item in the Jewish Chronicle reporting that Jacob Meir, the Sephardi Chief Rabbi in Jerusalem, had received an enquiry from some Portuguese Marranos who wanted to convert to open Judaism. He therefore wrote to Albert Hyamson, an official in the British Mandatory Government in Jerusalem, and asked him if he could get a

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