Spain and the Jews in the Second World War

How many Jewish refugees from the Nazis did Spain admit? Was Spain’s conduct generous because Francisco Franco, the all-powerful general who in 1940 had recently won a thirty-month civil war, had Jewish ancestry?

The second question is more easily dealt with. Franco’s Jewish ancestry was rumoured and was reported by Sir Robert Hodgson, a British diplo? matic agent to Franco’s government in the latter part of the Spanish Civil War,1 and repeated by Sir Samuel Hoare, the British ambassador in Madrid during the Second World War.2 The Nazis ordered an investigation into Franco’s ancestry, which was, unsurprisingly, inconclusive, given that it is hardly likely that facilities would have been made available in Spain to the Nazis for this purpose.3 General Franco may well have been descended from Jews, as may many other Spaniards. After all, most of the Jews of Spain were converted to Christianity in the fifteenth century, and

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