La Prensa - Column
For April 6, 2008
Secrets of Our Forefathers
Writer: Dell F. Sanchez
I would like to continue with my previous title, “In search of our forefathers” but focus more on their secrets. This column will enlighten you on the fact that the forefathers we are searching for are descendants of the survivors of the infamous Inquisitions in Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Latin America and yes, even New Mexico.
I want to go on record by declaring that these “Inquisitions” were not subtle prejudices that hardly go unnoticed or domesticated racial profiling. These Inquisitions were treacherous and made ample use of torture in order to force our forefathers to convert to “Christianity” because they were Jewish descendants from Spain. I need to emphasize that history proves that the version of “Christianity” that was represented here was Roman Catholicism.
Once they succeeded with such conversions, they were forced to eat pork (needless to say this is totally un-kosher) and then they were called Marranos which we all know means swine, hog, pig, puerco, cerdo and so forth. This label was placed on many of our forefathers during the vicious days of the Inquisitions. However, other terms were also used to depict a converted Jew, whether they were sincere or insincere about such conversion. A few of them are Converso (a Convert) and Nuevo Creyente (a New Believer).
Interestingly, there was an old term that was also used to describe a Jew that had been a Catholic for many generations. This term is called Hidalgo. I learned about its meaning from Professor Avi Gross of Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheba, Israel. He stated that the Inquisition’s application of Hidalgo actually comes from the term hijo-de- algo or “son of something” not “son of someone.”
During my initial days of researching this whole subject about 12 years ago, I had a hard time digesting the things Helen and I were discovering about our true history. However, when I began to dig into what took place in the nearby land of many of our forefathers which is Mexico, I was shocked. I discovered that there was a thing called La Santa Inquisicion Mexicana or The Holy Mexican Inquisition which was headquartered in Mexico City. This lasted about 300 years and has been kept an air-tight secret-until now.
A thousand columns would not have the space to portray the treacheries our forefathers suffered. It’s no wonder why so many of us have sensed a kind of pain deep within our soul and have never been able to put a finger on it. The reason for this pain is due to the fact that our forefathers endured not only physical pain but the pain of shame, guilt and condemnation. It is one thing to hide physical pain but it’s quite another to try to camouflage the pain caused by shame and baseless guilt.
It’s a wonder that today the children of the survivors of all those Inquisitions are waking up to their true identity and heritage. It’s even a greater miracle that they want to connect with the other side of their family who are Jewish and to reconnect with the homeland of their forefathers, which is Israel. I say this because we all know that for 3000 years or more Jews have been persecuted all around the earth and in every generation and nation under the sun.
However, there’s a bright ray of good news. Truly, there’s hope in all of this. As we’re discovering our true history and not some myth or fable we’ve been fed; and as we’re finding our role in the writings of ancient prophets, we are slowly discovering our real destiny.
In my next column I shall attempt to pick up here and tell you a little more about the specific reasons why our forefathers went underground hundreds of years ago and how they kept secret Sephardic Jewish practices and terms which are still alive today.
Send your questions and comments to And don’t forget to check out our newly reconstructed website: If you’re not into email and the internet, address your mail to: PO Box 75, Helotes, Texas 78023. La Prensa - Column #5
for February 10th, 2008

Proposed title: In Search of our Forefathers
Writer: Dell F. Sanchez

I’ve often wondered why, since my childhood, I felt like a stranger in my own land. It wasn’t until I began to discover what happened to our forefathers during the slow holocausts of the Inquisitions in Spain, Portugal, Mexico and throughout Latin America.
The fact is that the majority of our forefathers actually came from Spain as they fled the tortures, massacres, confiscations, kidnappings and burnings at the stake because they weren’t Catholic Christians but Jewish in faith and lifestyle. In my last column I mentioned how our forefathers were called La Gente Prohibida meaning that upon their expulsion from Spain in 1492, they weren’t to cross the Atlantic into the New World but were free to go anywhere they desired east of the Atlantic.
We learned that Christopher Columbus was actually bussing many of our Spanish surname, Sephardic Jewish ancestors across the Atlantic as far away from the infamous Inquisition in Spain and later Portugal. What I neglected to tell you is that Spain’s Queen Isabella wasn’t the one that financed Columbus’ journeys to the New World but three or four wealthy Sephardic leaders, Abravanel, Señor, Santangel and Sanchez.
Just three decades after Columbus discovered America, the Spanish Crown sent a dozen Franciscan friars to install the “Holy Mexican Inquisition” in 1524. Why? Because reports got back to the Spanish Crown that these “prohibited” people were multiplying and prospering in the New World. It seems the Franciscans weren’t doing too good a job with their Inquisition headquartered in Mexico City. Hence, in 1527, the Crown sent a dozen Dominican Friars to fuel the fires of Las Hogueras or the burnings at the stake of Sephardic victims.
During a month long research journey to Mexico, my wife, Helen and I found the place where Inquisition victims were actually burned at the stake right in front of El Convento San Diego or the San Diego Convent in Mexico City. In fact, we also found the Palace of the Inquisition. What surprised us most is that we bumped into an unadvertised display of dozens of torture tools and weapons, many of which were used on our ancestors and so few of our people have any hint about it. (By a miracle from heaven I succeeded in taking photos of all of this evidence which some day I’d love to share with our local audience.)
About eight years after the Mexican Inquisition established a High Tribunal in Mexico City, fate would have it that Don Luis de Carvajal y de la Cueva succeeded in bringing with him around 200 members of his and his wife’s family from Iberia. Since Carvajal had already spent around a decade in Mexico scouting the land from top to bottom, he knew he wasn’t to land his ship, La Santa Catalina in the Port of Vera Cruz where all other boats and fleets landed.
Thus in 1580, Carvajal managed to pull away from his fleet in order to land further north at the Port of Tampico. He knew his Sephardic cargo didn’t have much of a chance if they landed in Vera Cruz because there awaited an incredible prison called San Juan de Ulua. Helen and I also witnessed this horrible site which reminded me of one of Hitler’s death camps. This prison housed criminals and those accused of witchcraft which made it even worst for innocent Sephardic Jews to suffer.
King Philip II had given a huge land grant to Don Luis de Carvajal which was measured in leagues. My estimation is that it was somewhere around 320,000 square miles later known as “the Tragic Square” because of the manner in which Carvajal’s Spanish speaking Jews were hunted down and persecuted by La Santa Inquisicion Mexicana.
This Mexican Inquisition got so bad that in 1591, despite his high position as Viceroy to the king Carvajal died in an Inquisition prison in Mexico City. Just five years later, in 1596, his own sister together with three of her daughters and her son, Don Luis el Mozo (the young) were burned alive at the stake in Mexico City simply because they were Sephardic Jews.
This story is far from over but we’ll need to pick up on it in my next column. I hope to tell you a bit about some of the torture methods that were used on our Crypto-Jewish forefathers and how and why they fled across the Rio Grande into Texas and New Mexico. And I also wish to let you know that San Antonio was in the northeastern corner of Carvajal’s huge land grant. Who knows, you might finally discover that you, too, have Sephardic Jewish roots and didn’t know it.
Please send me your questions and comments at And don’t forget to check out my newly reconstructed website: If you’re not into email and the internet, address your mail to: PO Box 75, Helotes, Texas 78023.

La Prensa - Columna #4
for February 3rd, 2008

Proposed title: Endurance of our Prohibited Forefathers
Writer: Dell F. Sanchez
A couple of weeks ago I declared in my column that many of our forefathers who were Spanish Jews known as Sephardim were labeled as La Gente Prohibida. This means they were a “prohibited people.” The travesty is that this has not been a mere label but a curse that was placed upon our forefathers, which I’ll attempt to explain in this column.
The issue is what were our Jewish forefathers prohibited from doing? Upon their expulsion by the Spanish and later the Portuguese Inquisition, they were commanded to leave their homeland and go in any direction they so desired. Many went into parts of Central Europe, others fled to North Africa and Middle Eastern countries. A few made it all the way back to Erez Israel. But they were ordered not to cross the Atlantic Ocean. This is what they were prohibited from doing-from crossing the Atlantic in order to come to the New World which is the Americas of today.
The curse of the Inquisition which labeled our forefathers as “prohibited” was branded in the souls of our people. This curse was reinforced by the use of psychological spy games called “inquiry” by the Inquisition. These inquiries took the shape of torture. Hence, torture was used by the inquisitors in order to force confessions and conversions to the Roman Catholic Church. There was no famine of torture tools and methods by the Inquisition within the chambers of what was called La Casa Santa or The Holy House. These methods fell under the specific auspice of El Santo Oficio or the Holy Office. In other words, the Inquisition machinery felt it was holy to torture and even burn its Jewish victims at the stake for being Jews and not Catholic Christians.
Sure enough, the very thing the Inquisition did not want to see happen, which was for Sephardim to cut across the ocean, did in fact occur. Records reveal that the majority of the passengers’ names on Columbus’ ships, La Nina, La Pinta y La Santa Maria so happened to be of Sephardic origin. Yes, I’m referring to many commonly known Hispanic and Latino apellidos or surnames such as ours. Due to the records, I hypothesize that Mr. Columbus was doing nothing less than bussing Sephardic families as far away from harm’s way as possible. After all, we’ve discovered that Columbus’ mother, wife and mother-in-law had confessed to the Inquisition that they were Sephardic Jews. While Columbus was never referred to as a Marrano yet it’s apparent he was what was called a Nuevo Creyente, a Converso or a New Christian.
By the way, after a Sephardic Jew was forced to leave their Jewish faith and lifestyle, they were then forced to eat pork and then called Marrano. Marrano means hog, swine, and pig. So now you begin to see the horrific odds our people have had to endure in order to come as far as we have to this day. We’ve survived “the curse” of being known as “prohibited” from crossing borders as well as psychological and physical duress as well as the terrible labels that were placed upon us.
In my next column, I’ll share with you about a hero among our Sephardic ancestors, Don Luis de Carvajal y de la Cueva. I’ll show you how he succeeded in gaining great favor with King Philip II of Spain. I’ll demonstrate how between him and his mother in law they were able to persuade the King to allow about 200 of their Sephardic families to cross the Atlantic and come into Mexico. I’ll attempt to show you how subsequent to this, the Spanish Crown installed La Santa Inquisicion Mexicana in Mexico City and the cycle of terror took root in Mexico and lasted 300 years and hardly anyone knows about it.
Consult my newly overhauled website for more facts and information: And if you’re interested in my monthly newsletter, write me or drop me a card at: PO Box 75, Helotes, Texas 78023.

La Prensa - Column #3
for January 20th, 2008

Proposed title: Flight across an ocean and a river
Writer: Dell F. Sanchez

In my last column, I left you in Spain. I explained how Jews wound up in Sepharad, which is Hebrew for Spain, during the times of King David and King Solomon. I stated that the greatest migration from Israel to Spain probably came around AD 70. This happened during the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Roman Legion. Two thousand years later, there is still intense turmoil over the Temple Mount which is under Moslem control with their mosque setting atop the place where the Jewish Temple is prophesied to be rebuilt.
It’s important to note that there were many communities of exiled Jews throughout Western Europe such as Rome and Italy and subsequently also in France and other European locations. I say this so that no one gets the notion that all of our ancestors came only from Spain and Portugal. Nonetheless, at that time, Spain was the primary Jewish community outside of Israel.
Unfortunate to our Jewish forefathers, a vast number of Church Councils were held in Spain such as in Toledo and Elvira because of increased rulings to sabotage Jewish growth and prosperity. These Councils actually began in the 1st Century AD and continued for no less than 1800 long years. These Councils were not Protestant because the Protestant movement didn’t emerge until the early 1500s with Martin Luther and the Great Reformation.
Not a Church Council passed by without the installation of new rulings directed straight at Sephardic Jews as we’ve also referred to them as Spanish Jews. The irony was that the intent of these rulings was not merely religious or a matter of ones theology and faith but of economics as well. After all, Sephardim had been extremely successful in every facet of society ranging from philosophy and theology to letters or translations, medicine, the arts and above all banking and economics. My theory is that the ‘intent behind the intent’ of all these rulings against Jews wasn’t religious but economic control.
On the one hand, our Sephardic ancestors flourished in all aspects of life yet on the other, anti-Semitism increased dramatically. All this led to the infamous Spanish Inquisition which I call “The Slow Holocaust” because it lasted hundreds of years, and so few know about it.
While the “spirit of the Inquisition” existed way before its official installation in 1531 Jews were expelled (yes, kicked out) of their forefathers’ homeland in 1492, which I’ll get to momentarily. What’s quite interesting is that the same year the Inquisition was officially installed, there was a major earthquake in that region.
We’ve all heard the little jingle, Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. But what we don’t know is that just a few days before, the Jews had been expelled and ordered to leave Spain within a few days, without their wealth and personal possessions. Remember that these were the very folks that led the whole entourage which led to the Golden Era of extreme brilliance and prosperity.
The very tactics of “inquiring” and interrogation through the use of torture were used in Spain and Portugal. Yet fewer people are aware that this devilish pogrom known as La Santa Inquisición was exported across the Atlantic and took root in Mexico-yes, our Mexico just across El Rio Bravo or the Rio Grande. The point is that our people weren’t supposed to flee across the Atlantic Ocean which is why they were called La Gente Prohibida strictly prohibited from coming west into the New World which is where I’ll pick up in my next column, si Dios nos da licencia.
Please direct any feedback by consulting my website: And if you’re interested in my monthly newsletter, write me at

La Prensa - Column #2
for ending of December 2007

Proposed title: Our History-Past and Present
Writer: Dell F. Sanchez

In my first column, I stated that there are many Hispanics throughout the Southwest of the USA that have Sephardic Jewish roots. These people are discovering their roots and wanting to know how to accommodate to their new-found history and heritage. The best way to begin is by knowing the facts about who we are and where we come from.
But before I plunge into the subject of our history I would like to say that history isn’t just in our past because we’re making history as we go. In the process, something very special took place in Israel a few days ago. Specifically, it took place in the land the prophet Obadiah prophesied we’re to occupy and possess which is the Negev.
My wife and I had the joy of leading around 25 Americans and a few European friends on a journey up to the Negev where we held a very special conference on American Sephardic Anusim. Half of our sessions were in a classroom type environment and the other half were out in the field enjoying the landscape many of our people will call home in years to come. The thought that kept resurging within me was that we are like David Ben Gurion who was Israel’s first Prime Minister at the rebirthing of Israel in 1948. I get the feeling that his pioneering spirit in the Negev kept him sharp enough to endure the challenges and travesties of Israel’s early beginnings. After all, his home was there and there’s where he chose to be buried, both he and his wife.
In another sense, King David was also a great champion and pioneer who was of the Tribe of Judah. Fact is that most of Judah’s borders were in the Negev.
What’s most amazing is that God preserved and has hidden Sephardic Jews for the last three thousand years. Our forefathers came close to being annihilated many times since the days of King David. In the B.C. era, they escaped Babylon’s plunder and in the A.D. era, they escaped Rome’s rage. But the worst came with what I call the “slow holocausts” of the Spanish, the Portuguese and the Mexican Inquisitions. Time and again, our people have arisen above all types of prejudice and racism many of which have been masked maneuvers of anti-Semitism.
So it is that the intent of these columns is to explain how our roots go way back to Las mañanitas del Rey David and the Proverbs of King Solomon. In order to make this 3000 year historical journey possible, allow me to give you some highlights of where we come from.
Three millennia ago, King David had an amazing relationship with King Hiram of the Phoenician Empire which is in today’s Lebanon. They had a military force on land and sea that was unequaled. In fact, his son, King Solomon took this relationship to a maritime partnership. The world’s greatest history book called the Bible says that King Solomon and King Hiram had a ship building port near Elat near the Red Sea where the Israelites crossed in their exodus out of Egypt.
Bible history declares these two kings sent fleets of ships every three years to a faraway place called Tarshish, which is where Jonah was fleeing from God’s presence. Their purpose was to bring gold, silver and exotic fruits and animals such as apes and peacocks. Some historians believe the gold was used in building Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem.
The interesting thing is that ancient Tarshish is later called Sepharad by the prophet Obadiah. Remember that our historical identification as Sephardic Jews comes from the word Sepharad. In Hebrew, Spain has continued to be called Sepharad since bible times. Another interesting observation is that Spain and Portugal are in what’s called the Iberian Peninsula. “Iberia” is linked to the term, Ibrit which means Hebrew.
There is no question in my mind that the first waves of Jewish migration to Spain were during David and Solomon’s time. This is extremely important because that’s where we began our trek in the direction to where we’re at today. Subsequent waves of migration to Spain were during those periods of exile I’ve referred to above, namely, the Babylonian and later the Roman exiles. It was at these specific times when multitudes of Jews escaped the sword of these empires and fled to Sepharad.
These Jews specifically fled to Spain because their forefathers had co-founded Spain along with their cousins, the Phoenicians. They chose Spain because there was a strong Sephardic Jewish presence there and because there was a wondrous spirit of a future glory that captivated their hearts. Above all, they chose Spain because God had chosen Spain for them. God sheltered and prospered them there and also prepared them for the time they would flee across the Atlantic to be hid from their perpetrators which we’ll discuss in later columns.
Meanwhile, Chanukkah samea or Happy Chanukkah and Feliz Navidad to all of you.
For more information or feedback visit Dr. Sanchez’ website: or write him at

La Prensa
Column by Dell F. Sanchez, Ph.D.

I’ve not written regularly for any newspaper since I did the sports page for El Nopal in the early ‘60s at Lanier High School. However, I have learned to write a bit since then. In the process, I’ve published nine books and a number of magazine articles over the last decade or so. This column is only a bird’s eye view regarding our people’s history and destiny. I trust it will add new hope and dignity to your life as you find out who you really are and are not.
I have a desire to share with you a little of what I’ve gleaned regarding the subject of my publications. This subject has to do with the discovery of deep roots of a Sephardic Jewish heritage among many of our Hispanics in San Antonio and the Southwest. We have discovered genealogical roots, oral histories, material evidences and even DNA test results that confirm this subject.
The first giveaway of our linkage with Sephardic Jewish roots has been the fact that many of our apellidos or surnames happen to be found in the field of onomastics which contributes to my point. I’m referring to a massive host of surnames such as Alvarez, Bazan, Calderon, Duran, Elizondo, Garcia, Martinez, Ortiz, Pacheco, Sanchez, Tello and thousands more.
But rather than to dive into this subject with a hard core historical perspective, I prefer to have a platica or a heart to heart conversation with you about this matter. In the process, I hope you’ll also unearth the destiny that’s connected to your own history.
As a pregunton that I am, one that’s forever asking questions, it all began when my wife declared to me that she was Jewish on her mother’s side. I found it very hard to believe that a surname such as Martinez would have Jewish roots. Had it been Martinestein, and on her father’s side Anciraberg, maybe I would have believed it. It wasn’t until eleven years ago that my father discovered the secret of his family’s Sephardic heritage. Maybe some day I’ll share it with you.
Hence, my wife and I were catapulted into this quest for truth about our ancestors. We’ve traveled all across the Southwest, Mexico, and Spain and often to Israel in our search.
In my future writings, you’ll find me trekking through 3000 years of history in order to get to where we’re at today. I will take you on this long journey that begins with King David and Solomon in order to find out why, when and how Jews got from Israel to Spain in the first place. We’ll discover how Jews co-founded Spain which was known as Sepharad in Bible times which is the root from where we get the term, Sephardim.
From Spain, I’ll guide you across the Atlantic to the Americas. I’ll share with you how our forefathers were expelled from Spain by the Spanish Inquisition and how they were hunted down after they arrived in Mexico as many fled into Texas and other parts of America’s Southwest.
I’ll talk about the gold and glory of our ancestors as well as the manner in which they were forced into barrios known as Juderias. In the process, we shall see that the ancient prophets had us in mind when they spoke of our people returning to the land of our forefathers which is Israel. I hope to inspire you about our people’s future role that’s linked to our true history.
For more information or feedback visit Dr. Sanchez’ website: