Beatrice Nasi, who would come to be known as Doña Gracia, one of the richest women in the world, was born in 1510 in Portugal, where her forcibly-baptized, Crypto Jewish family fled from the nearby Spanish Inquisition. She worked to find a safe place for Jews, setting up an underground network to help Jews leave Portugal, including the Nasi family who lived in Venice, Ferrara, and finally Constantinople, where Doña Gracia assumed a role of leadership in the Sephardi world of the Ottoman Empire.
This program explores the incredible life and legacy of Doña Gracia on the 530th anniversary of the Alhambra Decree. Andrée Aelion Brooks, author of The Woman Who Defied Kings: The Life and Times of Doña Gracia Nasi, is in conversation with Josh Nathan-Kazis, a reporter at Barron’s and a former staff writer at the Forward.
Watch the program below.
Recording transcript for A Righteous Woman: Doña Gracia Mendes Nasi
This program’s original recording transcript is below. This transcription was created automatically during a live program so may contain inaccurate transcriptions of some words.
Josh Nathan-Kazis: All right, well, my name is Josh Nathan-Kazins and happy to be here and to have the opportunity to talk with Andre about don't you Grazia Mendez.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: Know done aggressive and as.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: Danny grassy is one of those fascinating figures in Jewish history.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: Who doesn't easily fit into the categories, into which we like to place stories from the Jewish past she lived an extraordinarily public life.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: And yet she was a converse so she's a Jewish woman who is among the most powerful bankers in Europe, in her day she's a refugee who feuded directly with kings and she almost looks like a pro Zionist 300 years before hurts so.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: she's not particularly particularly well known figure though that's actually changed over the past decade and no small part to the wonderful book that Andre has written about her sorry area we we got going, but if you want to be your insurance no okay we're gonna keep going.
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Public Programs: i'm so sorry.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: I don't know I do in no small part to the wonderful book book that Andre brooks is written, who joined us today and we're gonna be speaking with.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: i'm going to ask Andrea in a moment to introduce us to the end her world, but first I just want to sketch a rough outline of done degrassi his life is a grounding and a starting point for our conversation.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: Then you go see it was born in Lisbon in 1510 or around 1510 into one of the countless Jewish families i'm sorry I did the book title was unclear, I know, there was a.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: it's called the woman who defied kings and there's a slide that I think you'll see later with the Nice picture of it and.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: Then you guys, he was born in Lisbon around 1510 and one of the countless Jewish families in Spain and Portugal, known as converses.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: who had at least outwardly converted to Catholicism amid intensive persecution.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: She married a leading converse oh merchant she was widowed and she eventually inherited control of one of the most powerful merchant banking families in Europe.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: She eventually fled to Antwerp and then Italy and landed and Constantinople and along the way she and her family were helping converse with families other converse with families escaped Christian Europe.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: For the Ottoman Empire and then the whole while she's being hounded by greedy monarchs the Catholic Church enemies within our own family it's a thrilling story so let's turn to Andre brooks.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: I wonder, I wonder if you could just as a starting point situate the underground scene for us in history for a moment just remind us what's going on in the Iberian Peninsula in 1510 when she was born.
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Andree Brooks: About 15 years before that had been the great expulsion of the Jews from Spain out to 1500 years they've been there forever almost from the time of the biblical days and.
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Andree Brooks: Life had been getting more and more restricted, even though they had a wonderful run for hundreds of years at the end it wasn't so good.
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Andree Brooks: The Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella decided they want to know, a Catholic.
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Andree Brooks: Country and they decided to expel them but unlike other expulsions, they were given the option of converting or.
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Andree Brooks: being expelled and an awful lot of them decided to convert because back in the very early Middle Ages.
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Andree Brooks: There have been times like this and another regime they've been a regime change shortly afterwards and they've been allowed to go back to what they've been doing so, they said all right well hang on hang about.
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Andree Brooks: And we'll say we're going to convert and we will be baptized but quietly will probably say as state as Jews.
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Andree Brooks: The rest of Western Europe had also expelled it students about this time.
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Andree Brooks: So we had a concentration of us just about to be converted on the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal and not let yet done so, and the rest of Western Europe had expelled it's Jews and you are now beginning to see them collecting or residing in Central and Eastern Europe.
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Andree Brooks: That was essentially the picture, who was on the throne well the most.
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Andree Brooks: Famous would have been.
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Andree Brooks: Henry the eighth in England around that time and the meditation it was a prosperous time for your after they've gone through the back death which had been responsible for a place that everybody thought the Jews had been responsible for.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: So just to focus in on Lisbon where where she is born What would it meant to be a converter so or a member of one of these families and switch It is these Jewish families and do what she was born was their jewishness hidden yet.
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Andree Brooks: With yes, yes.
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Andree Brooks: That was jewishness date they have officially been confirmed to didn't have conversion or a baptized name, because he would.
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Andree Brooks: have had to be baptized because they were officially Catholics with be interested Luna and all of the documents we found in Europe, it referred to her as a bit rusty Luna she stays that way until she gets to the Ottoman Empire and she converts back to Judaism overtly.
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Andree Brooks: So she would have been in a.
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Andree Brooks: Catholic family on the outside, but they've made a deal the The one thing about the Jews, is that we don't hear about the brilliance of their deals, we hear about their victim would.
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Andree Brooks: And in this case, the leaders of the Community around the time we just before she was born and made a deal and they said to the Crown look if you let us keep our Hebrew books.
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Andree Brooks: For 25 years we will slowly get people used to be converted, because you can't do this overnight and expect them to suddenly wake up the next morning as Catholics.
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Andree Brooks: And the rules that they used I love these roses was that most of the Hebrew books were medical books and if they wanted to tell you.
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Andree Brooks: The benefit of Jewish doctors that better not get rid of the medical books well, of course, they weren't medical books, necessarily, but nobody knew the difference, so they said all right already, you can have 25 years and that was the period when she was born.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: I mean the fascinating thing about these deals, is that it implies there was leveraged and and and these these communities had power, and I think.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: To get it, that is to get at this family into which he marries the Mendez family who, what can you tell us about them and his family and how they became so.
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Andree Brooks: same family.
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Andree Brooks: His.
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Andree Brooks: Her future husband in a Francisco Mendez was actually his baptize name Mendez he was there they're all they were all connected, they were all into married for generations so they were he was her uncle.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: that she married she married a.
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Andree Brooks: record which started me a bit until I did some digging and found out that have been the.
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Andree Brooks: Leading families on the Iberian Peninsula was done common it kept the money in the family, he kept controlling the family, and that was the way they did things so she married her uncle.
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Andree Brooks: And he is converted name was Mendez but her real name his real name is real family name has been finished it and pretty steep today is quite common at mine Sephardic Jews its usual name at all.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: But but tell us about the the the wealth and the business that.
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Andree Brooks: The wealth had come as she grew up from spice trading they had managed the Spice straight for the Portuguese Portuguese were a very back would.
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Andree Brooks: have essentially a fishing community with not many years before they arrived and they didn't have sophistication.
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Andree Brooks: And they found the sea routes, the eastern sea routes to the Spice islands, the Malacca islands.
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Andree Brooks: And just beyond India and in India, and although we concentrate on Christopher Columbus at that time, the actual wealth was being generated by the Portuguese trading spices from India.
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Andree Brooks: And how did they trade well they look to these people, the bad days the ballistic whichever you want to call them the Nazis had said look, you know about international trading, we want to turn this.
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Andree Brooks: find all these voyages into good money will help us, and that was one of the ways they they really, really, really made a lot of money.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: And where their their role was actually operating the ships are financing the expeditions.
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Andree Brooks: Both but.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: What I didn't understand and what my was how they got the capital out of Spain, because these these people had come from Spain, what like a generation or two.
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Andree Brooks: floors again now, which is an outfoxed the authorities and that's why the reason I love the story, because we we don't hear enough of them doing that they did so uh josh by using.
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Andree Brooks: Letters of exchange or bills of exchange and which were just pieces of paper it was as though they had.
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Andree Brooks: They weren't they were prohibited from taking out gold and silver and the authorities thought that was it that we're not going to lose all of our gold and silver.
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Andree Brooks: Well, they forgot about little pieces of paper and these little pieces is built some exchange or letters of exchange meant that if you.
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Andree Brooks: deposited some money here, and you could pick it up there, that would be.
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Andree Brooks: A lot of money was taken out for the brokers, but you could transfer your money in a paper transfer the way you can do it in electronic transfer today, they were far ahead, I mean, and so they got their money out of Spain, when they had to leave a by using these bills of exchange.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: And then the Crown sophistication was not that the financial system, specific it sophistication of the Spanish crown was not at their level or at a level in which they.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: can stop this.
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Andree Brooks: No, it wasn't it wasn't they could only think of money in terms of gold, silver plate, and you know real hot stuff.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: So you mentioned before the deals that these Community made that I think the most amazing.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: example that you talk about in this sort of Lisbon period of her life is this the specific exemption that her husband secured for the family with her named from the Inquisition essentially from the back end is it, how did that work.
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Andree Brooks: How the.
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Andree Brooks: evening session was run locally in Spain but.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: What was this document, they got from the.
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Andree Brooks: Vatican Vatican.
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Andree Brooks: That was the sort of overboard and what happened was that this was a time when the Catholic Church was supremely corrupt.
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Andree Brooks: In fact, it was just a moment when the Protestants in the north and the loser we're starting to say we don't even want to be Catholic anymore, because all you do is collect money to the Catholic Church.
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Andree Brooks: And one of the ways they collected money was they took these fancy bribes and if you bribed the Vatican enough you've got your exemption.
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Andree Brooks: If you wanted a pass to get from here to there, and you wanted to bypass the King you paid for an exemption, so they kept bribing the Pope or the Vatican or the Catholic Church in general.
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Andree Brooks: For whatever they needed and it was as simple as that, and it was so open that Martin Luther then starts in the north and saying wait a minute wait a minute this church is run on money it's not run on anything else.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: Right sustaining and so this this this paper they secure from the Vatican What did it do for them.
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Andree Brooks: And the exemption.
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Andree Brooks: Yes, the it overrode any thing that the local inquisition office was called the Holy office I love that to the Holy Office could do to them.
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Andree Brooks: It was super pre alpha how common word have been for a.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: Jewish family to have one of these exemptions.
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Andree Brooks: What if they were wealthy enough I don't think he would have been uncommon but there weren't that many with the.
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Andree Brooks: duck it's the not dollars in those days dockets to to do this.
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Andree Brooks: But they had the money and they had.
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Andree Brooks: You see, the other thing was that when you were a merchant prints in those days they were just coming into power.
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Andree Brooks: Before it had been the aristocracy with their land at this point in history, the merchant princes they were called merchant princes were coming into the for with cash and capital.
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Andree Brooks: If you wanted to borrow money from any of them, and all the kings and all of the courts did in Europe because they were always so not making enough in revenues any other way.
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Andree Brooks: If you wanted to deal with a merchant princess, then you have to deal with them the way their roots were.
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Andree Brooks: They set out than what they wanted in the loans if so let's say Henry the eighth again because he's so well known, he came knocking on the door.
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Andree Brooks: Through his Finance Minister Thomas chrome well to the money merchants, and the many merchants were in Antwerp.
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Andree Brooks: Like to Wall Street, they were the Wall Street of the day and said I you know I need alone, for you know 100,000 pounds or whatever he needed.
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Andree Brooks: And they said fine, and this is the collateral we need you have to pledge this this, and this, because you know the last one can protect.
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Andree Brooks: So they had the whole thing, set up a headset it was just setting up, I suppose it's better to put it that way, so capitalism, which we know it today was just another.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: You know there's an important thing that happens in this point in the story that sort of pivots the course of degrassi his life or as you noted the time Beatrice.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: She her husband dies, and she becomes a widow, and I wonder if you could talk about widowhood and the benefits that it held for an ambitious woman of her station.
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Andree Brooks: Yes, she don't have been married a handful of years because he was our uncle and, obviously, it was 20 years or so, a senior so he doesn't last very long.
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Andree Brooks: I don't think he died of anything but natural causes, but nobody lived longer than their 40s in those days anyway.
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Andree Brooks: Oh, she becomes a widow yes and they've had a little child who's about to we don't know exactly her age.
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Andree Brooks: And it's a wonderful time I mean it's Ray I shouldn't say it that way, because I think she really did love him.
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Andree Brooks: For any woman who had married because why before she got married she was under the thumb of her father, this is any woman.
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Andree Brooks: In those days, and certainly any aristocratic or top level wealthy woman would have been under her her father, whatever a father told her to do, she had to do legally and any other way.
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Andree Brooks: And the way she was married, of course, or her assets and all of her decisions have to be funneled through a husband, it was the husband to who held the the legal right to whatever she wanted to do, but if the husband dies it's freedom time it's already time.
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Andree Brooks: I can do whatever I like I can call the shots I can make the decisions.
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Andree Brooks: And the what we see very shortly, there are there is how much she see how quickly she seizes this opportunity.
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Andree Brooks: And says Okay, you know don't deal with the men in the family, because of course the hospital had brothers and normally the decision making, would have defer to the brothers.
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Andree Brooks: Now she takes it very Media we see with metals that comes from the Vatican, we see it, with almost anything that she is now signing the correspondence she is the one in charge.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: mm hmm fascinating so what happened, shortly after the death of her husband is that she moves moves to Antwerp and, as you mentioned a moment ago, and it was sort of the Center of early pretty minor early capitalism at that point.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: And she goes to to live there, where her her brother in law, who I guess is also her uncle another uncle named Diogo lives.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: And he he becomes as you write the head of the family, after Francisco dies, I wonder if you could briefly just help us understand how the situation for these converses would have been different outside of the Iberian Peninsula in a place like Antwerp how free where they they're.
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Andree Brooks: much freer, because in those days with the rise of capitalism, we also have to rise of the cities.
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Andree Brooks: As an autonomous places to live they weren't typically all supposedly under the local rural like the Holy Roman Emperor at that point and the Queen Marie about actually they did their own thing.
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Andree Brooks: They were given a tremendous amount of freedom and so, if they decided we don't want inquisition we don't want anything like that in Antwerp, we won't have it, so the merchants, the leading merchants of Diogo was one of them was able to.
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Andree Brooks: dictate terms to the city and say look, if you want to see here because we're bringing in so many jobs of the we're having a lot of the economy is great.
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Andree Brooks: Sir oh you better give us, you know ABC and D and one of the things was that they would accept the incoming refugees if they could get them out, and this is where she comes in off of Portugal and onto Antwerp by ship.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: Well, so let's let's talk about that, because, as you say, from aunt or do go and then later done you guys are Beatrice has begins helping converse those escape from the Iberian Peninsula so tell us what they were doing how they were helping these people and.
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Andree Brooks: Okay, what they were doing was that they were providing the ships to bring them to enter and then giving them instructions, how they should move on from Antwerp.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: down here.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: Sorry, these are people who are in in Portugal or people in Spain they're not expanding our.
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Andree Brooks: yeah they are.
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Andree Brooks: They are they came over the border, there were a lot of work coming over the border and going out through Portugal.
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Andree Brooks: So it was.
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Andree Brooks: It wasn't quite the time when the two countries were to be combined, which would be little later, but nevertheless, a lot of those were in fact originally Spanish.
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Andree Brooks: either come before the time.
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Andree Brooks: Of the official expulsion in 1492 so they were both how did they get them out well that those are the details that are so interesting, at least, to me, I want you to know those kinds of details.
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Andree Brooks: Well, it seems to me that again they were very clever they got them out this way, first of all, they put them on the spaceships.
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Andree Brooks: don't forget they were the big spice robeson the ship's belonging to them are always coming into the Lisbon harbor from Antwerp.
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Andree Brooks: You know back and forth with spices and whatever else ever taking up there and bringing back so you could sort of get quite a few onto those ships and up into enter.
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Andree Brooks: That way, and do we have some testimony that I got from Antwerp when they started to interrogate some of them coming in, for a short while, to find out how they did it when it seems that they got them in onto the ships at night in the harbor on the far side of the ship.
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Andree Brooks: How did they get from the street, to the harbor well interestingly, in recent years, they have done a lot of renovations on the old.
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Andree Brooks: Many evil houses that were in the neighborhoods which we might today called a Jewish neighborhood.
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Andree Brooks: And found a lot of internal doors when you could move say from number one on such and such a street to number 15 on such and such a street without ever going into the street, so they could.
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Andree Brooks: hide the fact that a lot of work going on to the poor, but making sure they went in and out of different places which, again, I mean, why do we always look at them as victims they were not stupid people I mean they knew exactly how to work, the system and they did work, the system.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: Maybe this is an obvious question, but why why the secrecy, where they're where their bands on them, leaving or was it dance on empty and capitalism.
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Andree Brooks: Yes, there were bands on them, leaving and taking capital with.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: uh huh.
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Andree Brooks: So you know they put their needs to the journey into maybe a wicker basket some hard can biscuits whenever they took with them, but they.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: Were they were it was it was it that they were allowed to leave Spain but not Portugal or they they weren't allowed to leave at all.
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Andree Brooks: Well, they weren't allowed to leave at all, but they seem to be able to get there.
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Andree Brooks: And they slip through the cracks.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: And then, once they're in Antwerp once.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis: Once the spaceship is has knocked them out of the port, you know over to android Where do they go.
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Andree Brooks: Well, in some of the documents it tells us that one of the first places they would go and knock on the door of the mention of a Diogo Mendez who was one of the big.
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Andree Brooks: Leaders of this escape network it's an escape network.
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Andree Brooks: Essentially, and he would give them all of the papers and all of the instructions from there on in once you get here the way you do is you go over the outs to Italy, and you take a.
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Andree Brooks: boat from Venice now why couldn't they take a boat from Lisbon because there were hostilities, all you have to understand that all of those countries were warring with each other and the.
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Andree Brooks: Ottoman Empire was the biggest Fo of Western Europe at the time, and it was very difficult to get to the Ottoman Empire directly, you have to do a very circuitous route.
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Andree Brooks: And the securitas route that they they encouraged or they could you could they could direct for the refugees refugees at this point, would you can.
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Andree Brooks: was to go up to at work and then down over the Alps to Venice now Venice was.
00:24:57.900 --> 00:25:10.710
Andree Brooks: One of those sort of Switzerland light places where the business events was business and you wanted to pay for passage to the Ottoman Empire, we don't care that that Muslim and your Christian will just take your money and put you on the Chair.
00:25:11.220 --> 00:25:15.990
Andree Brooks: Oh, the Venice was the place where they could take a ship upwards to the Ottoman Empire.
00:25:16.050 --> 00:25:21.540
Josh Nathan-Kazis: And the basic idea is that in the Ottoman Empire, they can live openly as Jews safely and and you know.
00:25:22.020 --> 00:25:29.010
Andree Brooks: Why did, why did the Ottoman Empire want them and encourage them and welcome them when Christian Europe was kicking them out.
00:25:29.340 --> 00:25:39.540
Andree Brooks: Well, the Sultan even says, you know you're crazy to kick them out, they are the most useful subset you could possibly ask them some of the most literate people we have and.
00:25:41.010 --> 00:25:47.310
Andree Brooks: We wanted and we'd love to have them, so why not to encourage them to come here.
00:25:47.700 --> 00:25:51.270
Josh Nathan-Kazis: And you will have a sense of the scale of the operation that.
00:25:51.360 --> 00:25:56.280
Josh Nathan-Kazis: The this family is running I mean is there is there are they materially.
00:25:56.970 --> 00:26:11.130
Josh Nathan-Kazis: contributing to the growth of you know what became great centers of Sephardic life and Salonika needs me, or in other parts of the Ottoman Empire order, those are those are the Those sort of large populations getting there and other ways and other times.
00:26:12.210 --> 00:26:20.880
Andree Brooks: I wouldn't put it in Sephardic terms and I always bristle when someone introduces me for this sort of a talk and says she was a Sephardic heroin.
00:26:21.240 --> 00:26:32.610
Andree Brooks: She wasn't she was a Jewish heritage heroin and I make the example of when Donna grasses and nephew, who was a partner, Joseph goes to the ports in.
00:26:33.210 --> 00:26:48.240
Andree Brooks: Venice and a couple of the other ports and helps them on two ships which they the family has a common dear to take them to the Ottoman Empire, you can have a clipboard that says, are you Sephardic if you're Jewish you're in.
00:26:49.200 --> 00:26:53.640
Josh Nathan-Kazis: But there is a there is a smart Sephardic identity that that grows within.
00:26:53.640 --> 00:26:54.540
Josh Nathan-Kazis: This Iberia.
00:26:54.930 --> 00:26:55.680
Andree Brooks: Why does it.
00:26:56.130 --> 00:27:00.750
Andree Brooks: Why does it grow in particularly in Salonika because a lot of them went to salon.
00:27:01.410 --> 00:27:15.840
Andree Brooks: And a lot of the world in fact Sephardic this comparisons were mainly safari there's no question about there but it wasn't only the comparisons from Spain and Portugal that we're on this route, there were a lot of local Italian.
00:27:16.350 --> 00:27:18.060
Andree Brooks: And Jewish communities.
00:27:18.390 --> 00:27:26.940
Andree Brooks: And that was suffering because the Pope was making life very difficult for them wanting to get out so it wasn't holy safari, but it was largely.
00:27:27.720 --> 00:27:38.700
Josh Nathan-Kazis: So there is Catholic opposition and you read about various efforts over the years of the Catholic authorities to break up this effort that is families is running he talking about two particular men.
00:27:40.710 --> 00:27:52.140
Josh Nathan-Kazis: shepherd this and john boosting apologize for the but but, but you also talk about a murder plot that was hatched by Diego and Danny Garcia apparently to stop them he talked about this this murder plot.
00:27:52.680 --> 00:27:54.540
Josh Nathan-Kazis: Yes, it's a legend murder plot, I suppose.
00:27:54.600 --> 00:28:03.570
Andree Brooks: Yes, well what happened was that the Duchy of mill, and these were all small city states the duchy in Midland had these gentlemen.
00:28:04.380 --> 00:28:17.640
Andree Brooks: As the leaders of there and they were determined to start getting through so they would read the parties coming through take their goods away and, if possible, put them into prison and.
00:28:18.150 --> 00:28:29.490
Andree Brooks: So it was a problem on the escape route that they have to clear up so they got some of their other agents one in London and one, there were lots other places.
00:28:29.760 --> 00:28:40.500
Andree Brooks: And they got together and said Look how, what are we going to do with this guy keeps giving us trouble so they hatch a motor plot that one of them is assigned to go and assassinate.
00:28:41.250 --> 00:28:48.780
Andree Brooks: These guys and I don't think they got assassinated I didn't find anything on that doesn't mean map and I, but I don't think it did.
00:28:49.290 --> 00:28:57.990
Andree Brooks: But Donna grass here has self when she goes on that route because she has to leave at work after a while, things are getting a little bit.
00:28:58.740 --> 00:29:09.990
Andree Brooks: Hot under the collar there too, and she gets released one trunk of goods or personal possessions taken away from her and she spent nearly four years trying to get it back.
00:29:10.290 --> 00:29:20.640
Andree Brooks: she's come to confiscate my belongings they belong to me, you know right, so how did they murder and we don't know because I don't think they got to him in the end.
00:29:21.870 --> 00:29:31.050
Josh Nathan-Kazis: I want to get to the flight from android but first of all, just I think it's important to mention that Diogo dies, while they're living in Antwerp in 1543.
00:29:31.320 --> 00:29:35.010
Josh Nathan-Kazis: And essentially names done your grassy as the successor.
00:29:35.370 --> 00:29:42.930
Josh Nathan-Kazis: to lead the family business rather than his wife, who is Danny Garcia sister, so this is what sort of in my understanding elevates.
00:29:43.170 --> 00:29:53.370
Josh Nathan-Kazis: Daniel grassy at this position of enormous authority, I just want to like one of you could emphasize how rare, it would have been for a Jewish woman to be in this position of power at that time.
00:29:54.390 --> 00:30:11.760
Andree Brooks: unless she was Royal it would have been very, very rare it was some people say she was the richest woman until I had the most assets under control, any non Royal woman in Europe at the time, and I think that's probably true.
00:30:13.680 --> 00:30:22.440
Andree Brooks: So yes, it was so rare that we do have some documents that show that, when she went to live in other places like, for instance, Venice for a while.
00:30:22.770 --> 00:30:36.120
Andree Brooks: She had to apply for the right to sign documents to leave the business and to be the person in charge it didn't come automatically because she was a woman and she complained about that he resented that.
00:30:37.980 --> 00:30:44.460
Josh Nathan-Kazis: Eventually, as you say, they they the family leaves and tore up and they go to Italy first Venice and then, I believe, to for our.
00:30:45.810 --> 00:30:46.230
Josh Nathan-Kazis: and
00:30:47.400 --> 00:30:57.690
Josh Nathan-Kazis: At this point, relations between her and her sister rhonda really fall apart, a lot has been made of this it's got soap opera qualities and then I think in much of what has been.
00:30:58.140 --> 00:31:12.180
Josh Nathan-Kazis: Much of the story that is told about the this woman is involved with this feud with their sister I just wonder if you could talk about your take on what happened between them and also why it's such an important part or such a central part of how they are discussed.
00:31:13.530 --> 00:31:26.100
Andree Brooks: Thank you it's wrong I don't think it was a central part of her life as much as it's been made of it but it's a wonderful way to dramatize a part of our life without bothering any of the other parts of our life.
00:31:26.460 --> 00:31:37.140
Andree Brooks: It was important, but he wasn't key What happened was that, when she was given the whole business to run by her brother in law to go before he dies.
00:31:37.890 --> 00:31:45.870
Andree Brooks: Her sister feels left out of everything, because, along with being given the right to run the international business.
00:31:46.440 --> 00:31:54.180
Andree Brooks: He also gave her the guardianship of their newborn daughter, the newborn daughter have to go and his wife.
00:31:54.810 --> 00:32:07.710
Andree Brooks: brando who was done aggressive system so she feels left out, she feels hard done by and she doesn't like the deal at all and I don't blame her she's been left on why should be a bumper so.
00:32:08.190 --> 00:32:15.660
Andree Brooks: When he had a good point she was a party girl, she was was what I can gather she quite a bit got drunk.
00:32:16.140 --> 00:32:28.350
Andree Brooks: And she was not reliable whatsoever in fact in part of when we read about the burn a lot of the intended, where the product into they worried that we enemy know the details and.
00:32:29.070 --> 00:32:40.740
Andree Brooks: Give them to somebody else is going to betray the plot so brianna was not a team player in any way she was a party girl she wanted a good time and that was it and so.
00:32:42.570 --> 00:32:57.090
Andree Brooks: husband Diogo doesn't trust her with anything, not even around baby doctor, so all of that power is given to Donna grass here and means that the sister is feeling agreed well obviously she's feeling and.
00:32:58.710 --> 00:33:15.660
Andree Brooks: She then does her best to undo, if you will, has done a grass here she pulls her down aggressive before an inquisition court in Venice she makes travel for her and Ferrari makes travel for weather wherever she can, but she doesn't really succeed.
00:33:16.920 --> 00:33:24.870
Andree Brooks: And it's kind of sad but she does but it's just a few well, of course, that so that's wonderful dramatic father.
00:33:26.130 --> 00:33:35.940
Josh Nathan-Kazis: So they spend some time in for our, but I want to move on to the Ottoman Empire, or the piece of her life that spending Constantinople because, because I think it's so.
00:33:36.870 --> 00:33:54.330
Josh Nathan-Kazis: it's so important, first of all, when they arrive she changes her name to the name we've been using Danny Garcia niazi away from the earlier names that she's used keep talking about what that signified and and what it would have meant to be him to begin living openly as Jews.
00:33:54.900 --> 00:34:03.660
Andree Brooks: Oh, I thought it was I think it's tremendous I think changing her name back, we have a wonderful document, where one of her friends who's the duca Ferrara.
00:34:05.070 --> 00:34:15.270
Andree Brooks: rise to her, and we have where he's crossed out Beatrice to lunar and he's putting grassy and Nancy he's not sure what he should call her, and so it says everything it's a wonderful wonderful document.
00:34:15.510 --> 00:34:17.790
Josh Nathan-Kazis: I can empathize with that not sure what to call her.
00:34:18.330 --> 00:34:22.050
Andree Brooks: Though he's got both in there, you know, covering faces and.
00:34:23.250 --> 00:34:39.270
Andree Brooks: It would have meant everything we know this, because very shortly after they get there, she is worried that her daughter, and our war like la chica is his son, he says, sometimes called the little one is beyond marriageable age, I was supposed to marry the.
00:34:40.770 --> 00:34:56.430
Andree Brooks: partner and nephew have done aggressive right so i'd say they keep married within the family and they put off the wedding and put off the wedding until as far as the undergraduates concerned, she can make sure it's a Jewish wedding and soon after they get to.
00:34:57.930 --> 00:35:09.360
Andree Brooks: Istanbul Constantinople they there is a great wedding and it's written up by the French Ambassador as really as phenomenal wedding it must have been fabulous.
00:35:09.600 --> 00:35:12.030
Andree Brooks: And that is when of.
00:35:12.030 --> 00:35:17.700
Andree Brooks: course she's using her own name and she's living openly as a Jew, but but there's a big buck there.
00:35:18.180 --> 00:35:34.410
Andree Brooks: If she thinks that the Jews are just going to accept her the ones already there and they go into laughter he's writing she's wrong, the people love her like the last in your they call it, because they know what she's done for them, but the clergy at.
00:35:35.040 --> 00:35:36.600
Andree Brooks: The boys, like her.
00:35:37.950 --> 00:35:51.570
Andree Brooks: And I think that was something she again had to fight for him she's the fight every each other way, because they had a distrust and dislike of the confessionals.
00:35:52.950 --> 00:36:06.540
Andree Brooks: Actually impractical, they said, well, they should have left instead of accepting baptism that they were trying to write what they called a horse with know about with two routers and.
00:36:07.080 --> 00:36:17.460
Andree Brooks: They felt that they were opportunists, the comparisons, they were going to become Catholic so as long as it serve them and then go back to me in June, so they didn't like them.
00:36:17.940 --> 00:36:33.360
Andree Brooks: So they they they did things mean things in a way, like saying well if you were married while you were in Spain or Portugal, and you were married in church we don't recognize your marriage, so that you can remember legitimate I mean they would be did some rather nasty things.
00:36:33.690 --> 00:36:39.630
Josh Nathan-Kazis: And you know when also wonders whether their practice their their Jewish practice would have been.
00:36:40.860 --> 00:36:44.820
Josh Nathan-Kazis: Traditional at that point right away, whether whether their memory of like.
00:36:45.030 --> 00:36:48.390
Andree Brooks: No memory, they didn't need memory, because what she did she said.
00:36:48.570 --> 00:36:53.220
Andree Brooks: Okay, you don't like what we do you don't like what we did i'm going to start my own synagogues.
00:36:53.400 --> 00:36:54.510
Andree Brooks: And that's what she did.
00:36:54.720 --> 00:37:05.160
Andree Brooks: She started a number of synagogues she brought in rabbis who were sympathetic to the trials and tribulations of these comparisons and who.
00:37:06.480 --> 00:37:09.480
Andree Brooks: weren't quite as hard case when it came to the world's.
00:37:10.140 --> 00:37:15.930
Josh Nathan-Kazis: It wasn't just city guards right she she funded Jewish institutions and she was across the empire.
00:37:16.050 --> 00:37:31.260
Andree Brooks: Yes, whatever she could, but she found that the conferences and it's a very interesting thing gosh because today the descendants of the comparisons, who are coming back to Jewish life in Central and South America, and there are hundreds of them.
00:37:31.770 --> 00:37:36.840
Andree Brooks: are finding that they don't fit into traditional Jewish congregations in America.
00:37:37.200 --> 00:37:50.100
Andree Brooks: And they go in and after a year or two they feel like outsiders they don't think they're understood and if there's enough of them in one geographic location, they form their own congregations which is what's happening today once again.
00:37:50.580 --> 00:37:53.520
Andree Brooks: And she did the same thing back then she found sympathetic.
00:37:53.520 --> 00:38:00.810
Andree Brooks: grab eyes and she she did her own thing to help them have their own synagogues which they did.
00:38:01.020 --> 00:38:12.540
Josh Nathan-Kazis: And how important were the institutions that she created to sort of you know, building the infrastructure for Sephardic Jewish community that live, for you know centuries in those places up until.
00:38:12.870 --> 00:38:21.900
Andree Brooks: Oh, I think he was very instrumental I think it was extremely important, however, it wasn't all the straight line ever is, we have a little book.
00:38:23.070 --> 00:38:27.990
Andree Brooks: From written so so co written by her nephew done Joseph Nazi.
00:38:29.340 --> 00:38:37.680
Andree Brooks: At some point, where she was in the Ottoman Empire, a few years later, where he laments the fact that he can't get them all to joy.
00:38:38.790 --> 00:38:47.910
Andree Brooks: Back to Jewish life or they're saying you know box on both of your houses, the Catholics have treated as badly the Jews don't seem to want us I don't want to be anybody's person.
00:38:48.360 --> 00:38:59.190
Andree Brooks: And a lot of them will just leave Judaism, how they quite left Judaism in those days is something i'm not sure I understand because you have to be in somebody can.
00:38:59.220 --> 00:39:10.740
Andree Brooks: You put dirty like today, you could just walk away, you could then so maybe they just said, all right i'll be at you, but I won't even bother to participate, so I don't know but they weren't happy with.
00:39:11.220 --> 00:39:18.660
Andree Brooks: and poor john Joseph rights in this book how the you know the family done so much for them and then they turned away from Judas.
00:39:19.800 --> 00:39:30.600
Josh Nathan-Kazis: I think, maybe the strangest and most interesting part of the story comes almost at the very end of degrassi his life she gets permission from the Sultan to build a Jewish settlement in tiberius in Palestine.
00:39:32.280 --> 00:39:39.750
Josh Nathan-Kazis: What, why did was a new basically you know, a protocol design is one could frame it as a pro Zionist.
00:39:41.370 --> 00:39:54.600
Josh Nathan-Kazis: effort to you know settle Jews and in the land of Israel, why did she do this, it was this messianic was this practical solution to the sort of problem of converse or displacement do we understand what was behind this.
00:39:55.440 --> 00:40:12.000
Andree Brooks: Yes, we do it's very clear she did not trust the Ottoman Empire anymore that she trusted Christian Europe she really felt that without their own country, the Jews would always be outsiders she just had seen too much.
00:40:12.030 --> 00:40:14.940
Josh Nathan-Kazis: trouble it's right in that in those terms of a state.
00:40:16.740 --> 00:40:28.050
Andree Brooks: Yes, eventually, yes, first of all, so she goes to the empty interesting thing is that it's all written out as though it was john josephs idea, and then we finally we.
00:40:28.560 --> 00:40:41.670
Andree Brooks: You know peel the layers back, we find it was her idea, and she is on some of the documents, even though the original historians in some this work, insist that he would have been the one, but he isn't and i'll tell you why in a minute, it was her.
00:40:42.150 --> 00:40:55.230
Andree Brooks: insistence that it happened, she felt that, unless the Jews, as they did in biblical times had their own country and their own nation, they would never ever be safe anywhere.
00:40:55.410 --> 00:41:06.690
Andree Brooks: They would always been at the mercy of the various courts or governments of the places where they live, and so what she did she went to the Sultan and she said, look you've got this part of.
00:41:07.800 --> 00:41:17.430
Andree Brooks: What i'm going to pull the Holy Land in those days it's it's a wasteland you're not getting any revenues from it it's just there's nothing there and the.
00:41:18.150 --> 00:41:28.140
Andree Brooks: holy city of Tiberias which they all thought out the Jews did it's only is in ruins the the the walls of the city it down, but everything is in a mess.
00:41:28.530 --> 00:41:44.430
Andree Brooks: And she said, look i'm going to offer you what should be the revenues of that city for 10 years and they settled on a some if it was a thriving city and i'm going to give a dying to bring my refugees into type areas.
00:41:45.030 --> 00:42:00.510
Andree Brooks: Oh, says the Sultan money, money, money, yes, yes, yes, so they make this deal and her idea is that they're going to restart the citrus groves that were very big there and they're going to make them money.
00:42:01.770 --> 00:42:06.990
Andree Brooks: And also separate culture, you know the making of silk.
00:42:07.380 --> 00:42:07.890
00:42:09.060 --> 00:42:18.240
Andree Brooks: And so we're going to have industries there and from the industry's I will get enough money to pay off the Sultan with what we promised we give him every year.
00:42:18.810 --> 00:42:38.160
Andree Brooks: So she tries to do this, but she's all by this time she's an answer and what happens is that the pirates on the Mediterranean, the battery was full of pirate ships that those times out of actually North Africa, mostly and they heard that refugees Jewish refugees were going to be coming.
00:42:40.290 --> 00:42:50.760
Andree Brooks: into the Holy Land by ship and they thought this was going to be a bonanza for them and, but the word gets back to these refugees that if you go on to.
00:42:51.420 --> 00:43:05.640
Andree Brooks: The Holy Land from the Ottoman Empire, where you are so lawmaker or stamp or wherever you are you going to run into trouble and they didn't want to take those journeys so she couldn't get the people to come and populate the diabetes and rebuild it.
00:43:07.350 --> 00:43:13.080
Andree Brooks: So she never really ended up fulfilling that part of cognition.
00:43:13.710 --> 00:43:20.460
Josh Nathan-Kazis: I think i've seen a lot of people asking in the comments that sort of obvious underlying question for all of this, which is.
00:43:21.030 --> 00:43:35.070
Josh Nathan-Kazis: How do you, you know talk that tell us about your research, because when you when you began this book they're not been you know modern account of for life, Britain so tell us about your research and your process and where you found these archival documents.
00:43:35.640 --> 00:43:48.270
Andree Brooks: Well that's true every time when I started out, they said we don't have anything we have very little on her of whatever we had several rosberg into a very, very little book and he didn't even say where it got it.
00:43:48.870 --> 00:44:00.450
Andree Brooks: So if we haven't found anything in 500 years, why are you trying, you know some other bit, so I said all right Okay, so I come out of news reporting and anybody tells me that it makes me try harder.
00:44:02.880 --> 00:44:12.420
Andree Brooks: Which is what I did, and it took about six years what I did was that, first of all, I found any mentioned that we could that traced back to a document.
00:44:12.840 --> 00:44:13.170
Josh Nathan-Kazis: And then.
00:44:13.230 --> 00:44:22.020
Andree Brooks: We looked at where that documented come from and tried to find more i'll give you one example, but when she was in Ferrara she used a particular notary.
00:44:23.400 --> 00:44:23.850
Andree Brooks: and
00:44:25.110 --> 00:44:43.890
Andree Brooks: So I had one of my helpers a wonderful helper in for our as matter of fact and and beyond American a graduate student and I said you've got to look up in this particular folder because the folders in the Ferrari coats were all by notary.
00:44:45.720 --> 00:44:59.970
Andree Brooks: And although it was a notary 500 kids earlier if there were a couple of documents, where should use this notary chances of them are more was one of the ways we did it, I mean it was it was like a jigsaw puzzle or 5000 pieces.
00:45:00.030 --> 00:45:03.720
Josh Nathan-Kazis: So, give us a sense of like where some of these documents were I mean we're how far.
00:45:03.900 --> 00:45:04.380
Josh Nathan-Kazis: How far.
00:45:05.550 --> 00:45:06.000
Andree Brooks: Day.
00:45:07.110 --> 00:45:23.250
Andree Brooks: They were always on to somebody else, so you have to find somebody else, and if you know who she dealt with and that who she dealt with was more much more important person, then you could go to their files and see if the bank or she was named in any of their.
00:45:23.250 --> 00:45:28.440
Josh Nathan-Kazis: Documents you sort of left a trail of documents across Europe, but not in not in one folder as.
00:45:28.500 --> 00:45:34.920
Andree Brooks: No, I wish, she had had it would have been wonderful and that's why nobody nobody everybody else gave up.
00:45:35.370 --> 00:45:56.910
Andree Brooks: Because there was no way of finding a central cache of her own documents do I think there are around documents, yes, I do, and of course what's the name of that place there is a monastery just outside of Salonika higher perched on a hill a very, very old one and.
00:45:59.040 --> 00:46:11.340
Andree Brooks: I thought I thought the Mount Athos a Th us, and I am so not not certain, I always felt that if she was going to have her documents put anywhere on her death or before that.
00:46:11.820 --> 00:46:28.320
Andree Brooks: She was going to go there, she probably gave my handsome donation, because you can't get into Mount Athos is by the stereo only men are allowed it and even there not many men it's one of those remote places that you can't get into and no one's ever tried.
00:46:29.340 --> 00:46:30.930
Andree Brooks: except the people who was there.
00:46:32.010 --> 00:46:40.890
Andree Brooks: And that's sort of play, she probably would have probably got one it has one of the finest collections of European history in the whole wide world.
00:46:42.270 --> 00:46:42.900
Andree Brooks: get into it.
00:46:43.140 --> 00:46:52.200
Josh Nathan-Kazis: The relationship between these converses and the monasteries something comes some comes up in your book so fascinating if we had more time I want again I would want to get into it, but.
00:46:52.710 --> 00:47:03.420
Josh Nathan-Kazis: I want to ask you know there's a sense in which this was sort of a last story, I mean over the past decade, there have been a number since your book was published I believe your book came out in 2010 if i'm not mistaken.
00:47:03.930 --> 00:47:11.490
Josh Nathan-Kazis: And since then, there have been a number of historical novels written about Danny Garcia, more than one series in Hebrew.
00:47:11.790 --> 00:47:23.160
Josh Nathan-Kazis: But, but before that it was not something that was widely known, I wonder if there was a sense in which this was a hidden story or forgotten story, and if you have any thoughts as to why this was not.
00:47:23.310 --> 00:47:23.790
Andree Brooks: I do.
00:47:24.360 --> 00:47:25.080
Andree Brooks: I do.
00:47:26.340 --> 00:47:43.260
Andree Brooks: I don't think it was hidden, I think that the fact that she was a business woman, a woman and and in business was not the kind of history, the Jews, that if you look back the Jewish historians ever covered they covered the great thinkers they covered the great clergy.
00:47:43.530 --> 00:47:46.050
Andree Brooks: They have the calamities why the calamities.
00:47:46.050 --> 00:47:54.180
Andree Brooks: Because it was always known that the side would come after very calamity so every day, whether it's a calamity they wrote up the history, but they never.
00:47:54.450 --> 00:48:06.210
Andree Brooks: Thought to write about a woman and they never thought to write it, I mean none of the business people in centuries, the brilliant Jewish business leaders even do go manage themselves.
00:48:07.230 --> 00:48:24.270
Andree Brooks: They don't they don't think of those people as some suitable father, for historical research, so I don't think she was overlooked, because of anything nefarious I think he was just overlooked, because she was a woman, because she was some I.
00:48:26.430 --> 00:48:29.760
Andree Brooks: didn't know they didn't like that they had no patience with.
00:48:29.970 --> 00:48:33.660
Josh Nathan-Kazis: let's say how did, how did you choose to devote yourself to this story.
00:48:34.500 --> 00:48:49.260
Andree Brooks: Ah, two things which attracted me one is I just started a program at Yale university called the women's campaign score at Yale where we began to train women in campaign skills to win elections.
00:48:49.530 --> 00:48:51.150
Andree Brooks: This was a 93.
00:48:51.600 --> 00:48:58.500
Andree Brooks: Long before there were a lot of women in government, certainly in senior government, and I wanted to start a training program for them.
00:48:58.920 --> 00:49:03.300
Andree Brooks: And we've done that, and 20 some years later it's a really, really good Program.
00:49:03.750 --> 00:49:13.800
Andree Brooks: And we bring them in just for about a week or 10 days at a time, or we go travel to other campuses and do it it's not for the students it's for women worldwide and i've been attending.
00:49:14.070 --> 00:49:28.800
Andree Brooks: So I was very big on trying to give women better opportunities, so I guess you attracted me on that score, the other is that I joined the government's real House as a board member that goes mill mill house is a.
00:49:29.970 --> 00:49:35.760
Andree Brooks: is the only house museum I think in North America, that is.
00:49:36.960 --> 00:49:44.370
Andree Brooks: dedicated to a Jewish businessman to live at the beginning of the 1700s and.
00:49:45.540 --> 00:50:01.920
Andree Brooks: It seemed those kinds of people he was also Sephardic those kinds of people had gotten lost, I would say, getting lost is probably the best way to look at it, so I was very interested in them, and I was also doing a curriculum in Sephardic history called out of Spain and.
00:50:02.940 --> 00:50:12.480
Andree Brooks: I needed to have some more information myself to learn more and I fell over her and realized, it was virtually nothing.
00:50:13.890 --> 00:50:17.100
Josh Nathan-Kazis: I am descended from the the Gomes over the government's milhouse.
00:50:18.150 --> 00:50:19.350
Josh Nathan-Kazis: it's funny you bring bring that up.
00:50:21.690 --> 00:50:32.430
Josh Nathan-Kazis: I want to move on to the questions that people have been putting into the comment box, the first Andre wonder if you could just sum up your comments, a little bit or bring us forward to today and what this all means.
00:50:32.700 --> 00:50:36.630
Andree Brooks: Okay i've got some summary comments before we get to the actual.
00:50:38.640 --> 00:50:52.440
Andree Brooks: Questions first of all, she taught me a lot she taught us a lot of cheap very good to teach us or among them, are the following to avoid using your own money where possible in any business venture.
00:50:53.130 --> 00:51:04.080
Andree Brooks: The value of having a plan, a and plan B and making sure to execute both at the same time, where feasible, rather than waiting for one to fail before another one is initiated.
00:51:04.650 --> 00:51:08.100
Andree Brooks: The value of having an exit strategy before you start a venture.
00:51:08.700 --> 00:51:16.890
Andree Brooks: The benefit of using low interest or no interest loans were possible, rather than outright rights and never ever ever ever burn your bridges.
00:51:17.280 --> 00:51:32.010
Andree Brooks: flexing your financial muscle, by providing even philanthropic funds where they needed to be used and they needed to be spent as cash using actual grants only when you must.
00:51:32.910 --> 00:51:47.070
Andree Brooks: Always and always tempt your patrons with the t's have more loans, rather than bribes so that okay i'll give you this low you pay it back to get some more money and you use more powerful function is great at this.
00:51:48.120 --> 00:51:58.860
Andree Brooks: to intercede on your behalf, whenever it's needed, particularly non Jews who would do a lot for you not easily give up on any idea it doesn't work out at first.
00:51:59.940 --> 00:52:06.300
Andree Brooks: And you just try again and try try try and try again and always hit back and regionally you're attacked or challenged.
00:52:06.840 --> 00:52:15.090
Andree Brooks: As have when her sister betrayed her in Venice, or when she was robbed and all three in Milan and know your value of being regal.
00:52:15.570 --> 00:52:28.290
Andree Brooks: I don't think we underestimate the fact that she didn't try to burn a bra she was very elegant the dress and it mattered to what we have one documents, where she wants permission to keep wearing her elegant Venetian dress, which is in.
00:52:29.520 --> 00:52:33.420
Andree Brooks: Constantinople, and she had to have a special document to do so.
00:52:34.860 --> 00:52:36.840
Andree Brooks: So those are mainly some points that.
00:52:38.550 --> 00:52:40.140
Andree Brooks: You can learn from them, we can all.
00:52:41.970 --> 00:52:48.780
Josh Nathan-Kazis: there's some great questions here, you know this one, I think that is really good because it gets at some of the nuances of how the Inquisition work that.
00:52:49.770 --> 00:52:57.300
Josh Nathan-Kazis: We didn't get so deeply into, and I think they're often confusing that someone has if they converted, meaning the converses, why did they have to leave.
00:52:58.560 --> 00:53:12.750
Andree Brooks: They didn't have to leave they wanted to leave because what happened was that the non Jews were forever betraying them to what was called the Holy office, the Inquisition chapter House into various towns.
00:53:13.650 --> 00:53:23.610
Andree Brooks: Because if they if they gave away these people argue that they weren't be sincere Catholics, they could reap a nice fancy reward.
00:53:24.150 --> 00:53:29.790
Andree Brooks: And so that meant that they couldn't even do business, I mean if you've got tenants, for example in a building.
00:53:30.120 --> 00:53:36.870
Andree Brooks: And they don't want to pay their rent they just say oh we're going to be trained to the Holy office and say that you're lighting candles on Friday or.
00:53:37.200 --> 00:53:46.170
Andree Brooks: Not eating pork, or whatever they might think, and the Inquisition didn't even have to prove anything they just came and arrested them and put them in jail and took away all their assets.
00:53:46.530 --> 00:54:00.300
Josh Nathan-Kazis: Right and that's an important point that when we talk about the Inquisition what he was doing was going after converses to prove whether or not they were actually read true converts and that's all the torture and everything that we that we read about that.
00:54:02.100 --> 00:54:05.520
Andree Brooks: But you've got to remember one thing they really didn't care whether they were.
00:54:07.530 --> 00:54:10.680
Andree Brooks: They were sincere Catholics they they had asset so.
00:54:11.130 --> 00:54:16.830
Andree Brooks: that's why I believe going after the wealthier ones, rather than just the very poor words.
00:54:17.820 --> 00:54:24.180
Andree Brooks: in greater numbers after the wealthy months The other thing about the Inquisition, is that I discovered that I think is interesting.
00:54:24.540 --> 00:54:32.520
Andree Brooks: Is because they were now baptized according to church doctrine you couldn't take any blood you couldn't draw blood you couldn't.
00:54:32.910 --> 00:54:43.050
Andree Brooks: hurt them in any way that they would bleed so you have to find all of these torches that didn't require you to believe them because that was against church doctrine.
00:54:43.560 --> 00:54:51.600
Andree Brooks: So that's why all of these police and everything else that they seem to come up with in the middle of the night, God knows, if you can't get to sleep, maybe that's what you do.
00:54:53.220 --> 00:54:53.880
Andree Brooks: With developed.
00:54:54.720 --> 00:54:58.290
Josh Nathan-Kazis: As a couple of questions about what happened next and I sort of left the story off.
00:54:59.310 --> 00:55:09.150
Josh Nathan-Kazis: You know, with tiberius but, basically, you know people are asking, did you have descendants where where she buried, I wonder if you could just talk about what happened to the family, after she died.
00:55:09.810 --> 00:55:13.410
Andree Brooks: Yes, first of all, we don't have any definitive.
00:55:15.630 --> 00:55:17.040
Andree Brooks: Note that she had died.
00:55:18.900 --> 00:55:29.010
Andree Brooks: So we don't know where, but if you could put together what you know so circumstantial evidence, it was obviously she was still in in this temple she's not gone to the Holy Land.
00:55:29.640 --> 00:55:46.980
Andree Brooks: How did she died I got so stuck up and hung up on that because I found so many documents on so many aspects of her life and it's still going on, by the way, there is one researcher I don't want to tell you where he is and who has recently found for the first time signature and seal.
00:55:47.220 --> 00:55:47.430
00:55:49.320 --> 00:55:54.360
Andree Brooks: We don't know how she died so and I can't tell you the whole story because it's too long, but.
00:55:54.690 --> 00:56:00.780
Andree Brooks: I got so frustrated i've been so careful I didn't want the academics, to think that I wasn't you know quite cutler.
00:56:01.140 --> 00:56:15.240
Andree Brooks: dotting the i's and crossing my t's every one of them, and so I decided, I take a giant leap and I wouldn't use it, but I take a leap to try and find out how she died of cancer, yes, I can understand your question, so I went to.
00:56:16.050 --> 00:56:24.450
Andree Brooks: A psychic but I didn't go to one psychic Center like having your estimate for a roof on your House you go to a couple of them, maybe three of them, so I went to two of them.
00:56:24.810 --> 00:56:35.610
Andree Brooks: And I went to one was abandoned was a woman and then completely separate and I wanted to know what they thought was the way that she died, and I can go on with that, but I did we've got some more questions.
00:56:35.910 --> 00:56:36.300
00:56:38.790 --> 00:56:48.660
Josh Nathan-Kazis: yeah sorry i'm just looking through this so many questions here someone's asking to talk about in kona which, which is a fascinating moment in in her story.
00:56:49.650 --> 00:57:01.170
Josh Nathan-Kazis: I had a question about that, which is so you can talk about that there was an incident where some Jews were in prison and the Italian city event kona and she tried to intercede the way in which she interceded was by asking.
00:57:02.310 --> 00:57:12.750
Josh Nathan-Kazis: The Sultan to intercede on her behalf, with the Pope, which is incredible I just wonder if you can tell that story a little bit and how how that worked and how she was able to.
00:57:13.140 --> 00:57:19.860
Josh Nathan-Kazis: Have the most powerful person in you know the world, and you know intercede with another of the most powerful people in the world, on her behalf.
00:57:20.250 --> 00:57:21.690
Andree Brooks: comes down to money again.
00:57:23.400 --> 00:57:34.560
Andree Brooks: She told the Celtic that she would not have enough cash to pay the installment on they had a concession of important alcohol, because they were not Muslim.
00:57:35.580 --> 00:57:42.870
Andree Brooks: And she tell you know you let you can do something for me i'm not going to be able to pay you when i'm supposed to pay you you'll have to wait and the salt.
00:57:43.200 --> 00:57:51.840
Andree Brooks: lake with money, so he says, what can I do for you and then she tells sad story, and it really was that one of our agents have been rounded up in a corner.
00:57:52.260 --> 00:58:05.640
Andree Brooks: And was going to be killed by the physician was going to be burned at the stake no I think it's burned at the stake or or put out for the what they call it, where they they wrote them today he had to anyway.
00:58:06.780 --> 00:58:07.620
Andree Brooks: and
00:58:09.120 --> 00:58:12.720
Andree Brooks: He says or i'd already if I want my money, I suppose i'm going to have to.
00:58:13.110 --> 00:58:24.660
Andree Brooks: help you out and he writes to the Pope and says look I think that's been a mistake here you rounded up on have done a grassy his own people, when you were rounding up Jews, that you wanted to kill.
00:58:25.260 --> 00:58:40.440
Andree Brooks: At this point in time, for various reasons or converse those engines at that point, and so, unfortunately, because it takes a long time for a correspondence to reach their goal with those days months I mean it's not like today.
00:58:41.490 --> 00:58:51.690
Andree Brooks: So he said oh i'm so sorry he writes back we've already had the execution and she's gone so she didn't she didn't get to make it that time.
00:58:52.080 --> 00:58:53.250
Andree Brooks: But she managed to get this.
00:58:53.520 --> 00:59:07.410
Andree Brooks: Well, it was always if you want more money out of us as being the merchant Princesses that's already going to put merchant princes you're going to have to bend a little and she said that headline mom.
00:59:09.120 --> 00:59:11.070
Josh Nathan-Kazis: I think that's that's quite a place to end it.
00:59:12.150 --> 00:59:15.000
Josh Nathan-Kazis: I really appreciate this it's been fascinating.
00:59:16.110 --> 00:59:20.970
Josh Nathan-Kazis: Again Andre brooks's book is the woman who defied kings I don't know if they're gonna.
00:59:22.290 --> 00:59:26.790
Josh Nathan-Kazis: get a little glare here, but the link to the Amazon pages in the chat.
00:59:28.200 --> 00:59:31.800
Josh Nathan-Kazis: I don't know if I was going to come back on and.
00:59:33.330 --> 00:59:34.020
Andree Brooks: Yes, she saw.
00:59:34.050 --> 00:59:34.980
Josh Nathan-Kazis: her if she is.
00:59:35.490 --> 00:59:39.300
Public Programs: i'm here i'm so sorry about my Internet earlier.
00:59:41.310 --> 00:59:42.930
Public Programs: Yes, i'm so.
00:59:43.950 --> 00:59:53.460
Public Programs: i'm so grateful to you, Andrea and josh for this amazing discussion we've had so many comments, there should be a movie about her we completely.
00:59:55.470 --> 00:59:56.700
Public Programs: Tell us about it.
00:59:56.880 --> 00:59:59.820
Andree Brooks: Yes, I am not up to date, about a lot of things.
01:00:00.990 --> 01:00:04.740
Andree Brooks: We are signing an option for a TV miniseries.
01:00:05.040 --> 01:00:05.610
01:00:06.900 --> 01:00:15.090
Andree Brooks: it's not a movie it's much too much a TV miniseries if you think about it, because there are so many aspects to her life, and it.
01:00:15.660 --> 01:00:30.900
Andree Brooks: separates out on an episode episode basis per episode so that's what being worked on right now and I hope that it will go through we've had other trials over the years, they haven't because it's very, very expensive to make a.
01:00:31.770 --> 01:00:45.660
Andree Brooks: period piece like this and you have to have a lot of really interested investors, so that may be coming down the pipe we aren't sure, but I would like it to be, and hope that he will.
01:00:46.530 --> 01:00:51.690
Public Programs: that's so exciting we hope very much that that you will keep us posted.
01:00:52.020 --> 01:00:53.820
Andree Brooks: I like it, because.
01:00:54.960 --> 01:01:02.640
Andree Brooks: To me, maybe because i'm a media person, and I think josh will understand this, if you don't capture the media, of course.
01:01:03.660 --> 01:01:13.500
Andree Brooks: In the Ukraine, they they understand that so well, if you don't capture them the media in this day and age, you don't capture people's hearts and minds, you must.
01:01:14.010 --> 01:01:31.230
Andree Brooks: And so I mean the book is all well and good, but you need much more than that i'm not talking about a documentary even i'm talking about a recreation, a fictional historical drama, but because I think that also captures people I don't see documentaries do some of them do very few.
01:01:34.860 --> 01:01:36.450
Josh Nathan-Kazis: I think that's right that's right.
01:01:36.960 --> 01:01:46.230
Public Programs: Totally absolutely well, thank you, thank you again so much and thanks so much to everyone who's here with us this evening.
01:01:46.920 --> 01:02:03.540
Public Programs: We are recording we did record this event so we'll send out the link to the recording tomorrow once it's up on our YouTube page and our website, along with just a short survey, we always appreciate your feedback for our programs.
01:02:04.950 --> 01:02:16.590
Public Programs: Again we I highly encourage you to buy the woman who defied kings the life and times of Donna grass, the grass enough see which the link the link is in the chat.
01:02:17.610 --> 01:02:28.980
Public Programs: And please we do hope that you will consider making a donation to support the museum or becoming a member and joining us for our upcoming programs.
01:02:29.760 --> 01:02:43.170
Public Programs: You can also i'm going to include that that link in the chat as well, so thank you all so much, I wish you a very sweet evening stay well stay safe and we'll see you soon.
01:02:43.830 --> 01:02:44.610
Andree Brooks: Thank you.
01:02:44.700 --> 01:02:46.620
Andree Brooks: Thank you, thank you john you did.
01:02:46.770 --> 01:02:49.620
Josh Nathan-Kazis: Just it was a pleasure working I really enjoyed chatting Thank you.
01:02:51.420 --> 01:02:52.740
Andree Brooks: Take care bye bye.
Learn More About Crypto Jews
The film Children of the Inquisition follows a diverse group of descendants of the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions as they unravel their complex and often hidden Jewish identity. Each is on a personal quest to discover and explore his or her distant Sephardic roots. In this Museum program, the film’s creator Joseph Levitt discusses the film with a panel of speakers.
Read More from Josh Nathan-Kazis
Josh Nathan-Kazis is a reporter at Barron’s, covering the healthcare industry. He is a former staff writer at the Forward, where he investigated nonprofits, covered local and national politics, and wrote about the institutions of the American Jewish community. Follow him on Twitter.
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Ladino was a language widely spoken by Sephardic Jews, and originated on the Iberian peninsula. Today it is less widely known, but there are those who are working to bring attention to the language, such as Sarah Aroeste, an international Ladino singer/songwriter. In this concert, performed in the Museum’s Edmond J. Safra Hall, Aroeste weaves stories from Sephardic history together with song, taking the audience through centuries of rich Sephardic experiences from the Eastern Mediterranean right up to the present.