But just as Spaniards get smug about their self-perceived racial superiority, along comes a study which says that many Spanish anti-Semites actually have Jewish blood. An examination of the genetic signatures of the Spanish population shows that 20% of contemporary Spaniards have Jewish origins. As it turns out, far fewer Jews than previously thought complied with the Edict of Expulsion in 1492, by which the estimated 800,000 Jews in Spain were ordered to leave the country. Many of them simply converted to Roman Catholicism instead.
Many of those so-called conversos tried to blend in by adopting surnames that indicated trades or professions. One such Sephardic name is Zapatero, which means shoemaker.
It reminds of a funny story from WW2 about SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, known as
the Hangman. Seems subconscious concern over his ethnicity drove him to waste a mirror one night:
Heydrich's ruthless diligence and the rapid success of the SD earned him a quick rise through the SS ranks - appointed SS Major by December, 1931, then SS Colonel with sole control of the SD by July of 1932. In March of 1933, he was promoted to SS Brigadier General, though not yet 30 years old.
The only stumbling block occurred as the old rumors surfaced about possible Jewish ancestry on his father's side of his family. Heydrich's grandmother had married for a second time (after the birth of Heydrich's father) to a man with a Jewish sounding name.
Both Hitler and Himmler quickly became aware of the rumors which were spread by Heydrich's enemies within the Nazi Party. Himmler at one point considered expelling Heydrich from the SS. But Hitler, after a long private meeting with Heydrich, described him as "a highly gifted but also very dangerous man, whose gifts the movement had to retain...extremely useful; for he would eternally be grateful to us that we had kept him and not expelled him and would obey blindly."
Thus Heydrich remained in the elite Aryan order but was haunted by the persistent rumors and as a result developed tremendous hostility toward Jews. Heydrich also suffered great insecurity and some degree of self loathing, exampled by an incident in which he returned home to his apartment after a night of drinking, turned on a light and saw his own reflection in a wall mirror then took out his pistol and fired two shots at himself in the mirror, uttering "filthy Jew!"
Let’s just say not too many in the SS shed a tear when Heydrich was assassinated.
There was a scene in the mini-series “Holocaust”, where Heydrich’s replacement, Kaltenbrunner, alluded to Heydrich on his deathbed crying for forgiveness. But I don’t know if that had any basis in fact or not.