The town of Vitoria had 300 Jews in 1290 and 900 on the eve of the expulsion -the equivalent of 6 or 7% of the total population. Their main activities were tax collecting and medicine. In 1492 they took refuge in Bayonne across the French border, where, even today, the Jews think of themselves as the descendants of those in Vitoria.
The most surprising vestige of the Jewish presence is the old cemetery, or Judizmendi (Jews’ Mountain). On 27 June 1492, the town council signed an agreement with the community, undertaking to respect and maintain the cemetery. This accord was observed until 1952, when the town government obtained authorization from the Jewish community in Bayonne to transform it into a public garden. A monolith recalls this unusual piece of history.