Captain Barros Basto, the Apostle of the Marranos
Artur Carlos de Barros Basto (jewish name: Abraham Israel Ben-Rosh) is a unique figure of Portuguese maranism. He was born on December 18, 1887 in Amarante into a bourgeois family from northern Portugal and received a Christian education from his mother, Maria Ernestina de Bessa Fortes. However, he was exposed from a very young age to foreign practices, such as the lightning of candles on Friday evenings at sunset. At the age of 8, his grand-father revealed to him that his family was of Jewish ascent, originating from Jews who had been forced to get baptised in 1497.
His grand grand parents, Carlos de Barros Basto and his wife Sarah de Carvalho, born in Bordeaux, were born to families who had fled from Portugal. The news of his Jewish origins were such a shock to young Artur to the point that his opening to his Jewish and Marranic past can be dated from that time.
He became a journalist, a writer, an historian, a professor at the University of Porto and a decorated military officer. He commanded a battalion of the Portuguese Corps in Flanders (1916) and was awarded the War Cross for bravery. The major works of his life are “Obra de Resgate”, which gained him the nickname of “The Apostle of the Marranos”, and the building of the Synagogue in Porto. He got expelled from the army under charges of homosexuality.
Margarida de SACADURA-LEVY