The Family de Milao (de Millao or de Millan)

By Joseph Ben Brith edited by Professor Dieter Heymann


The ‘voluntary’ statements that Ana de Milao [1], the wife of Rodrigo de Andrade [2], made to the Inquisitors in Lisbon after she had been jailed there on February 5 of 1602, provide the earliest information about the family de Milao (to be pronounced as “Milan”). Ana [1] was the sister of Guiomar Gomes de Milao [3], who was married to Annrique-Henrique de Caceres [4]. After his marriage, Henrique adopted the surname of his wife because her father and two brothers had perished as officers of the Portuguese army.  Her father Francisco Rodrigues Milao [5] and a brother, Gaspar de Milao [6], had died during battles in the Portuguese colonies in the East Indies. The second brother, Gomes Rodrigues de Milao [7], lost his life during a naval battle near the Cape Verde Isles. The Portuguese King ennobled the family because of their services to and sacrifices for the fatherland (hence the added name de Milao). The act of ennobling occurred before Portugal was occupied by Spain in 1580, when the country became part of the Spanish empire. Consequently, the family was destined for opposition against the Spanish. A third brother of Ana had died childless in the Spanish town of Valladolid. Because of this, the family had no male offspring that could continue their noble name.

            The marriage of Henrique de Caceres [4] and the adoption of the noble name also occurred prior to the conquest of Portugal by Spain. The name “from Millao” is derived from a village in the mountains in Portugal, where the family of Dr. Thomas de la Vega (also spelled as Veiga), who hailed from the northwestern Spanish village Vega, searched for a new home. This family, as well as other Jewish refugees that had been forced out of Spain in 1492, fled to the neighboring kingdom of Portugal. After several years in Portugal, they were forced to convert to Christianity. Nevertheless, after only a few generations, they all became proud Portuguese patriots.


Notes: All descriptions of persons of the following chapter are culled from documents of the Inquisition.

We, the Heymann’s, descend from one of Henrique’s sons: Paolo [41], as you shall soon learn.


The Forbears of Henrique’s Wife: Guiomar Gomes de Milao


A.     Dr. Thomas de la Vega. In Portugal named Thome de Veiga [9]. Died 1513.

B.     Dr. Rodrigo de Veiga [10]. Died 1546; married to Juliana de Menezes [11].

C.    Jose Rodrigues [12]. Married to Guiomar Gomes [13] in Covilha.

D.    Francisco Rodrigues de Milao [5], lived in Covilha; wife Beatriz Gomes [14]

E.     Children of [5]&[14]: Ana [1], Gaspar [6], brother that died in Valladolid; name not known [8], Gomes Rodrigues[7] and Guiomar [3]


Rodrigo [10] and Juliana [11] had three children: Isabel Rodrigues da Vega [15], her brother Manuel Rodrigues d’Evora (1506-1581)-whose descendant was Manuel Rodrigues d’Evora [16] in London, later Amsterdam, and a second brother Andreas Rodrigues d’Evora d’Andrade [17], who died in Antwerp and was the father of the husband of Ana [1]. All had in common that they were born in Portugal and had been baptized as children. Ana’s husband, Rodrigo d’Andrade [2] became a leader of the “New-Christians” after the death of King Philip II, when he tried to negotiate a compromise between the “New-Christian” families on one hand and the Catholic Church and the Spanish rulers on the other. This Portuguese patriot fled to Antwerp after his wife had been arrested to pressure him into paying a huge ransom in addition to an earlier payment of a large sum to placate church and rulers. He died in Antwerp, hounded and humiliated by the Spanish, only a short time before his released wife arrived in Antwerp.

            His escape and the statements of Ana [1] during her incarceration had great meaning for the family of Ana’s sister Guiomar Gomes [3] and her husband Henrique Dias Milao-Caceres [4]. Henrique, because he was also a very wealthy merchant became a target of the authorities after the escape of his brother-in-law Rodrigo [17]. They wanted to confiscate his possessions. Soon he and his family would become victims of the Inquisition.


Note: “New-Christians” was the official name for baptized Jews. ‘Real’ Christians also called them “Marranos” = pigs, because some say it was because they ate so much pork to prove that they were no longer Jews, This is unlikely most scholars believe that the term “Marrano” was a statement of derision by the non-jewish population, Many Jews kept many their traditions secretly in their homes and adopted such ruses as handing pork in their window . “Old-Christians” were of course the real ones. The truth is that they were probably called “pig” as a derision.           


Notes: the many names are perhaps confusing. Let me repeat the direct line of descent for our family:


Dr. Thome de Veiga [9] (moved from Spain to Portugal; died 1513)à Dr. Rodrigo de Veiga [10] (son; died 1546; married to Juliana de Menezes [11])àIsabel Rodrigues de Veiga [15] (daughter; married Dr. Duarte Ximenes de Arago)àJorge Rodrigues [12] (son; married Guiomar Gomes [13])àFrancisco Rodrigues Milao [15] (son; married Beatriz Gomes [14]àGuiomar Gomes de Milao (daughter; 1549-1613; born in Covilha; died in Antwerp; THE “FIRST” MOTHER OF US ALL; married Henrique Dias de Milao-Caceres [4]).


One more note: Dias was an honorary name denoting nobility.


The Family de Caceres

Note: now it is time to find out about Henrique’s [4] ancestors.


The statements that Henrique made when he was tortured {by the Inquisition} from 1606 until 1609 give us information about his children born in Portugal, but not about his earlier ancestors. However, the names of known relatives on his mother’s side indicate that they hailed from Caceres in mid-western Spain before they fled to Portugal. We know about his grandparents, but have no information about their parents, etc.


Grandparents (parents of his father): Antonio Lopes [18] from Santa Comba Dao in Portugal; married to Beatriz Dias [19] (which is all we know about her).

Her son (and father of Henrique): Manuel Lopes [22]


Parents of his mother: Fernao de Caceres [20] from Serra da Estrela in Portugal; married to Isabel de Santiago [21] (which is all we know about her).

Daughter (and mother of Henrique): Leonor de Caceres [23] (which is all we know about her).


Henrique [4] “THE FIRST PAPA OF US ALL” had two brothers. Francisco Lopes [24] who died in India, possibly in a battle. His second brother Antonio Dias Caceres [25] married Catalina de Leon de la Cueva [26], who died in Mexico (see below).


Henrique also had sisters. Guiomar Manuel [27] married Pedro-Rodrigues Cohen [28]. Their son Dr. Henriques Rodrigues Cohen [no number] became a well-known medical doctor in Hamburg. Her daughter Beatriz Rodrigues [29] married either in Hamburg or in Amsterdam with her cousin Gomes Rodrigo de Milao [30] one of the sons of [3] & [4]. Sister Branca [31] married her cousin Gabriel Gomes [32]. The third sister also Beatriz [33] also married a cousin, namely Anrique Gomes [34].


Notes: if you are confused of how everyone got his or her last name, so am I. Naming seems quite arbitrary. Also: these people moved all over the globe. Also: they often married close relatives.


The Story of the Couple Henrique [4] and Guiomar Gomes de Milao [3]

Henrique [4] was born in 1528 in Santa Comba Dao {I found Santa Comba Dao on an atlas map. It is on the Dao-river NE of Coimbra, Portugal}. His grandfather was a merchant in the town; his father was a probably a merchant also. The only fact we know about his youth is that he was sent to Lisbon at the age of thirteen to learn the profession of a trader.     

            His brother Antonio Diaz Caceres [25], who was 13 years younger than Henrique, was taken by his father to Lisbon in 1550, when he was nine years old, where he grew up as a servant of a noble family. Later he served as a sailor in the Spanish navy. Antonio married in Lisbon. After his wife had died, he went to Mexico, which had become a Spanish colony in 1632. There he became an independent owner of merchant ships and a captain. In Mexico he married Catalina de la Cueva [26], whose death by torture in 1598 he was forced to witness. He was himself submitted to terrible tortures by the Spanish Inquisition prior to his release in 1605. He returned to the home of his brother Henrique [4], now aged 77, in Lisbon. Antonio now hated the Spanish and the Catholic Church.

            This digression into the fate of Henrique’s brother Antonio is intended to convey the nature of the kind of youth that the “New-Christian” families experienced. Also, the year 1605 was a milestone year in which some of the Henrique’s emigrated to Hamburg and later to Glueckstadt [but not yet our branch of the family!].

            Guiomar Gomes [3] was born in 1549 in the mountainous town of Covilhã in the Serra de Estrela [I found the town in Portugal. It is about 40 km SW of Guarda]. She married Henrique Dias de Caceres [4; he only later called himself de Milao] who lived at the time in Lisbon and was 21 years older than the bride. He was apparently already a very successful merchant at the time. The couple lived in the Rua de Barao. This well-known street in the trading district began at the steps that connected the docks of ships with the higher-lying district. The street arced uphill and ended at the cathedral of Lisbon.

            Henrique, his wife Guiomar and later all of their sons and daughters were esteemed members of that cathedral (Se in Portuguese). All nine children of the couple were baptized in the cathedral. Their children were:

Manuel Cardoso de Milao (born 1571) [35]

Beatriz Henriques de Milao (1573) [36]

Gomes Rodrigues de Milao (1574) [30]

Fernao Lopes de Milao (1575) [37]

Leanor Henriques de Milao (1577) [38]

Antonio Diaz de Milao (1582) [39]

Ana de Milao (1584) [40]

Paulo de Milao (1584) [41] The Heymann Family  forbear

Isabel Santiago Henriques de Milao (1590) [42]


The first names of the children refer to family members of earlier generations. The middle name of the oldest “Cardoso” probably refers to the “family-priest” that baptized him. The middle name of three of the four daughters are those of the first name of their father, which was perhaps given to him in honor of the Portuguese king “Henry the Sailor”. The king greatly stimulated Portugal’s shipping and he founded the port of Porto. Subsequently, the land that had been known as “Luisitania” was renamed Portugal after Porto. However, the original inhabitants proud of their heritage and former independence continued to call themselves Luisitanians. The middle name “Santiago” of the youngest daughter was possibly derived from the name of her great-grandmother about whom we know little because Henrique [4] when he was interrogated by inquisitors did not reveal her name, hence she does not appear in the inquisition’s documents. The speculation is that Henriques maternal grandmother [21], the wife of Fernao de Caceres [20], was born a Santiago.


The Global Trade of the Family

The oldest son of Henrique Dias de Milao [4], the 19-year old Manuel Cardoso [35] was living in Pernambuco (Now Recife in Brazil) only two years after the defeat of the Spanish Armada. At that time, Pernambuco was an important trading port of the Portuguese colony of Brazil. He and sons of other families formed a sort of “Trading Cooperative”. Manuel took care of the goods that his father imported to Portugal. Apparently, Manuel Cardoso [35] did very well. In 1592, his younger brother Gomes Rodrigues [30] followed him and remained in Pernambuco until 1606, uninterruptedly. In 1606 his father called him back to Lisbon. For this recall there are two known reasons. One was Gomes’ planned betrothal to his cousin Beatriz Rodrigues [29]. The other was his participation in the liquidation of the Milao firm in preparation of a planned escape to Hamburg that had already been decided. The younger brother Antonio Diaz [39] took over in Brazil. In the same year, Francisco de Caceres [24] who had been terribly tortured in Mexico until 1601 appeared in the house of his brother Henrique [4] via Weymouth in England. He soon disappeared under equally mysterious circumstances. It seems possible that his visit to Lisbon was related to the planned flight to Hamburg. It is fairly certain that Francisco de Caceres [24] was the captain of the French ship that should have secretly brought the entire Henrique family to Hamburg.


Secret Preparations for Escape

In January of 1605, Vincente Furtado, a cousin of Alvaro Dinis [43] who was a merchant in Hamburg at the time, left Portugal to visit his Marrano-families in London and Amsterdam. He wished to learn more about his Marrano-past. In London he was the guest of Gabriel Fernandes, in Rotterdam (?) he lived with Manoel Carvalho, and in Hamburg he stayed with the above-mentioned Alvaro Dinis [43]. It was in London and Hamburg that he first realized that his distant forefathers had been Jews. Marranos from Holland and England often flocked to the home of Alvaro Dinis [43] to celebrate Jewish holidays and say Jewish prayers. “He and Dinis obeyed the Mosaic laws of the Torah and considered themselves persons that had “abandoned the Christian belief”. In the home of Dinis, he celebrated his first Jewish Easter (Peasah).

In Flanders, our traveler was the guest of Anrique de Lima who was born in Braga, northern Portugal. The father of Alvaro Dinis [43], Filipe Dinis already lived in Antwerp in 1570. He too traded directly with Pernambuco from Antwerp and imported goods from Brazil in large quantities. He probably had connections in Pernambuco with the brothers de Milao. Alvaro Dinis [43], son of Felipe Dinis, at that time already in Hamburg, sailed to Brazil under his Hebraic name Samao or Semuel Hiae, probably an alias to mislead the authorities.

            Felipe’s wife, Gracia de Palacios, had several sisters that lived in Lisbon. Her sister Francisca de Palacios was married to one Duarte Furtado. Her son Vicente, another cousin of Alvaro Dinis [43] visited him in Hamburg. The most likely objective of his sojourn of two months in Hamburg was to mediate and finally bring about Alvaro’s marriage to Beatriz Henrique [36], the oldest sister of the brothers de Milao.   For this voyage, he probably availed himself of the general amnesty of January 16, 1605 that liberated from jail those Marranos that had been condemned for using Jewish traditional signs. The above-mentioned Rodrigo d’ Andrade [2] who had fled to Antwerp after the arrest of his wife Ana [1] to escape blackmail by the Inquisition had petitioned the Pope Clement VIII through the intercession of excellent connections. He requested the liberation from jail of all 410 incarcerated Marranos in Portugal. Vicente used the Popes pardon to leave Lisbon unharmed.

            He returned, essentially unnoticed, to Lisbon in October 1605. Vicente was careful to remain silent about the reasons of his trip to Hamburg.  He was thrown in jail and admitted his “sins” in 1609. If the Inquisition had known about the objectives of his Hamburg trip, he would have been considered a major conspirator in the attempted escape of the Henrique’s and might have been burned on the stake himself.

            It is known, however, that Beatriz de Milao [36] and her companion Violante Barbosa were smuggled to Hamburg in the spring of 1606. Their “guard” consisted of the younger brother Paolo de Milao [41] and the faithful butler Francisco Barbosa, brother of Violante. Francisco Barbosa came from an old Potuguese and Christian family. He was a Luisitanian royalist who hated the occupation of Portugal by Spain, hence felt sympathy for the threatened Marrano family. Nobody knew of the sailing from Lisbon since it had not been officially announced. It is speculated that the ship for this secret voyage was made available to his brother by Antonio de Caceres [25], the uncle of Beatriz and Paulo. Immediately after her arrival in Hamburg, the 33-year old Beatriz Henrique [36] married Alvaro Dinis [43].

            Her brother Paulo [41] and servant Francisco Barbosa returned to Lisbon on October 7, just as unnoticed as when they had departed. In Hamburg they had picked up the local traditions and the local German language of the dockworkers and sailors because they wanted to prepare the secret flight of the remainder of the family as thoroughly as possible.

            However, the Spanish-Portuguese bodysnatchers were already hot on the trail of the trade of the Milao family since 1603. In that year, three vessels of the Milao Company arrived in Lisbon with Polish logs, sails, and other wares from the Baltic. That was suspect because the ships had been designated for Pernambuco. They should have carried Brazilian wood and sugar to Lisbon. Goods from Brazil were charged with high import taxes and, since these were normaly not unloaded from the ships but exported to other countries, charged again with exorbitant export taxes. This double taxation of the family’s business was levied to refill the empty treasury of Portugal and also as a partial payment of the since 1601 legal Marrano-tax that was overwhelmingly collected from the rich merchants.

            The enormous sum of 1,700,000 Cruzados, which allowed the “New-Christians” officially to travel to Portuguese colonies was a burden that was mainly met by the family de Milao. The brothers in Pernambuco tried to circumvent this exploitation. They shipped Brazilian goods directly to Hamburg, presumably by secret agreement with Felipe Dinis and his son Alvaro Dinis [43]. No Spanish naval vessels plied the Southern Atlantic after 1596 when the English fleet under the command of admiral Essex had suddenly attacked the fortified southern Spanish port of Cadiz where he sank what was left of the Armada of 1588 (the North Atlantic was already free of Spanish men-o-war). At the end of the unhampered crossing of the entire Atlantic from Brasil to Hamburg, Alvaro loaded the ships with Baltic goods and sent them on their way to Lisbon. Unfortunately, the tax collectors in Lisbon discovered the ruse. During the first interrogation, Henrique de Milao [4] admitted the crime and this brought him to trial for mercantile crimes, which he could not escape. Eventually, Henrique de Milao [4] was burned on the stake in 1609 for “secret Judaism”.

            Using the Inquisition and the Catholic Church as allies, the Portuguese authorities now decided to seek revenge for the circumvention of the Marrano-tax. Starting in 1603, the house of de Milao in the Rua do Barao was continuously watched. The family must have noticed the guards because they sold the home in the merchants-quarter in 1605. They then bought homes far outside the center of the city. However, Flemish-Catholic nuns now watched their new homes in the suburb of Alcantara, downstream from Lisbon on the river Tejo. The nuns lived in a convent across from the homes of the de Milao and were very serious about their duty to betray to the Inquisition any alleged Jew. The Inquisition employed the nuns as spies because they could observe the homes of de Milao from their rooms. In this way, the Inquisition obtained forged reports about the movements of the members of the family regarding meetings and preparations for escape. The reports were actually forged by the Inquisition and not by the nuns.



Escape Attempts, Betrayal, Arrests and their Consequences

Paulo [41] and Francisco (Barboza) returned to Lisbon on October 7, 1606. The authorities knew that they had returned from Hamburg and not from Brazil.  They also knew about the marriage of Beatriz [36] with Alvaro Dinis [43] and that Alvaro had openly declared himself to be a Jew.

            During the night from October 27 to 28, 1606, between one and two A.M. on Saturday morning, the entire family de Milao and six companions, some of whom were armed, was arrested. Among the companions was unarmed Paulo [41], who had planned to remain behind after the flight of the family to take care of financial matters in Lisbon and Madrid. Also arrested were Vicente Furtado (Alvaros Cousin), Antonio Mendes Cardoso, Manuel Sanches (secretary of Fernao Lopes de Milao [37]), and the de Milao relatives Gaspar Fernandes Penso and Fernao Rodrigues Penso. They did not resist because they had armed themselves against Spanish soldiers and had not expected Portuguese Inquisitors to show up. The armed persons were incarcerated in the “Escola Gerais”. The members of the Milao family were incarcerated in the main prison of the Inquisition in Lisbon.

            Manuel Sanches was soon set free, all others later. Sanches disappeared soon from Lisbon and resurfaced later as practicing Jew in Hamburg and Amsterdam where he called himself Heitor and also Hector Mendes Bravo. In 1619 he reappeared as a renegate (“reborn Christian”) in Lisbon where he denounced the entire clan living in Hamburg and Amsterdam of being secret or openly Jewish. This caused great consternation and fear because those persons in Lisbon with whom the “renegades” traded were now in mortal danger. According to an affidavit of 1619, he stated that there were Synagogues in three homes of Jews in Hamburg: Rodrigo Pires Brandao, Alvaro Dinis [43], and Ruy Fernandes Cardoso.

            Thirty-six months later, on February 26, 1609, Vicente Furtado and, two days later, Gasper Fernandes Penso were arrested again, based on forced statements from the tortured Fernao Lopes de Milao [37]. This time they were accused of secret Judaism.

            Fernando Alvaro Melo was rearrested two days before the “Auto-da-Fé” of April 5, 1609 at which Henrique Dias de Milao [4] and Antonio Barboso were burned on the stake. Exhausting interrogations of the brothers de Milao lasting for well over 2.5 years yielded only scant proof for the Inquisitors namely that all accused had talked about Jewish traditions and holidays. It was alleged that Paulo [41] like Vicente Furtado before him, had carried Jewish calendars to Lisbon from his return from London and Flanders. The accused had allegedly consulted, discussed, and designated October 11, 1606 as the day of fasting, Jom Kippur. They were accused of actually have fastened on that day. At the end of 1608, all members of the de Milao family and their companions for the escape were accused of having committed these sins. That was the unstated reason why all practicing Jews were kept in jail until they had admitted the sin, had shown repentance and had begged the Church for forgiveness and punishment. If they admitted, repented, and asked for forgiveness, they were sentenced to a period of further repentance in the Ecola Gerais in the Quarter of Santa Marinha. This was the only way they could save their lives. He, who did not admit to sinning was condemned to burning on a pyre.

            The prestige of the clergy, the prosecutors and the interlucotors of the Inquisition were at stake. They demanded a public show to prove their absolute control to the population. The father of the de Milao family was especially important to them as an example because he was one of the most widely known merchants of Lisbon and was considered an outstanding citizen. Enrique however refused to cooperate to produce a spectacle.

            Individual cases are now treated along thematic lines and not chronologically.

            Note: I will only translate the cases of members of the Henriques family.


            Henrique Dias Milao [4], condemned number 71 of the “Auto-da-Fé” of April 5, 1609, was almost 80 years when he was incarcerated. He was accused of trying to escape, avoiding payment of taxes, and having relations with a small group of Jews who were known as “Judeos de Sinal”, Jews who had registered, and who lived completely legally in the Villa des Vaco Fernandes Cesar in Lisbon. The Inquisition did not persecute them at that time because it tried to root out Catholics that were secretly Jews. It was Francesco Barbosa, the young servant of Henrique, who had told he Inquisition about the contacts with “Judeos de Sinal”. Henrique allegedly had talked to an unknown Jew in a strange language-supposedly Castilian. It did not do Henrique any good when Francesco later recanted. The Inquisitor Antonio Dias Cardoso visited the old man in his cell on February 12, 1609, 2.5 years after his incarceration and two months prior to his death sentence to convince him that he should admit his errors and ask for forgiveness. However, Henrique Dias de Milao answered: “Even when you tie me to the stake at which you are going to burn me, that will not be enough to convince me to admit that I have done anything wrong”. After the death sentence was read to him, both of his hands were tied behind his back. The only way in which he could now save his life was to find those who had testified against him and prove that their testimonies were false. He also had to accuse family members as co-conspirators. Now Henrique admitted that he had fasted on Yom Kippur of October 11, 1606. He also admitted that Vicente Furtado, son of a rich and well-known but already deceased merchant of Lisbon Duarte Fertado had lent him a little book that he had acquired in England three years ago when Vicente had returned from Flanders. The little book dealt with Mosaic laws and the days of fasting established by that law. He, Henrique, had returned the book to Vicente after three or four days.

            However, the inquisitors were not satisfied with his statements on the grounds that they were superficial and that he, Henrique, had given no indications of “confitente”, penance. For that reason he was condemned to death by burning on the stake.

            It is not known whether the condemned asked to be strangled on the stake before being burned alive. There was a witness, Manuel Cardoso de Macedo, who shared Henrique’s cell, who said that Henrique had assured him plaintively that he was innocent. Manuel Cardoso was an “Old-Christian. Much later he became the “Shamash” of the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam. There he recounted the case of martyrdom of Henrique Dias Milao [4]. He, Cardoso, was arrested, he said, because he had tried to help the youngest daughter of the family Isabel Henriques [42] and her maid Victoria Dias to flee from Lisbon with the two small sons of sister Ana [40]. Isabel, who was only 16 years at the time of her arrest 0n October 28, 1606, was released together with the maid with the official statement-“a abitrio dilatado”, which meant that her case could still be reopened at any time. Following the aborted flight with Macedo, the girls were incarcerated in the “Escola Gerais”.

            During the night before his execution, the 82-year old Henrique tried to escape via a ditch, despite his old age and an infected leg. It was not explained how he could reach the ditch when his hands were tied.

            His files end with this sentence: “Homen relaxado por Judaismo x. n. Annrique Diaz Milao, natural de S. ta. Tomba Daõ, ficto, diminuto, simulado confitento, emor em LX a casado com Guimar Gomez; por cofitete diminuto”- This man was condemned to death because he was a practicing Jew: Annrique Diaz Milao, born in Santa Comba Dao. His confessions are invented, insufficient, and dubious. Is married to Guimar Gomez. For insufficient contrition.

            On April 5, 1609, 75 condemned were paraded around a circle on the Placa do Ribeiro, close to the river Tejo. They wore “penance-shirts” on which flames were painted. The flames on the shirts of 40 males and 38 females pointed downwards, which meant that they had been pardoned from the death penalty because of honest penance. The flames of two males and five females pointed upwards-the sign that they were to be burned at the stake. The two men were Henrique Dias Milao [1] and his faithful servant Antonio Barbosa. One of the women was a niece of Henrique, the young Beatriz Rodrigues. The preacher at the “festivity” was the Jesuit Jeronimo Dias. The “sponsor-protector” of the Auto-da-Fe was the Viceroy of Spain in Portugal

Several days before the Auto-da-Fe, Paulo [41] was brought into Antonio Barbosa’s cell, together with another acquintance, one Antonio Lopes. Antonio Lopes was a spy for the Inquisition. His task was to spy on his two cellmates. Four days before the Auto-da-Fe he told the Inquisitors that Paulo had tried to convince Antonio to think normally, to eat and to show contrition. Antonio added that Antonio and Paulo had talked in German of a special dialect, probably from Hamburg, to make sure that they were not understood. However, Barbosa, who had converted to Judaism, refused to abandon his new faith.

The first time that Fernao Lopes de Milao [37], the fouth child of Henrique Diaz Milao, admitted that he had participated in Jewish rites was during an interrogation 1½ year after the arrest and incarceration of the entire family.  Until that time he had denied, both orally and in writing, the statements of the young witness Francisco Barbosa, who being a Christian, he said, did not understand the Jewish calendar. Francisco, who had lived in the house of the Milao’s, had stated that the family had celebrated the Jewish Passover shortly after the Christian Easter in the spring of 1606. However, Fernao [37] was well trained in theology and humanism. He could prove that the date of the Jewish Passover is always before that of the Christian Easter. Hence Francisco must have invented his accusation.

In his entire defense, Fernao proved himself a cautious and wise lawyer but he knew that no wisdom could save him from death unless he admitted his errors and showed contrition. He also carefully avoided implicating any still free person. Two days after the death of his father and his own “mea culpa parade” at the Auto-da-Fe, he asked “voluntarily” for an audience with his inquisitor to ask that his tortures be stopped. His officially read sentence was: “Carcere e habito perpetua sem remission”-Life sentence without any reduction of punishments”. He was aged only thirty-four. Hence, he attempted to avoid this fate with a renewed attempt to save himself. On April 7, 1609 he made a new confession: ”About mid-October 1606 as he was hiding in houses in the Calcada de Pai de Nabis street, Fernando Alvares Melo and Gasoer Fernandes Penso visited him in his hideout. The home belonged to a Diogo Lopes Cardoso. About Melo Fernao knew only that he was a New-Christian and the brother of the silk merchant Pero F. Melo, who lived in the Rua Nova. Melo told him that the entire family was now accused by the “Holy Institution” of the Inquisition. He was sorry to hear that and offered to help them. During subsequent visits to the hideout he repeated his offer. Fernao stated that he did not remember having known Melo prior to these visits and he did not know either who had informed Melo about his family.

In addition, Fernao made an attempt to save Vicente. He recounted how he used to walk with Vicente Furtado and his own brother Gomes Rodrigues de Milao [30] in the hills near the chapel of Santa Amaro. Vicente told them that father Francisco Cardoso a famous Jesuitic priest had suggested that he marry a “Old-Christian” girl. Fernao therefore asked him how he could have assented to such a marriage considering that he was enthused by Judaism after he returned from Flanders. Vincente responded that he was now more Christian than even an “Old-Christian”. Indeed, two days later, on May 9, 1609, Vicente was released from jail. However, only a few days later he was arrested again-probably on the grounds of fresh accusations against him from prisoners.

Now, Fernao Lopes de Milao was interviewed again by an inquisitor about his meetings with Vicente three years earlier. Fernao stated:

Paulo [41], his younger brother had returned from Hamburg on October 7, 1606. Vicente, who had returned earlier from the North, visited him in the house of the Milao-Family in Alcantara. He wished to learn more about his relatives. Paulo [41] told him that Yom Kippur fell on October 11 of that year. Fernao [37] claimed that he had fetched and opened his Latin bible in order to understand what this Yom Kippur was all about. He read aloud. Paulo told them that the oriental Jews dressed differently from the European Jews on that day. The oriental Jews wore only white dresses. Fernao remarked that the only authority on how to behave was the Bible in his own hands. Nothing should be changed. Paulo asked Fernao whether he was perhaps a Karier (a Jewish sect). Fernao stated that he did not understand what his brother was talking about. Vicente then explained to him that the Kariers were a sect that accepted the Bible literally. For example, when the Bible stated: ”On the Sabbath you shall not light a fire in your house”, the Kariers would light their fires outdoors. Next, Vicente loaned him two little booklets written in Spanish. One dealt with the “Poems of David” without the later added Gloria-Patria prayer of Saint Augustin. The second was a prayer book with traditions for two of the weekly fast-days, Monday and Thursday. Vicente also conveyed that a day of fasting was to be added before each day of the new Moon. Fernao claimed that he returned the booklets to Vicente who then gave them to the Mulatto-wife of Antonio Milao [39]. Later, Fernao Lopes Rodrigues testified in favor of Vicente, stating that Vicente had said that the Psalms of David had been a Christian version. Vicente Furtado himself stated that the famous monk Heitor Pinto had given him the Psalms as a present and that the proscribed prayer “Gloria Patria” had appeared after every Psalm.

Eventually Fernao’s punishment was reduced. He was condemned to a long housearrest in the quarter of Santa Marinha next to the “Escola Gerais”. Forever he would have to wear the flame-painted shirt and be under the control of the Inquisition. He had to pay a large bond to be released. He was “branded” and banned forever. He was not allowed to have any contacts with any person. It is likely that the Church expected additional payments from the rich family.

It was not known how Fernao Lopes de Milao escaped from Portugal. He was probably already in Amsterdam in 1610 as proven from correspondence among Portuguese merchants. A signature of Fernao written on March 27, 1612 in Amsterdam exists.

Gomes Rodrigues de Milao [30] admitted that he and his brothers Fernao [37] and Paulo [41] had fasted with Vicente Furtado on October 11, 1606. At the end of the day, the four had talked about the Kariers.

Some historians have concluded that the family Milao was the center of Renaissance and dissemination of the Jewish faith. There are considerable doubts that that was the case.

The statements of Gomes de Milao [30] were apparently simple and clear but less sophisticated than those of his brother Fernao. Gomes had to pay a high price for his honesty. He was accused #32 in the circular parade of the Auto-da-Fe. His penalty was: to wear the flame-painted shirt lifelong and to serve five years on a galley.

He was handed to a Spanish captain who chained him to his rowing bench. Gomes begged for lighter work because he was an epileptic and had other illnesses as well. Because the sum of 500 Cruzedos was demanded for the reduction of his penalty and because the sum was not available, Gomes was sent to the galley. Only 1½ year later, on September 3, 1610 was his sentence reduced after several written requests to the Inquisition and a medical, church-approved report about his poor physical condition. At the request of the Commander of the Inquisition, Dom Pedro de Castilho, the family was asked to pay 300 Cruzedos for his liberation. After some negotiations, 200 Cruzedos were paid. Gomes had suffered two years of the hardest slavery.

Again, how he eventually managed to escape from Portugal is not known. However, on October 16, 1612 he appears on a list of notaries in Amsterdam. The two existing Jewish-religious groups of Amsterdam merged administratively on May 20, 1616. One group was the Ashkenazi Synagogue-community of Beit-Yakob of Rabbi Uri Phoebus Halevy from Emden. The other group belonged to the sephardic Neveh-Shalom-Synagogue. The bylaws of the new organization were signed by 170 males of both groups, among which Jews from Hamburg and Venice. The signature of Daniel Abenzur, alias Gomes Rodrigues de Milao [30] appears on line 23. Later he also called himself Daniel de Hollande, Daniel de la Piedra –Portuguese for Abenzur-and Abraham Israel de Sequeirra in the Jewish community of London.

His cousin Beatriz Rodrigues [29], who at the time of his arrest was already betrothed to him and later married him when they were free, had been the accused # 68 of the parade of the Auto-da-Fe. Initially she was sentenced to death because of insufficient contriteness. Shortly before she was burned at the stake, she admitted her sins. Her sentence was then changed to the life-long wearing of the flame-painted shirt, “insignia de fogo”, which meant that she could never again talk to anybody. The only way out for her would have been to opt for a nunnery.

About Paulo de Milao’s [41] fate we know this: under pressure from his inquisitor he accused the armed companions of the attempted escape in 1606. He had been arrested as a member of the de Milao family although he was found unarmed on another ship and not together with the rest of his family. In the context of the Auto-da-Fe he was sentenced to a year imprisonment in the “Escola Gerais” After that he had to live in the quarter of Santa Marinho under the tutelage of a priest and control of a jailer and he always had to wear the flame-painted shirt. However, authorities caught him on several occasions in other parts of the city dressed in a sleeveless black shirt and carrying a sword!

An attempted escape of Paulo aided by the relative of the Inquisitor Antonio Dias Cardoso, Manuel Cardoso de Macedo failed just as badly as an earlier one with two girls and two babies. Then, one day, his jailer Jorge da Costa reported that he had discovered during a control of Paulo’s cell that his shirt lay neatly folded on a chair. Apparently, Paulo had given the key of his cell to a neighbor inmate and had stated that he would not return. It is suspected that Jorge da Costa had been paid off because he did not report Paulo missing until he had escaped. It is also suspected that Jorge was a Portuguese patriot who hated the Spanish and their Inquisition. Paulo was indeed the first of the family to escape from Portugal on or about January 10, 1610.

We are less well informed about the fates of the female family members. Apparently Isabel Henriques de Santiago [42] had tried to escape with her maid and the grandchildren of Ana de Milao [1].

The mother Guiomar Gomes [3] and her daughters Leanor [38] and Isabel [42] were interrogated under oath on August 16, 1610. However, all women-Guiomar, Leanor, Isabel, Ana and their children, the maid Victoria and a cousin Branca Rodrigues managed to escape from Portugal on February 25, 1611. It is not known how they managed to succeed. One has to assume that corrupt officials and possibly nationalistic Luisitanians had helped.





After the family escaped from Portugal, members of the Henriques clan lived in: London, Amsterdam, Emden (Germany), Hamburg and especially Glueckstadt (= “City of good fortune”).

Those who wanted a Torah school to be available for their children favored Amsterdam because Amsterdam was the only city that allowed the Jews to have such a school.

Glueckstadt, just a few miles northwest of Hamburg was in those days in Schleswig Holstein that belonged to Denmark. The King of Denmark invited Jews to settle in Glueckstadt because he wanted the town to become a competitor of Hamburg.


I will now focus only on Paulo [41], his two wifes Lea de Andrade [44] and Abigail Dinis [45], their son Josua Abensur a.k.a. Josua bar Moise Henriques [46], his son Moses Henriques [48] and wife Hava-Eva Fallache [50] because these are our forbears.


Paulo, the “Fighter”, in Hamburg.

Paulo is known as Mosche Abensur in all official documents of the Jewish communities of Hamburg and Glueckstadt. His “merchant’s alias” was Paul-Pauwel Dirichsen.

He was the closest collaborator of his older brother-in-law Alvaro Dinis [43] even though he often greatly embarrassed Alvaro with his wild behavior. However, Alvaro always vouched for him in such cases and continued to employ him as his bookkeeper and representative.

            One suspects that Dinis felt obliged to Paulo because Paulo had smuggled out of Portugal his mother and all of his remaining brothers and sisters. Paulo had been the first who had escaped jail in Lisbon with intelligence and guts. He was the “Fighter” of the family indeed.

            Paulo first married his relative Lea d’ Andrade [44] from Antwerp and later a younger sister of his brother-in-law, Abigail Dinis [45]. Their sons were Josua Henriques alias Josua bar Moise Abensur [46] (only in the Jewish community, however) and Daniel Henriques-Abensur [47], who apparently died in Copenhagen.

            Josua was arrogant like his father. He was born at the earliest in 1614 or 1615 in Hamburg because his father had promised in 1613 to marry a Christian girl in Danzig, a promise he did not keep. In 1649, Josua became a citizen of Glueckstadt. Already three years earlier, in 1646, he claimed the inheritance from his uncle Alvaro Dinis [43] because Alvaro owed much money to his father Paulo [41]. He was summoned a number of times to appear before the rabbinical court of the Jewish community of Hamburg but he refused on the grounds that he was a leading Jew of Glueckstadt. Until now {the writer means: until his research} no historian has recognized that Josua was the son of Paulo even though the second generation still used the name of their martyred grandfather, Henriques [4]. One reason was that these people were still afraid of the long arm of the Inquisition, even after 1644. Eventually they also dropped the name “Abensur” (=”Rock”), although the gravestone of the grandson of Moshe Abensur-Dirichsen [41]- Moses Henriques [48] in Glueckstadt shows that the family was well aware of its descent from the “Rock” Henrique [4].

At this point a note states the following: The gravestone of Moses Henriques [48] (1635-1694) in Glueckstadt shows an ornament that represents “Moses on the Rock”. The gravestone of his wife Chava (=Eva) (1625-1694) is embellished with the symbol of the Goddess of Furtune “Fortuna”. Chava was the daughter of the leading Representative of Morocco in the Baltics, Isaac Fallache.