Why is the King of Spain King of Jerusalem?

Auschwitz-Birkenau, the extermination camp on the outskirts of Krakow in Poland, built by Nazism to end the lives of innocent humans, destroyed with the poison of the chemical Zyklon B and the gas chamber system, was released 75 years, when the Red Army troops pushed the Germans, who had failed in Operation Barbarossa, to flee, their attempt to conquer the Soviet Union. His arrival at the camp meant the withdrawal of the first mantle that hid the horror of the Third Reich. The following took off during the next months, when the “Western allies” reached Bergen-Belsen, Dachau and Buchenwald, and made known what they had contemplated there to “put the German population before the mirror,” as historian Nikolaus explains Wachsmann in «History of Nazi concentration camps» (Criticism, 2017).

During these days, Israel, homeland of some survivors, commemorates the liberation of Auschwtiz-Birkenau, a field converted into the symbol of the Holocaust, the genocide studied by historians, philosophers and writers with the desire to answer the big question, how could it happen , and to fulfill an ethical mandate, which is not repeated. King Felipe VI, who has been invited to the events, plays a special role at this time for the memory, linked to his status as King of Jerusalem, an honorary title he holds as the holder of the Crown of Spain. The origin of that dignity dates back to the Middle Ages, a period where the exploration of genealogy, often dotted with wars, and even a sale.

To the crusades
The origin of the title of King of Jerusalem dates back to the first crusade (1095-1099). The military expedition was created after the call of Pope Urban II, carried out, according to historian Alain Demurger, with two objectives: on the one hand, “to help the Christians of the East”, and, on the other, “to recover the tomb of Jesus Christ (the Holy Sepulcher) in Jerusalem ». In reality, greed and looting had their place in the adventure, where the city was razed and the Frankish knights, in particular the Lords of Godofredo de Bouillon and his brother, Baldwin, excelled in particular. In fact, Godofredo was appointed protector of the Holy Places, and, at his death, his brother became Baldwin I, the first King of Jerusalem.

«The Kingdom of Jerusalem exists from the first crusade. In the Bible its existence was mentioned, so, in the Middle Ages, a series of movements appear that want to recover the spaces that have something to do with Christianity. Among them, figure Jerusalem. This is how the first crusades are formed, which have a huge impact throughout Europe, ”explains Esther Bentahan, head of Culture at the Sefarad-Israel Center. «Pope Urban II launched the first crusade, which established the Kingdom of Jerusalem, in force about 200 years. The title passes to several kings, until it is finally acquired by Naples, ”he adds.

“It is a title without a kingdom, which the Spanish Crown acquires when Ferdinand the Catholic was named King of Naples,” says Bentahan.

Since then, «the title has always been held by the King of Spain, and is very symbolic, has enormous symbolic value. Remember that Spain has a great relationship with the Jewish world, ”concludes Bentahan. .

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