Black Death Jewish persecutions

The Black Death persecutions and massacres were a series of violent attacks on Jewish communities blamed for an outbreak of the Black Death in Europe from 1348 to 1351.[1]

1349 burning of Jews-European chronicle on Black Death
Representation of a massacre of the Jews in 1349 Antiquitates Flandriae (Royal Library of Belgium manuscript 1376/77)

History of persecutions

Christians despised Jews for their lack of conviction in Jesus Christ. The official church policy was to protect Jews because Jesus was born into the Jewish race. But in reality Jews were targets of Christian loathing.[2] As the plague swept across Europe in the mid-14th century, annihilating nearly half the population, Jews were taken as scapegoats, likely because they were affected less than other people.[3][4] Accusations spread that Jews had caused the disease by deliberately poisoning wells.[5][6]

The first massacres directly related to the plague took place in April 1348 in Toulon, France, where the Jewish quarter was sacked, and forty Jews were murdered in their homes, then in Barcelona.[7] In 1349, massacres and persecution spread across Europe, including the Erfurt massacre (1349), the Basel massacre, massacres in Aragon, and Flanders.[8][9] 2000 Jews were burnt alive on 14 February 1349 in the "Valentine's Day" Strasbourg massacre, where the plague had not yet affected the city. While the ashes smouldered, Christian residents of Strasbourg sifted through and collected the valuable possessions of Jews not burnt by the fires.[10][11] Many hundreds of Jewish communities were destroyed in this period. Within the 510 Jewish communities destroyed in this period, some members killed themselves to avoid the persecutions.[12] In the spring of 1349 the Jewish community in Frankfurth-am-Main was annihilated. This was followed by the destruction of Jewish communities in Mainz and Cologne. The 3000 strong Jewish population of Mainz initially defended themselves and managed to hold off the Christian attackers. But the Christians managed to overwhelm the Jewish ghetto in the end and killed all of its Jews.[10]

At Speyer, Jewish corpses were disposed in wine casks and cast into the Rhine. By the close of 1349 the worst of the pogroms had ended in Rhineland. But around this time the massacres of Jews started rising near the Hansa townships of the Baltic Coast and in Eastern Europe. By 1351 there had been 350 incidents of anti-Jewish pogroms and 60 major and 150 minor Jewish communities had been exterminated. All of this caused the eastward movement of Northern Europe's Jewry to Poland and Russia, where they remained for the next six centuries. King Casimir of Poland enthusiastically gave refuge and protection to the Jews. The motives for this action is unclear. The king was well disposed to Jews and had a Jewish mistress. He was also interested in tapping the economic potential of the Jewry.[13]

Reasons for relative Jewish immunity

There are many possible reasons why Jews were accused to be the cause for the plague. One reason was because there was a general sense of anti-Semitism in the 14th century.[3] Jews were also isolated in the ghettos, which meant in some places that Jews were less affected.[14][15] Additionally, there are many Jewish laws that promote cleanliness: a Jew must wash his or her hands before eating bread and after using the bathroom, it was customary for Jews to bathe once a week before the Sabbath, a corpse must be washed before burial, and so on.[4]

Government responses

In many cities the civil authorities either did little to protect the Jewish communities or actually abetted the rioters.[16] Pope Clement VI (the French born Benedictine, Pierre Roger) tried to protect the Jewish communities by two papal bulls (the first on July 6, 1348 and another 26 September 1348) saying that those who blamed the plague on the Jews had been "seduced by that liar, the Devil" and urging clergy to protect the Jews. In this, Clement was aided by the researches of his personal physician Guy de Chauliac who argued from his own treatment of the infected that the Jews were not to blame.[17] Clement's efforts were in part undone by the newly elected Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor making property of Jews killed in riots forfeit, giving local authorities a financial incentive to turn a blind eye.[18]

Aftermath

As the plague waned in 1350, so did the violence against Jewish communities. In 1351, the plague and the immediate persecution was over, though the background level of persecution and discrimination remained. Ziegler (1998) comments that "there was nothing unique about the massacres".[19] 20 years after the Black Death the Brussels massacre (1370) wiped out the Belgian Jewish community.[20]

Jewish tales of Black Death in Early Modern Period

Though told for nearly 350 years, there were no written accounts of the Black Death through Jewish tales until 1696, by Yiftah Yosef ben Naftali Hirts Segal Manzpach in the Mayse Nissim. Yuzpa Shammes, as he frequently was referred to, was a scribe and shammash of the Worms community for several decades. His accounts intend to show that the Jews were not idle but that they took action against inevitably becoming the scapegoat. Despite Yuzpa's assertion that the Jews fought against the massacres, there are contradicting accounts that claim that there was no evidence of "armed resistance".[21] These contradicting tales display the effect of oral tradition being manipulated to fit certain circumstances.

"Ordinary folk hated the Jews because they had served the merchants and aristocrats, and with their loans and with their capital, helped establish urban economy and the city's governing political and territorial independence. Further, the Jews had exploited artisans 'with loans at usurious rates'."[22] These reasons gave the "ordinary folk" the motive to kill the Jews because they were gaining political and social standings. Breuer also included that "others ... saw the massacres as the revenge of impoverished debtors against privileged elite of Jewish creditors."[23]

See also

References

  1. ^ Levine, Rabbi Menachem. "Crusades, Blood Libels and the Black Plague". rabbilevine.org. Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  2. ^ Diane Zahler (2009). The Black Death. Twenty-First Century Books. pp. 64–. ISBN 978-0-8225-9076-7.
  3. ^ a b "Blaming the Jews for the Black Death Plague". www.sixmillioncrucifixions.com. Retrieved 2016-06-09.
  4. ^ a b "The Black Death". www.jewishhistory.org. Retrieved 2016-06-09.
  5. ^ Anna Foa The Jews of Europe After the Black Death 2000 Page 146 "There were several reasons for this, including, it has been suggested, the observance of laws of hygiene tied to ritual practices and a lower incidence of alcoholism and venereal disease"
  6. ^ Richard S. Levy Antisemitism 2005 Page 763 "Panic emerged again during the scourge of the Black Death in 1348, when widespread terror prompted a revival of the well poisoning charge. In areas where Jews appeared to die of the plague in fewer numbers than Christians, possibly because of better hygiene and greater isolation, lower mortality rates provided evidence of Jewish guilt."
  7. ^ Anna Foa The Jews of Europe after the black death 2000 p. 13 "This was the context in which the Plague made its appearance in 1348. THE BLACK DEATH The Plague was not unknown in ... The first massacres took place in April 1348 in Toulon, where the Jewish quarter was raided and forty Jews were murdered in their homes. Shortly afterward, violence broke out in Barcelona and in other Catalan cities."
  8. ^ Codex Judaica: chronological index of Jewish history; p. 203 Máttis Kantor - 2005 "1349 The Black Death massacres swept across Europe. ... The Jews were savagely attacked and massacred, by sometimes hysterical mobs — normal social order had ..."
  9. ^ John Marshall John Locke, Toleration and Early Enlightenment Culture; p. 376 2006 "The period of the Black Death saw the massacre of Jews across Germany, and in Aragon, and Flanders",
  10. ^ a b Robert S. Gottfried (11 May 2010). Black Death. Simon and Schuster. pp. 74–. ISBN 978-1-4391-1846-7.
  11. ^ See Stéphane Barry and Norbert Gualde, «La plus grande épidémie de l'histoire» ("The greatest epidemic in history"), in L'Histoire magazine, n° 310, June 2006, p. 47 (in French)
  12. ^ Durant, Will. "The Renaissance" Simon and Schuster (1953), page 730–731, ISBN 0-671-61600-5
  13. ^ Robert S. Gottfried (11 May 2010). Black Death. Simon and Schuster. pp. 74–. ISBN 978-1-4391-1846-7. He had a Jewish mistress and seemed well-disposed in general to Jews. Perhaps too he was anxious to have the commercial skills which some of the immigrants could offer.
  14. ^ Pasachoff, Naomi E.; Littman, Robert J. (2005). A Concise History of the Jewish People. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 154. ISBN 0-7425-4365-X. However, Jews regularly ritually washed and bathed, and their abodes were slightly cleaner than their Christian neighbors'. Consequently, when the rat and the flea brought the Black Death, Jews, with better hygiene, suffered less severely ...
  15. ^ Joseph P Byrne, Encyclopedia of the Black Death Volume 1 2012—Page 15 "Anti–Semitism and Anti–Jewish Violence before the Black Death .. Their attention to personal hygiene and diet, their forms of worship, and cycles of holidays were off-puttingly different."
  16. ^ Howard N. Lupovitch Jews and Judaism in world history p92—2009 "In May 1349, the city fathers of Brandenburg passed a law a priori condemning Jews of well poisoning: Should it become evident and proved by reliable men that the Jews have caused or will cause in the future the death of Christians,..."
  17. ^ Getz, Faye (1998). "Book review: Inventarium sive Chirurgia Magna. Vol. 1, Text". Bulletin of the History of Medicine. 72 (3): 533–535.
  18. ^ Howard N. Lupovitch Jews and Judaism in world history p. 92 2009 "On July 6, 1349, Pope Clement tried to curb anti-Jewish violence by issuing a papal bull. Its effectiveness was limited by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, who made arrangements for the disposal of Jewish property in the event of a ..."
  19. ^ Philip Ziegler The Black Death 1998 "The persecution of the Jews waned with the Black Death itself; by 1351 all was over. Save for the horrific circumstances of the plague which provided the incentive and the background, there was nothing unique about the massacres."
  20. ^ The Shengold Jewish Encyclopedia Mordecai Schreiber—2011 "In 1370, after the Black Death, the brutal Brussels Massacre wiped out the Belgian Jewish community"
  21. ^ Die Chronik des Mathias von Neuenburg, 1955. "While a Christian chronicler reports that during the pogrom of March 1, 1349, the beleaguered Jews of Worms set fire to their own houses, as may have happened elsewhere, there is no evidence of armed resistance."
  22. ^ The 'Black Death' and Antisemitism, 1998. "Ordinary folk hated the Jews because they had served the merchants and aristocrats, and with their loans and with their capital, helped establish urban economy and the city's governing political and territorial independence. Further, the Jews had exploited artisans 'with loans at usurious rates'."
  23. ^ Samuel K. Cohen Jr. The Black Death and the Burning of Jews, 2007. "others ... saw the massacres as the revenge of impoverished debtors against privileged elite of Jewish creditors."
1033 Fez massacre

In 1033, following their conquest of the city from the Maghrawa tribe, the forces of Tamim, chief of the Zenata Berber Banu Ifran tribe, perpetrated a massacre of Jews in Fez in an anti-Jewish pogrom. The city of Fez in Morocco had been contested between the Zenata Berber tribes of Miknasa, Maghrawa and Banu Ifran for the previous half century, in the aftermath of the fall of the Idrisid dynasty.

Tamim's forces killed over six thousand Jews, appropriated their belongings, and captured the Jewish women of the city. The killings took place in the month of Jumaada al-Akhir 424 AH (May–June 1033 AD). The killings have been called a "pogrom" by some recent writers. Sometime in the period 1038-1040 the Maghrawa tribe retook Fez, forcing Tamīm to flee to Salé.

1934 Constantine Pogrom

The 1934 Constantine pogrom was an anti-Jewish riot that erupted in the Algerian city of Constantine.

Basel massacre

The Basel massacre of Jews took place on 9 January 1349, as part of the Black Death persecutions of 1348–1350.Following the spread of the Black Death through the surrounding countryside of Savoy and subsequently Basel, Jews were accused of having poisoned the wells, because they were perceived as having a lower mortality rate from the plague than the non-Jews.

The City Fathers of Basel attempted to protect their Jews but to no avail, and 600 Jews, including the community's rabbi, were burned at the stake. Afterwards, 140 Jewish children were forcibly converted to Catholicism.Following the massacre, it was decreed that all Jews were banned from settling in the city of Basel for 200 years, although this was revoked several decades later.

Brussels massacre

The Brussels massacre was an anti-Semitic episode in Brussels in 1370 in connection with an alleged host desecration at the Brussels synagogue. A number of Jews, variously given as six or about twenty, were executed or otherwise killed, while the rest of the small community was banished. The event was commemorated by local Christians as the Sacrament of Miracle, as it was said that the desecrated hosts stabbed by a Jew had miraculously shed blood and been otherwise unharmed. The cult of the putative miracle survived until after the Second World War. The event occurred on May 22.

Christian persecution

Christian persecution may refer to:

History of Christian thought on persecution and tolerancePersecution of other groups by ChristiansHistorical persecution by Christians

Persecution of Heathens (disambiguation)

Anti-paganism policies of the early Byzantine Empire

Persecution of pagans in the late Roman Empire

Christian persecution of paganism under Theodosius I

Anti-paganism policy of Constantius II

Persecution of Germanic Pagans (disambiguation)

Persecution of Ottoman Muslims

Persecution of Jews

Black Death Jewish persecutionsPersecutions of Christians by other ChristiansAnti-Protestantism

Persecution of Christians in MexicoPersecution of Christians by other groupsPersecution of Christians

Persecution of Christians in the New Testament

Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire

Decian persecution

Persecution in Lyon

Diocletianic Persecution

List of Christians martyred during the reign of Diocletian

Gothic persecution of Christians

The Myth of Persecution

Persecution of Eastern Orthodox Christians

Persecution of Oriental Orthodox Christians

Persecution of Copts

Persecution of Christians in the modern era

Nazi persecution of the Catholic Church in Germany

Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Nazi Germany

Persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union

Persecution of Christians in the Eastern Bloc

Eastern Catholic victims of Soviet persecutions

Religious persecution during the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina

Anti-Christian violence in India

Genocide of Christians by ISIL

Erfurt massacre (1349)

The Erfurt massacre refers to the massacre of the Jewish community in Erfurt, Germany, on March 21, 1349. Accounts of the number of Jews killed in the massacre vary widely from between 100 to up to 3000. Some Jews set fire to their homes and possessions and perished in the flames before they could be lynched. The many Black Death persecutions and massacres that occurred in France and Germany at that time were sometimes in response to accusations that the Jews were responsible for outbreaks of the Black Death, and other times justified with the belief that killing the local Jews would prevent the spread of the Black Death to that locale. Although these beliefs, and the accompanying massacres, were frequently encouraged by local bishops or itinerant Flagellants, the Catholic Church, including Pope Clement VI under whom the Flagellants and the Black Death began, and his successor, Innocent VI, were firmly against it. In a papal bull condemning the Flagellant movement in late 1349, Pope Clement VI criticized their "shedding the blood of Jews". Erfurt later suffered the ravages of the Black Plague, where over 16,000 residents died during a ten-week period in 1350.Massacres were generally accompanied by extensive looting. One of the items looted in the Erfurt massacre was what is now the oldest remaining manuscript of the Tosefta, which dates from the 12th century. The Erfurt Manuscripts, including the Tosefta, came into the possession of Erfurt City Council after the Massacre, and in the late 17th century ended up in the library of the Lutheran Evangelical Ministry, at Erfurt's former Augustinian Monastery. The Ministry sold them to the Royal Library in Berlin, the present day Berlin State Library, in 1880, where they are now kept. According to one reference, there are bloodstains on the Tosefta manuscript. Many of the Jews of Erfurt preemptively hid their valuables. Some of those valuables, probably belonging to merchant Kalman of Wiehe, were found in 1998, and are now referred to as the Erfurt Treasure.Among those murdered was prominent Talmudist Alexander Suslin.

Kamianets-Podilskyi massacre

The Kamianets-Podilskyi massacre was a World War II mass shooting of Jews carried out in the opening stages of Operation Barbarossa, by mobile killing squads of Nazi German Order Police Battalion 320 along with Jeckeln's Einsatzgruppen, the Hungarian soldiers, and the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police. The killings were conducted on August 27 and August 28, 1941, in the Soviet city of Kamianets-Podilskyi (now Ukraine), occupied by German troops in the previous month on July 11, 1941. According to the Nazi German reports a total of 23,600 Jews were murdered, including 16,000 who had earlier been expelled from Hungary.

Kaunas pogrom

The Kaunas pogrom was a massacre of Jewish people living in Kaunas, Lithuania that took place on June 25–29, 1941 – the first days of the Operation Barbarossa and of Nazi occupation of Lithuania. The most infamous incident occurred in the Lietūkis garage, where several dozen Jewish men were publicly tortured and executed on June 27. After June, systematic executions took place at various forts of the Kaunas Fortress, especially the Seventh and Ninth Fort.

Kielce cemetery massacre

The Kielce cemetery massacre refers to the shooting action by the Nazi German police that took place on May 23, 1943 in occupied Poland during World War II, in which 45 Jewish children who had survived the Kielce Ghetto liquidation, and remained with their working parents at the Kielce forced-labour camps, were rounded up and brought to the Pakosz cemetery in Kielce, Poland, where they were murdered by the German paramilitary police. The children ranged in age from 15 months to 15 years old.During the ghetto liquidation action which began on 20 August 1942 approximately 20,000-21,000 Jews were led to awaiting Holocaust trains and sent to Treblinka extermination camp. By the end of 24 August 1942, there were only 2,000 skilled workers left alive in the labour camp at Stolarska-and-Jasna Streets (pl) within the small ghetto, including members of the Judenrat and the Jewish policemen. In May 1943, most Jewish prisoners from Kielce were transported to forced-labour camps in Starachowice, Skarżysko-Kamienna, Pionki, and Bliżyn. The 45 Jewish children murdered at the cemetery were the ones who stayed behind at the liquidated camp.

Kunmadaras pogrom

The Kunmadaras pogrom was a post-World War II anti-Semitic pogrom in Kunmadaras, Hungary.

The pogrom resulted in the killing of two and wounding of fifteen Jews on 22 May 1946. According to JTA , four Jews died.The riot started in the marketplace as a spontaneous protest against a suspected profiteer. Since traditional occupation of the Jews in the area was trading, the image of a profiteer was conflated with that of a Jew. Therefore the riot grew into an anti-Jewish pogrom. The frenzy was further instigated by the rumors that the Jews were stealing Christian children. The historian Péter Apor made a peculiar observation about the subsequent trial of the pogromists: "The People's Tribunal managed to produce a narrative of an anti-Semitic pogrom without involving the Jewish victims." The pogrom was portrayed as a resurgence of fascism pitched against the nascent people's democracy.

List of massacres in Switzerland

The following is an incomplete list of massacres that have occurred in present-day Switzerland.

Mass murders in Tykocin

The Mass murders in Tykocin occurred in August 25, 1941, during World War II, where the local Jewish population of Tykocin (Poland) was killed by German Einsatzkommando.

Proskurov pogrom

The Proskurov pogrom took place on 15 February 1919 in the town of Proskurov during the Ukraine Civil War, (now, Khmelnytskyi) which was taken over from under the Bolshevik control by the Haidamacks. In mere three and a half hours at least 1,500 Jews were murdered, up to 1,700 by other estimates, and more than 1,000 wounded including women, children and the old. The massacre was carried out by Symon Petliura's soldiers of Ivan Samosenko. They were ordered to save the ammunition in the process and use only lances and bayonets.

Rintfleisch massacres

The Rintfleisch or Rindfleisch movement was a series of massacres against Jews in the year 1298. The event, in later terminology a pogrom, was the first large-scale persecution in Germany since the First Crusade.

Strasbourg massacre

The Strasbourg massacre occurred on February 14, 1349, when several hundred Jews were publicly burnt to death, and the rest of them expelled from the city as part of the Black Death persecutions. It was one of the first and worst pogroms in pre-modern history.

Starting in the spring of 1348, pogroms against Jews had occurred in European cities, starting in Toulon. By November of that year they spread via Savoy to German-speaking territories. In January 1349, burnings of Jews took place in Basel and Freiburg, and on 14 February the Jewish community in Strasbourg was destroyed.

This event was heavily linked to a revolt by the guilds five days previous, the consequences of which were the displacement of the master tradesmen, a reduction of the power of the patrician bourgeoisie, who had until then been ruling almost exclusively, and an increase in the power of the groups that were involved in the revolt. The aristocratic families of Zorn and Müllenheim, which had been displaced from the council and their offices in 1332, recovered most of their power, the guilds, which until then had no means of political participation, could occupy the most important position in the city, that of the Ammanmeister. The revolt had occurred because a large part of the population on the one hand believed the power of the master tradesmen was too great, particularly that of the then-Ammanmeister Peter Swarber, and on the other hand, there was a desire to put an end to the policy of protecting Jews under Peter Swarber.

Szczuczyn pogrom

Szczuczyn pogrom was the massacre of some 300 Jews in the community of Szczuczyn carried out by its Polish inhabitants in June 1941 after the town was bypassed by the invading German soldiers in the beginning of Operation Barbarossa. The June massacre was stopped by German soldiers.

A subsequent massacre by Poles in July killed some 100 Jews, and following the German Gestapo takeover in August 1941 some 600 Jews were killed by the Germans, the remaining Jews placed in a ghetto, and subsequently sent to Treblinka extermination camp.

Timeline of antisemitism

This timeline of antisemitism chronicles the facts of antisemitism, hostile actions or discrimination against Jews as a religious or ethnic group. It includes events in the history of antisemitic thought, actions taken to combat or relieve the effects of antisemitism, and events that affected the prevalence of antisemitism in later years. The history of antisemitism can be traced from ancient times to the present day.

Some authors prefer to use the terms anti-Judaism or religious antisemitism for religious sentiment against Judaism before the rise of racial antisemitism in the 19th century. For events specifically pertaining to the expulsion of Jews, see Jewish refugees.

Wąsosz pogrom

The Wąsosz pogrom was the World War II mass murder of Jewish residents of Wąsosz in German-occupied Poland, on 5 July 1941.

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