2000 Years of Jewish Persecution



Persecution by Roman Pagans

  • AD 70: The Roman Army destroyed Jerusalem, killed over 1 million Jews, took about 100,000 into slavery and captivity, and scattered many from Palestine to other locations in the Roman Empire.
  • Circa 115 -117: Jews in Cyprus, Cyrene, Egypt and parts of Mesopotamia revolted against the Roman Empire in what is known as the Kitos War. This caused the death of several hundreds of thousands of Romans and Jews. The Roman Legions eventually crushed the rebellions.
  • AD 132: Bar Kochba led a hopeless three-year revolt against the Roman Empire. Many Jews had accepted him as the Messiah. About a half-million Jews were killed; thousands were sold into slavery or taken into captivity. The rest were exiled from Palestine and scattered throughout the known world, adding to what is now called the "Diaspora." Judaism was no longer recognized as a legal religion.
  • AD 135: Serious Roman persecution of the Jews began. They were forbidden, upon pain of death, from practicing circumcision, reading the Torah, eating unleavened bread at Passover, etc. A temple dedicated to the Roman pagan god Jupiter was erected on temple mountain in Jerusalem. A temple of Venus was built on Golgotha, just outside the city.
  • AD 200: Roman Emperor Severus forbade religious conversions to Judaism.

Persecution by Christians
  • AD 306: The church Synod of Elvira banned marriages, sexual intercourse and community contacts between Christians and Jews.
  • AD 315: Constantine published the Edict of Milan which extended religious tolerance to Christians. Jews lost many rights with this edict. They were no longer permitted to live in Jerusalem, or to proselytize.
  • AD 325: The Council of Nicea decided to separate the celebration of Easter from the Jewish Passover. They stated: "For it is unbecoming beyond measure that on this holiest of festivals we should follow the customs of the Jews. Henceforth let us have nothing in common with this odious people...We ought not, therefore, to have anything in common with the Jews...our worship follows a...more convenient course...we desire dearest brethren, to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jews...How, then, could we follow these Jews, who are almost certainly blinded."
  • AD 337: Christian Emperor Constantius created a law which made the marriage of a Jewish man to a Christian punishable by death.
  • AD 339: Converting to Judaism became a criminal offense.
  • AD 343-381: The Laodicean Synod approved Cannon XXXVIII: "It is not lawful [for Christians] to receive unleavened bread from the Jews, nor to be partakers of their impiety."
  • AD 367 - 376: St. Hilary of Poitiers referred to Jews as a perverse people who God has cursed forever. St. Ephroem refers to synagogues as brothels.
  • AD 379-395: Emperor Theodosius the Great permitted the destruction of synagogues if it served a religious purpose. Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire at this time.
  • AD 380: The bishop of Milan was responsible for the burning of a synagogue; he referred to it as "an act pleasing to God."
  • AD 415: The Bishop of Alexandria, St. Cyril, expelled the Jews from that Egyptian city.
  • AD 415: St. Augustine wrote "The true image of the Hebrew is Judas Iscariot, who sells the Lord for silver. The Jew can never understand the Scriptures and forever will bear the guilt for the death of Jesus."
  • AD 418: St. Jerome, who created the Vulgate translation of the Bible wrote of a synagogue: "If you call it a brothel, a den of vice, the Devil's refuge, Satan's fortress, a place to deprave the soul, an abyss of every conceivable disaster or whatever you will, you are still saying less than it deserves."
  • AD 489 - 519: Christian mobs destroyed the synagogues in Antioch, Daphne (near Antioch) and Ravenna.
  • AD 528: Emperor Justinian (527-564) passed the Justinian Code. It prohibited Jews from building synagogues, reading the Bible in Hebrew, assemble in public, celebrate Passover before Easter, and testify against Christians in court.
  • AD 535: The "Synod of Claremont decreed that Jews could not hold public office or have authority over Christians."
  • AD 538: The 3rd and 4th Councils of Orleans prohibited Jews from appearing in public during the Easter season. Canon XXX decreed that "From the Thursday before Easter for four days, Jews may not appear in the company of Christians." Marriages between Christians and Jews were prohibited. Christians were prohibited from converting to Judaism.
  • AD 561: The bishop of Uzes expelled Jews from his diocese in France.
  • AD 612: Jews were not allowed to own land, to be farmers or enter certain trades.
  • AD 613: Very serious persecution began in Spain. Jews were given the options of either leaving Spain or converting to Christianity. Jewish children over 6 years of age were taken from their parents and given a Christian education
  • AD 692: Cannon II of the Quinisext Council stated: "Let no one in the priestly order nor any layman eat the unleavened bread of the Jews, nor have any familiar intercourse with them, nor summon them in illness, nor receive medicines from them, nor bathe with them; but if anyone shall take in hand to do so, if he is a cleric, let him be deposed, but if a layman, let him be cut off."
  • AD 694: The 17th Church Council of Toledo, Spain defined Jews as the serfs of the prince. This was based, in part, on the beliefs by Chrysostom, Origen, Jerome, and other Church Fathers that God punished the Jews with perpetual slavery because of their alleged responsibility for the execution of Jesus.
  • AD 722: Leo III outlawed Judaism. Jews were baptized against their will.
  • AD 855: Jews were exiled from Italy.
  • AD 1050: The Synod of Narbonne prohibited Christians from living in the homes of Jews.
  • AD 1078: "Pope Gregory VII decreed that Jews could not hold office or be superiors to Christians."
  • AD 1078: The Synod of Gerona forced Jews to pay church taxes.
  • AD 1096: The First Crusade was launched in this year. Although the prime goal of the crusades was to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims, Jews were a second target. As the soldiers passed through Europe on the way to the Holy Land, large numbers of Jews were challenged: "Christ-killers, embrace the Cross or die!" 12,000 Jews in the Rhine Valley alone were killed in the first Crusade. This behavior continued for 8 additional crusades until the 9th in 1272.
  • AD 1099: The Crusaders forced all of the Jews of Jerusalem into a central synagogue and set it on fire. Those who tried to escape were forced back into the burning building.
  • AD 1121: Jews were exiled from Flanders (now part of present-day Belgium)
  • AD 1130: Some Jews in London allegedly killed a sick man. The Jewish people in the city were required to pay 1 million marks as compensation.
  •  AD 1146: The Second Crusade began. A French Monk, Rudolf, called for the destruction of the Jews.
  •  AD 1179: Canon 24 of the Third Lateran Council stated: "Jews should be slaves to Christians and at the same time treated kindly due of humanitarian considerations." Canon 26 stated that "the testimony of Christians against Jews is to be preferred in all causes where they use their own witnesses against Christians."
  • AD 1180: The French King of France, Philip Augustus, arbitrarily seized all Jewish property and expelled the Jews from the country. There was no legal justification for this action. They were allowed to sell all movable possessions, but their land and houses were stolen by the king.
  • AD 1189: Jews were persecuted in England. The Crown claimed all Jewish possessions. Most of their houses were burned.

Persecution - Anti-Judaism

  • AD 1205: Pope Innocent III wrote to the archbishops of Sens and Paris that "the Jews, by their own guilt, are consigned to perpetual servitude because they crucified the Lord...As slaves rejected by God, in whose death they wickedly conspire, they shall by the effect of this very action, recognize themselves as the slaves of those whom Christ's death set free..."
  • AD 1215: The Fourth Lateran Council approved canon laws requiring that "Jews and Muslims shall wear a special dress." They also had to wear a badge in the form of a ring. This was to enable them to be easily distinguished from Christians. This practice later spread to other countries.
  • AD 1227: The Synod of Narbonne required Jews to wear an oval badge. This requirement was reinstalled during the 1930's by Hitler, who changed the oval badge to a Star of David.
  • AD 1229: The Spanish inquisition starts. Later, in 1252, Pope Innocent IV authorizes the use of torture by the Inquisitors.
  • AD 1236: Pope Gregory ordered that church leaders in England, France, Portugal and Spain confiscate Jewish books on the first Saturday of Lent.
  • AD 1259: A "synod of the archdiocese in Mainz ordered Jews to wear yellow badges." 
  • AD 1261: Duke Henry III of Brabant, Belgium, stated in his will that "Jews...must be expelled from Brabant and totally annihilated so that not a single one remains, except those who are willing to trade, like all other tradesmen, without money-lending and usury."
  • AD 1267: The Synod of Vienna ordered Jews to wear horned hats. Thomas Aquinas said that Jews should live in perpetual servitude.
  • AD 1290: Jews are exiled from England. About 16,000 left the country.
  • AD 1298: Jews were persecuted in Austria, Bavaria and Franconia. 140 Jewish communities were destroyed; more than 100,000 Jews were killed over a 6 month period.
  • AD 1306: 100,000 Jews are exiled from France. They left with only the clothes on their backs, and food for only one day.
  • AD 1320: 40,000 French shepherds went to Palestine on the Shepherd Crusade. On the way, 140 Jewish communities were destroyed.
  • AD 1321: In Guienne, France, Jews were accused of having incited criminals to poison wells. 5,000 Jews were burned alive, at the stake.
  • AD 1338: The councilors of Freiburg banned the performance of anti-Jewish scenes from the town's passion play because of the lethal bloody reactions against Jews which followed the performances. 9
  • AD 1347 +: The Black Death originated in the Far East. China, Mongolia, India, central Asia, and southern Russia have all been suggested as the source. 10 Mongol invaders brought it to Caffa in the Crimea (modern-day Fedodosiya). Defenders from the city later spread the disease throughout many Mediterranean ports. 11 Rats initially carried the Black Death; their fleas spread the disease from the rats to humans. As the plague worsened, the germs spread from human to human. In five years, the death toll had reached 25 million. In England, two centuries passed before its population levels recovered from the plague. People searched for someone to blame. They noted that a smaller percentage of Jews than Christians caught the disease. This was undoubtedly due to the Jewish sanitary and dietary laws, which had been preserved from Old Testament times. Rumors circulated that Satan was protecting the Jews and that they were paying back the Devil by poisoning wells used by Christians. The solution was to torture, murder and burn the Jews. "In Bavaria...12,000 Jews...perished; in the small town of Erfurt...3,000; Rue Brulïe...2,000 Jews; near Tours, an immense trench was dug, filled with blazing wood and in a single day 160 Jews were burned. In Strausberg 2,000 Jews were burned. In Maintz 6,000 were killed...; in Worms 400..."
  • AD 1354: 12,000 Jews were executed in Toledo.
  • AD 1374: An epidemic of possession broke out in the lower Rhine region of what is now Germany. People were seen "dancing, jumping and [engaging in] wild raving." This was triggered by enthusiastic revels on St. John's Day - an Christianized version of an ancient Pagan seasonal day of celebration which was still observed by the populace. The epidemic spread throughout the Rhine and in much of the Netherlands and Germany. Crowds of 500 or more dancers would be overcome together. Exorcisms were tried, but failed. Pilgrimages to the shrine of St. Vitus were tried, but this only seemed to exacerbate the problem. Finally, the rumor spread that God was angry because Christians had been excessively tolerant towards the Jews. God had cursed Europe as He did Saul when he showed mercy towards God's enemies in the Old Testament. Jews "were plundered, tortured and murdered by tens of thousands." The epidemic finally burned itself out two centuries later, in the late 16th century.
  • AD 1391 : Jewish persecutions begin in Seville and in 70 other Jewish communities throughout Spain.
  • AD 1394 : Jews were exiled, for the second time, from France.
  • AD 1431 +: The Council of Basel "forbade Jews to go to universities, prohibited them from acting as agents in the conclusion of contracts between Christians, and required that they attend church sermons."
  • AD 1434: "Jewish men in Augsburg had to sew yellow buttons to their clothes. Across Europe, Jews were forced to wear a long undergarment, an overcoat with a yellow patch, bells and tall pointed yellow hats with a large button on them."
  • AD 1453: The Franciscan monk, Capistrano, persuaded the King of Poland to terminate all Jewish civil rights.
  • AD 1478: Spanish Jews had been heavily persecuted from the 14th century. Many had converted to Christianity. The Spanish Inquisition was set up by the Church in order to detect insincere conversions. Laws were passed that prohibited the descendants of Jews or Muslims from attending university, joining religious orders, holding public office, or entering any of a long list of professions.
  • AD 1492 : Jews were given the choice of being baptized as Christians or be banished from Spain. 300,000 left Spain penniless. Many migrated to Turkey, where they found tolerance among the Muslims. Others converted to Christianity but often continued to practice Judaism in secret.
  • AD 1497: Jews were banished from Portugal. 20 thousand left the country rather than be baptized as Christians.
  • AD 1516: The Governor of the Republic of Venice decided that Jews would be permitted to live only in one area of the city. It was located in the South Girolamo parish and was called the "Ghetto Novo." This was the first ghetto in Europe. Hitler made use of the concept in the 1930's.
  • AD 1523: Martin Luther distributed his essay "That Jesus Was Born a Jew. " He hoped that large numbers of Jews would convert to Christianity. They didn't, and he began to write and preach hatred against them. Luther has been condemned in recent years for being extremely antisemitic. The charge has some merit; however he was probably typical of most Christians during his era.
  • AD 1539: A passion play was forbidden in Rome because it prompted violent attacks against the city's Jewish residents
  • AD 1540: Jews were exiled from Naples.
  • AD 1543: In his 20's, Martin Luther, had expected Jews to convert to Christianity in large numbers. Distressed by their reluctance, he developed a hatred for Jews, as expressed in his letters to Rev. Spalatin in 1514, when he was 31 years of age. He wrote:
"I have come to the conclusion that the Jews will always curse and blaspheme God and his King Christ, as all the prophets have predicted....For they are thus given over by the wrath of God to reprobation, that they may become incorrigible, as Ecclesiastes says, for every one who is incorrigible is rendered worse rather than better by correction."

In 1543, he wrote "On the Jews and their lies, On Shem Hamphoras" :

"...eject them forever from this country. For, as we have heard, God's anger with them is so intense that gentle mercy will only tend to make them worse and worse, while sharp mercy will reform them but little. Therefore, in any case, away with them!...What then shall we Christians do with this damned, rejected race of Jews?
  1. First, their synagogues or churches should be set on fire,...
  2. Secondly, their homes should likewise be broken down and destroyed... They ought to be put under one roof or in a stable, like Gypsies.
  3. Thirdly, they should be deprived of their prayer books and Talmuds in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught.
  4. Fourthly, their rabbis must be forbidden under threat of death to teach any more...
  5. Fifthly, passport and traveling privileges should be absolutely forbidden to the Jews...
  6. Sixthly, they ought to be stopped from usury. All their cash and valuables of silver and gold ought to be taken from them and put aside for safe keeping...
  7. Seventhly, let the young and strong Jews and Jewesses be given the flail, the axe, the hoe, the spade, the distaff, and spindle and let them earn their bread by the sweat of their noses as in enjoined upon Adam's children...
To sum up, dear princes and nobles who have Jews in your domains, if this advice of mine does not suit you, then find a better one so that you and we may all be free of this insufferable devilish burden - the Jews."
  • AD 1550: Jews were exiled from Genoa and Venice.
  • AD 1555-JUL-12: A Roman Catholic Papal bull, "Cum nimis absurdum," required Jews to wear badges, and live in ghettos. They were not allowed to own property outside the ghetto. Living conditions were dreadful: over 3,000 people were forced to live in about 8 acres of land. Women had to wear a yellow veil or scarf; men had to wear a piece of yellow cloth on their hat.
  • AD 1582: Jews were expelled from Holland.
  • AD 1648-9: Chmielnicki Bogdan led an uprising against Polish rule in the Ukraine. The secondary goal of Bogdan and his followers was to exterminate all Jews in the country. The massacre began with the slaughter of about 6,000 Jews in Nemirov. Other major mass murders occurred in Tulchin, Polonnoye, Volhynia, Bar, Lvov, etc. Jewish records estimate that a total of 100,000 Jews were murdered and 300 communities destroyed. 

Persecution of Jewish Physicians by the Church:

Medicine in Europe during the Middle Ages found itself restricted by the Christian Church. The church taught that it was irreligious to seek a natural cure from a physician when one could obtain supernatural help from a priest. Some church leaders criticized medical schools because they taught that diseases and disorders came from natural means and not from the evil efforts of Satan.

With medicine in such ill repute among Christians, much of the leadership by the 10th century was provided by Jews and Muslim scholars. Jews were largely responsible for founding the medical Schools at Salerno and Montpellier in the 10th century.

Pope Eugene IV, Nicholas V and Calixtus III forbade Christians from using the services of a Jewish physician. The Trullanean Council in the 8th century; Bïziers Council & Alby Council in the 13th century; Avignon council & Salamanca Council in the 14th century,  the Synod of Bamberg in the 15th century; the Council of Avignon in the 16th century, etc. also ordered Christians to not seek healing from Jewish physicians and surgeons. This continued even into the 17th century when the city of Hall in Wïrtemberg (in what is now Germany) granted some privileges to a Jewish physician "on account of his admirable experience and skill." The clergy of Hall complained that "it were better to die with Christ than to be cured by a Jew doctor aided by the devil."


The Black Death and the Jews (1348-1349)

In 1348 CE there appeared in Europe a devastating plague which is reported to have killed off ultimately twenty-five million people. By the fall of that year the rumor was current that these deaths were due to an international conspiracy of Jewry to poison Christendom. It was reported that the leaders in the Jewish metropolis of Toledo had initiated the plot and that one of the chief conspirators was a Rabbi Peyret who had his headquarters in Chambéry, Savoy, whence he dispatched his poisoners to France, Switzerland, and Italy.

By authority of Amadeus VI, Count of Savoy, a number of the Jews who lived on the shores of Lake Geneva, having been arrested and put to the torture, naturally confessed anything their inquisitors suggested. These Jews, under torture, incriminated others. Records of their confessions were sent from one town to another in Switzerland and down the Rhine River into Germany, and as a result, thousands of Jews, in at least two hundred towns and hamlets, were butchered and burnt. The sheer loss of numbers, the disappearance of their wealth, and the growing hatred of the Christians brought German Jewry to a catastrophic downfall. It began to decline and did not again play an important part in German life till the seventeenth century.

The first account that follows is a translation from the Latin of a confession made under torture by Agimet, a Jew, who was arrested at Chatel, on Lake Geneva. It is typical of the confessions extorted and forwarded to other towns.

The second account describes the Black Death in general and treats specifically of the destruction of the Jewish community in Strasbourg. In this city the authorities, who attempted to save the Jews, were overthrown by a fear-stricken mob led by the butchers' and tanners' guilds and by the nobles who were determined to do away with the Jews who were their economic competitors and to whom they were indebted for loans. Thus in this city, at least, it was not merely religious bigotry and fear of the plague, but economic resentment that fired the craftsmen and the nobles to their work of extermination. Those people of Strasbourg, who had thus far escaped the plague and who thought that by killing off the Jews they would insure themselves against it in the future, were doomed to disappointment, for the pest soon struck the city and, it is said, took a toll of sixteen thousand lives.

The confession of Agimet is found in the Appendix to Johann S. Schilter's 1698 edition of the Middle High German chronicle of the Strasbourg historian, Jacob von Königshofen (1346-1420). The second selection is taken from the body of Königshofen's history. This account merits credence, not only because Königshofen was an archivist and lived close to the events of which he writes, but also because he incorporated considerable material from his Strasbourg predecessor, the historian F. Closener, who was probably an eyewitness of the tragedy. The third selection is an epitaph of an otherwise unknown Jew who died a victim of the plague in 1349. Obviously, Jews, too, were not spared by this dread disease. The epitaph in the original Hebrew is in poetical form.


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I. The Confession of Agimet of Geneva, Châtel, October 20, 1348

The year of our Lord 1348.

On Friday, the 10th of the month of October, at Châtel, in the castle thereof, there occurred the judicial inquiry which was made by order of the court of the illustrious Prince, our lord, Amadeus, Count of Savoy, and his subjects against the Jews of both sexes who were there imprisoned, each one separately. [Jews were sometimes imprisoned separately to prevent suicide.] This was done after public rumor had become current and a strong clamor had arisen because of the poison put by them into the wells, springs, and other things which the Christians use-demanding that they die, that they are able to be found guilty and, therefore, that they should be punished. Hence this their confession made in the presence of a great many trustworthy persons.

Agimet the Jew, who lived at Geneva and was arrested at Châtel, was there put to the torture a little and then he was released from it. And after a long time, having been subjected again to torture a little, he confessed in the presence of a great many trustworthy persons, who are later mentioned. To begin with it is clear that at the Lent just passed Pultus Clesis de Ranz had sent this very Jew to Venice to buy silks and other things for him. When this came to the notice of Rabbi Peyret, a Jew of Chambry who was a teacher of their law, he sent for this Agimet, for whom he had searched, and when he had come before him he said: "We have been informed that you are going to Venice to buy silk and other wares. Here I am giving you a little package of half a span in size which contains some prepared poison and venom in a thin, sewed leather-bag. Distribute it among the wells, cisterns, and springs about Venice and the other places to which you go, in order to poison the people who use the water of the aforesaid wells that will have been poisoned by you, namely, the wells in which the poison will have been placed."

Agimet took this package full of poison and carried it with him to Venice, and when he came there he threw and scattered a portion of it into the well or cistern of fresh water which was there near the German House, in order to poison the people who use the water of that cistern. And he says that this is the only cistern of sweet water in the city. He also says that the mentioned Rabbi Peyret promised to give him whatever he wanted for his troubles in this business. Of his own accord Agimet confessed further that after this had been done he left at once in order that he should not be captured by the citizens or others, and that he went personally to Calabria and Apulia and threw the above mentioned poison into many wells. He confesses also that he put some of this same poison in the well of the streets of the city of Ballet.

He confesses further that he put some of this poison into the public fountain of the city of Toulouse and in the wells that are near the [Mediterranean] sea. Asked if at the time that he scattered the venom and poisoned the wells, above mentioned, any people had died, he said that he did not know inasmuch as he had left everyone of the above mentioned places in a hurry. Asked if any of the Jews of those places were guilty in the above mentioned matter, he answered that he did not know. And now by all that which is contained in the five books of Moses and the scroll of the Jews, he declared that this was true, and that he was in no wise lying, no matter what might happen to him. [This Jew does not seem to know that the books of Moses and the scroll of the Jews are identical!]


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II. The Cremation of Strasbourg Jewry St. Valentine's Day, February 14, 1349

In the year 1349 there occurred the greatest epidemic that ever happened. Death went from one end of the earth to the other, on that side and this side of the sea, and it was greater among the Saracens than among the Christians. In some lands everyone died so that no one was left. Ships were also found on the sea laden with wares; the crew had all died and no one guided the ship. The Bishop of Marseilles and priests and monks and more than half of all the people there died with them. In other kingdoms and cities so many people perished that it would be horrible to describe. The pope at Avignon stopped all sessions of court, locked himself in a room, allowed no one to approach him and had a fire burning before him all the time. [This last was probably intended as some sort of disinfectant.] And from what this epidemic came, all wise teachers and physicians could only say that it was God's will. And as the plague was now here, so was it in other places, and lasted more than a whole year. This epidemic also came to Strasbourg in the summer of the above mentioned year, and it is estimated that about sixteen thousand people died.

In the matter of this plague the Jews throughout the world were reviled and accused in all lands of having caused it through the poison which they are said to have put into the water and the wells-that is what they were accused of-and for this reason the Jews were burnt all the way from the Mediterranean into Germany, but not in Avignon, for the pope protected them there.

Nevertheless they tortured a number of Jews in Berne and Zofingen [Switzerland] who then admitted that they had put poison into many wells, and they also found the poison in the wells. Thereupon they burnt the Jews in many towns and wrote of this affair to Strasbourg, Freiburg, and Basel in order that they too should burn their Jews. But the leaders in these three cities in whose hands the government lay did not believe that anything ought to be done to the Jews. However in Basel the citizens marched to the city-hall and compelled the council to take an oath that they would burn the Jews, and that they would allow no Jew to enter the city for the next two hundred years. Thereupon the Jews were arrested in all these places and a conference was arranged to meet at Benfeld Alsace, February 8, 1349. The Bishop of Strasbourg [Berthold II], all the feudal lords of Alsace, and representatives of the three above mentioned cities came there. The deputies of the city of Strasbourg were asked what they were going to do with their Jews. They answered and said that they knew no evil of them. Then they asked the Strasbourgers why they had closed the wells and put away the buckets, and there was a great indignation and clamor against the deputies from Strasbourg. So finally the Bishop and the lords and the Imperial Cities agreed to do away with the Jews. The result was that they were burnt in many cities, and wherever they were expelled they were caught by the peasants and stabbed to death or drowned...

[The town-council of Strasbourg which wanted to save the Jews was deposed on the 9th-10th of February, and the new council gave in to the mob, who then arrested the Jews on Friday, the 13th.]

The Jews are burnt:

On Saturday - that was St. Valentine's Day-they burnt the Jews on a wooden platform in their cemetery. There were about two thousand people of them. Those who wanted to baptize themselves were spared. [Some say that about a thousand accepted baptism.] Many small children were taken out of the fire and baptized against the will of their fathers and mothers. And everything that was owed to the Jews was cancelled, and the Jews had to surrender all pledges and notes that they had taken for debts. The council, however, took the cash that the Jews possessed and divided it among the working-men proportionately. The money was indeed the thing that killed the Jews. If they had been poor and if the feudal lords had not been in debt to them, they would not have been burnt. After this wealth was divided among the artisans some gave their share to the Cathedral or to the Church on the advice of their confessors.

Thus were the Jews burnt at Strasbourg, and in the same year in all the cities of the Rhine, whether Free Cities or Imperial Cities or cities belonging to the lords. In some towns they burnt the Jews after a trial, in others, without a trial. In some cities the Jews themselves set fire to their houses and cremated themselves.

The Jews return to Strasbourg:

It was decided in Strasbourg that no Jew should enter the city for a hundred years, but before twenty years had passed, the council and magistrates agreed that they ought to admit the Jews again into the city for twenty years. And so the Jews came back again to Strasbourg iii the year 1368 after the birth of our Lord.


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III. The Epitaph of Asher aben Turiel, Toledo, Spain, 1349

This stone is a memorial
That a later generation may know
That 'neath it lies hidden a pleasant bud,
A cherished child.
Perfect in knowledge,
A reader of the Bible,
A student of the Mishnah and Gemara.
Had learned from his father
What his father learned from his teachers:
The statutes of God and his laws.
Though only fifteen years in age,
He was like a man of eighty in knowledge.
More blessed than all sons: Asher-may he rest in Paradise -
The son of Joseph ben Turiel-may God comfort him,
He died of the plague, in the month of Tam muz, in the year 109
But a few days before his death
He established his home;
But yesternight the joyous voice of the bride and groom
Was turned to the voice of wailing.
And the father is left, sad and aching.
May the God of heaven
Grant him comfort.
And send another child
To restore his soul.



Antisemitism:
Racially-based Persecution of Jews (1800-1946)

The conversion from religiously-based to racially-based persecution:

Prior to 1800 CE: Persecution was directed at followers of Judaism because of their religious beliefs; it has been referred to as anti-Judaism. CE, Jews could escape oppression by converting to Christianity, and being baptized. The Christian church taught in past centuries that all Jews (past, present and future) were responsible for Jesus' death. The Church also believed that some Jews must be allowed to live, because the biblical book of Revelation indicated that they had a role to play in the "end times." They concluded that it was acceptable to make Jews' lives quite miserable.

Since about 1800: "...Nationalism became a dominant value in the Western and Arab worlds...antisemitism increasingly focused on the Jews' peoplehood and nationhood." Persecution became a form of racism, and has generally been called "anti-Semitism" -- a word "created by an antisemite, Wilhelm Marr [in 1879]. Marr's intention was to replace the German word Judenhass (Jew-hatred) with a term that would make Jew-haters sound less vulgar and even somewhat scientific." The word, (variously spelled antisemite, anti-Semite and anti-semite). It is not a particularly good choice, because the root word "Semitic" refers to a group of languages, not to a single language or to a race, people or nation. However, it is in near-universal usage.

Antisemitism: Persecution of Jews along racial lines:

Subsequent attacks against Jews tended to be racially motivated. They were perpetrated primarily by the state. The Jewish people were viewed as a separate people or race.

  • AD 1806: A French Jesuit Priest, Abbe Barruel, had written a treatise blaming the Masonic Order for the French Revolution. He later issued a letter alleging that Jews, not the Masons were the guilty party. This triggered a belief in an international Jewish conspiracy in Germany, Poland and some other European countries later in the 19th century.
  • AD 1819: During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, many European Jews lobbied their governments for emancipation. They sought citizenship as well as the same rights and treatment as were enjoyed by non-Jews. This appears to have provoked sporadic anti-semites to engage in anti-Jewish violence. The rioters cried "Hep! Hep!." The origin(s) of this cry are not clear. Jews and their property were attacked first in Wuerzburg, Germany during 1819-AUG. The rioting spread across Germany and eventually reached as far as Denmark and Poland.
  • AD 1840: A rumor spread in Syria that some Jews were responsible for the ritual killing of a Roman Catholic monk and his servant. As a result of horrendous treatment, some local Jews confessed to a crime that they did not commit. This "Damascus Affair" spurred early Zionist writers like Hess to promote the Zionist cause.
  • AD 1846 - 1878: Pope Pius IX restored all of the previous restrictions against the Jews within the Vatican state. All Jews under Papal control were confined to Rome's ghetto - the last one in Europe until the Nazi era restored the church's practice. On 2000-SEP-3, Pope John Paul II beatified Pius IX; this is the last step before sainthood. He explained: "Beatifying a son of the church does not celebrate particular historic choices that he has made, but rather points him out for imitation and for veneration for his virtue."
  • AD 1858: Edgardo Mortara was kidnapped, at the age of six, from his Jewish family by Roman Catholic officials after they found out that a maid had secretly baptized him. He was not returned to his family but was raised a Catholic. He eventually became a priest.
  • AD 1873: The term "antisemitism" is first used in a pamphlet by Wilhelm Marr called "Jewry's Victory over Teutonism."
  • AD 1881: Alexander II of Russia was assassinated by radicals. The Jews were blamed. About 200 individual pogroms against the Jews followed. ("Pogrom" is a Russian word meaning "devastation" or "riot." In Russia, a pogrom was typically a mob riot against Jewish individuals, shops, homes or businesses. They were often supported and even organized by the government.) Thousands of Jews became homeless and impoverished. The few who were charged with offenses generally received very light sentences.
  • AD 1893: "...anti-Semitic parties won sixteen seats in the German Reichstag."
  • AD 1894: Captain Alfred Dreyfus, an officer on the French general staff, was convicted of treason. The evidence against him consisted of a piece of paper from his wastebasket with another person's handwriting, and papers forged by antisemitic officers. He received a life sentence on Devil's Island, off the coast of South America. The French government was aware that a Major Esterhazy was actually guilty.  The church, government and army united to suppress the truth. Writer Emile Zola and politician Jean Jaur? fought for justice and human rights. After 10 years, the French government fell and Drefus was declared totally innocent. The Dreyfus Affair was world-wide news for years. It motivated Journalist Theodor Herzl to write a book in 1896: "The Jewish State: A Modern Solution to the Jewish Question." The book led to the founding of the Zionist movement which fought for a Jewish Homeland. A half century later, the state of Israel was born.
  • AD 1903: At Easter, government agents organized an anti-Jewish pogrom in Kishinev, Moldova, Russia. The local newspaper published a series of inflammatory articles. A Christian child was discovered murdered and a young Christian woman at the Jewish Hospital committed suicide. Jews were blamed for the deaths. Violence ensured. The 5,000 soldiers in the town did nothing. When the smoke cleared, 49 Jews had been killed, 500 were injured; 700 homes looted and destroyed, 600 businesses and shops looted, 2,000 families left homeless. Later, it was discovered that the child had been murdered by its relatives and the suicide was unrelated to the Jews.
  • AD 1905: The Okhrana, the Russian secret police in the reign of Czar Nicholas II, converted an earlier antisemitic novel into a document called the "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion." It was published privately in 1897. A Russian Orthodox priest, Sergius Nilus, published them publicly in 1905. It was promoted as the record of  "secret rabbinical conferences whose aim was to subjugate and exterminate the Christians." The Protocols were used by the Okhrana in a propaganda campaign that was associated with massacres of the Jews. These were the Czarist Pogroms of 1905.
  • AD 1915: 600,000 Jews were forcibly moved from the western borders of Russia towards the interior. About 100,000 died of exposure or starvation.
  • AD 1917: "In the civil war following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the reactionary White Armies made extensive use of the Protocols to incite widespread slaughters of Jews." Two hundred thousand Jews were murdered in the Ukraine alone.
  • AD 1920: The Protocols reach England and the United States. They are exposed as a forgery, but are widely circulated. Henry Ford sponsored a study of international activities of Jews. This led to a series of antisemitic articles in the Dearborn Independent, which were published in a book, "The International Jew." The Protocols were sold on Wal-Mart's online bookstore until they were removed on 2004-SEP-21.
  • AD 1920: The defeat of Germany in World War I and the continuing economic difficulties were blamed in that country on the "Jewish influence." One antisemitic poster has been preserved from that era.  It shows a German, presumably Christian woman, a male Jew with distorted facial features, a coffin and the word "Deutschland" (Germany).
  • 1920's, 1930's: Hitler had published in Mein Kampf in 1925, writing: "Today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord." The Protocols are used by the Nazis to whip up public hatred of the Jews in the 1930's. Widespread pogroms occur in Greece, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Rumania, and the USSR. Radio programs by many conservative American clergy, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, frequently attacked Jews. Reverend Fr. Charles E Coughlin was one of the best known. "In the 1930's, radio audiences heard him rail against the threat of Jews to America's economy and defend Hitler's treatment of Jews as justified in the fight against communism." Other conservative Christian leaders, such as Frank Norris and John Straton supported the Jews.

    Discrimination against Jews in North America is widespread. Many universities set limits on the maximum number of Jewish students that they would accept. Harvard accepted all students on the basis of merit until after World War I when the percentage of Jewish students approached 15%. At that time they installed an informal quota system. In 1941, Princeton had fewer than 2% Jews in their student body. Jews were routinely barred from country clubs, prestigious neighborhoods, etc.
  • AD 1933: Hitler took power in Germany. On APR-1, Julius Streicher organized a one-day boycott of all Jewish owned businesses in the country. This was the start of continuous oppression by the Nazis culminating in the Holocaust (a.k.a. Shoah). Jews "were barred from civil service, legal professions and universities, were not allowed to teach in schools and could not be editors of newspapers." Two years later, Jews were no longer considered citizens.
  • AD 1934: Various laws were enacted in Germany to force Jews out of schools and professions.
  • AD 1935: The Nazis passed the Nuremberg Laws restricting citizenship to those of "German or related blood." Jews became stateless.
  • AD 1936: Cardinal Hloud of Poland urged Catholics to boycott Jewish businesses.
  • AD 1938: On NOV-9, the Nazi government in Germany sent storm troopers, the SS and the Hitler Youth on a pogrom that killed 91 Jews, injured hundreds, burned 177 synagogues and looted 7,500 Jewish stores. Broken glass could be seen everywhere; the glass gave this event its name of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass.
  • AD 1938: Hitler brought back century-old church law, ordering all Jews to wear a yellow Star of David as identification. A few hundred thousand Jews are allowed to leave Germany after they give all of their assets to the government.
  • AD 1939: The Holocaust, the Shoah -- the systematic extermination of Jews in Germany -- began. The process only ended in 1945 with the conclusion of World War II and the liberation of the death camps. Approximately 6 million Jews (1.5 million of them children), 400 thousand Roma (Gypsies) and others were slaughtered. Some were killed by death squads; others were slowly killed in trucks with carbon monoxide; others were gassed in large groups in Auschwitz, Dacau, Sobibor, Treblinka and other extermination camps. Officially, the holocaust was described by the Nazis as subjecting Jews "to special treatment" or as a "solution of the Jewish question." Gold taken from the teeth of the victims was recycled; hair was used in the manufacture of mattresses. In the Buchenwald extermination camp, lampshades were made out of human skin; however, this appears to be an isolated incident. A rumor spread that Jewish corpses were routinely converted into soap. However, the story appears to be false.
  • AD 1940: The Vichy government of France collaborated with Nazi Germany by freezing about 80,000 Jewish bank accounts. During the next four years, they deported about 76,000 Jews to Nazi death camps; only about 2,500 survived. It was only in 1995 that a French president, Jacques Chirac, "was able to admit that the state bore a heavy share of responsibility in the mass round-ups and deportations of Jews, as well as in the property and asset seizures that were carried out with the active help of the Vichy regime."
  • AD 1941: The Holocaust Museum in Washington DC estimates that 13,000 Jews died on 1941-JUN-19 during a pogrom in Bucharest, Romania. It was ordered by the pro-Nazi Romanian regime of Marshal Ion Antonescu. The current government has admitted that this atrocity happened, but most Romanians continue to deny that the Jews were killed on orders from their own government.
  • AD 1941: Polish citizens in Jedwabne in northeastern Poland killed hundreds of Jews, by either beating them to death or burning them alive in a barn. According to the Associated Press: "The role played by Polish citizens was suppressed for nearly six decades until publication of a book by a Polish emigre historian, Jan Tomasz Gross. After release of the book in 2000, the Polish government launched an investigation. 'The role of the Poles was decisive in conducting the criminal act,' [prosecutor Radoslaw] Ignatiew, said. The book, 'Neighbours,' sparked national soul-searching among Poles, many of whom could not believe that anybody but the Nazis would have committed the atrocity."
  • AD 1942: The Nazi leaders of Germany, at the Wannsee conference, decided on "the final solution of the Jewish question" which was the attempt to exterminate every Jew in Europe. From JUL-28 to 31, almost 18,000 Russian inhabitants of the Minsk ghetto in what is now Belarus were exterminated. This was in addition to 5,000 to 15,000 who had been massacred in earlier pogroms in that city. This was just one of many such pogroms during World War II.
  • AD 1945: The Shoah (Holocaust) ended as the Allied Forces over-ran the Nazi death camps.
  • AD 1946: Even though World War II ended the year before, antisemitic pogroms continued, particularly in Poland, with the deaths of many Jews.

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Barry Obama : The Young Turk


Young Turk:
Date: 1908
Function: noun
Etymology: Young Turks, a 20th century revolutionary party in Turkey
:an insurgent or a member of an insurgent group especially in a political party : radical; broadly
:one advocating changes within a usually established group.





Photos: 1980 Taken by, Lisa Jack / M+B Gallery

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