A Short Review of a Troubled History

Antisemitic incidents throughout 2,000 years of the history of the 'Christian' world. A short overview


A Short Review of a Troubled History

by Fritz Voll

The study of anti-Jewish incidents in history clearly shows that the arguments, accusations and actions of the antisemites of our day are not new, but old and very dangerous. The historical incidents related here are examples only taken from a variety of locations. Sometimes Jews were protected by the church against the civic authorities. At other times these authorities protected them against a raging church. And at times both the church and the civic authorities persecuted them, or both could or would not stop mob attacks, often incited by the lower clergy against the will of the bishops. The following list of incidents is meant to create an interest in the study of the troubled Christian-Jewish relationship. It may also serve to show that the Nazi Holocaust was preceded by a long history of ill-treatment of Jews in so-called Christian countries and that the Christian church through its "teaching of contempt" (Jules Isaac) contributed in great measure to Jewish suffering.

The categories of anti-Jewish behaviour reach from hateful words to mass murder:

Hateful words
in writings, sermons, plays (especially passion plays), tales, jokes and lies about conspiracies...
of deicide (murder of God/Christ), ritual murder, desecration of the host (of the Eucharist), conspiracies...
Threats or coercions
to extort ransom money, to drive from home, to convert...
on Jewish religious practice, social interaction, trade and professions, civil and political rights, residence (ghettoization), ownership...
used to make Jews pay higher taxes, take away their children (to raise them as Christians), lootings, vandalism, expulsions...
in the attack of individual Jews and whole communities, in beatings and torture...
Murder and mass murder
in "judicial" hangings, burnings, slaughters in riots, mob attacks, Crusades and pogroms...
The Nazi "Final Solution"
to the so-called "Jewish Problem" in the Holocaust. It turns out to really have been a Christian problem throughout history.



Common EraIncidents
70The Romans under Titus retaliated against a Jewish uprising, destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple, enslaved many leaders and dispersed the Jewish people. In 79 Titus succeeded Vespasian as emperor. Jews and Christians suffered under him and emperor Domitian.
88 - 97Pope St. Clement blamed the Jews for Nero"s persecution of the Christians.
113 - 116The second Jewish revolt against Rome under emperor Trajan was unsuccessful.
135The third Jewish rebellion against Rome was crushed and its leader, Bar Kochba, whom many Jews had accepted to be the Messiah, was killed. Rabbi Akiba was tortured and killed as well.
200When emperor Severus created laws forbidding heathens, under penalty of severe punishment, to embrace Judaism, the Bishop of Alexandria, Origen, wrote: "We may thus assert in utter confidence that the Jews will not return to their earlier situation, for they have committed the most abominable of crimes, in forming the conspiracy against the Savior of the human race ... Hence the city where Jesus suffered was necessarily destroyed, the Jewish nation was driven from its country, and another people [meaning the church] was called by God to the blessed election."
300Eusebius, Bishop of Caesaria, claimed that Jews in every community crucified a Christian at their Purim festival as a rejection of Jesus. He used the charge of ritual murder made by the pagans Democritus and Apion, which the Romans had first made against the early Christians. Eusebius made a distinction between Hebrews who were good men in the Old Testament and Jews whom he characterized as evil.
306The church Synod of Elvira (Spain) banned all community contacts between Christians and the "evil" Hebrews and stated that Christians could not marry Jews.
324When Constantine became emperor he claimed to be a Christian and urged his subjects to convert to Christianity. He reenacted the laws of his predecessors forbidding Jews to live in Jerusalem and to engage in any proselytizing activity.
325The church Council of Nicea, called by Constantine, to settle a theological controversy concerning the nature of Christ, continued efforts to separate Christianity from Judaism by deciding that Easter should no longer be determined by the Jewish Passover (pesach): "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..."
337Emperor Constantius declared: "Let my will be religion and the law of the church!" One of his first acts was to prohibit under punishment of death the marriage between a Jew and a Christian woman.
367 - 376St. Hilary of Poitiers wrote and spoke of the Jews as a perverse people forever accursed by God. St. Ephroem refers in his hymns to synagogues as whorehouses.
379 - 395Emperor Theodosius protected the Jews from the church"s persecutions of heretics. Chrysostom and Ambrose of Milan - both sainted - wanted to include Jews in this persecution. Chrysostom: "The Jews are the most worthless of all men... They are perfidious murderers of Christ. They worship the devil, their religion is a sickness..." Ambrose reprimanded the emperor for rebuilding a synagogue and offered to burn it down himself. St. Gregory of Nyssa characterized Jews as assassins of the prophets, companions of the devil, a race of vipers, a sanhedrin of demons, enemies of all that is beautiful, hogs and goats in their lewd grossness."
The church Council of Laodicea forbade Christians to respect the Jewish Sabbath.
395 - 408Christian fanaticism was resisted by the Byzantine Emperor Arcadius. He did not allow the destruction of synagogues. St. Epiphonius characterized Jews as dishonest and indolent.
408 - 450Theodosius II forbade Jews to build new synagogues.
415St. Cyril, the Bishop of Alexandria, incited a mob against the Jews and had them expelled. Bishop Severus burned a synagogue and incited people to attack and harass Jews in the streets. Many Jews converted to Christianity out of fear.
St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo: "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."
418Bishop Severus of Majorca forced Jews to convert. Violent street fighting broke out with a mob incited by the bishop. The synagogue was burnt. Finally the leaders of the Jewish community gave in and 540 Jews were converted.
St. Jerome, who had studied with Jewish scholars in Palestine and translated the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate), wrote about the 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."
489A Christian mob set fire to the synagogues in Antioch and threw the bodies of slain Jews into the fire.
506A Christian mob attacked and destroyed the synagogue at Daphne near Antioch. The congregation was slaughtered.
519The Christian population of Ravenna attacked Jews and burnt the synagogue.
528Under emperor Justinian Roman Law was systematized and codified as Corpus Iuris Civilis also known as the Justinian Code. Church Law and doctrine became state policy. Jews were not permitted to testify against Christians. They could not celebrate Passover before Easter and were allowed only a prescribed version of Scripture in their synagogues and were prohibited to use prayers that were seen as anti-trinitarian.
535The church Synod of Claremont decreed that Jews could not hold public office or have authority over Christians.
538Jews were (again) forbidden to have Christian servants or slaves, which effectively excluded them from agriculture. The Third and Fourth Councils of Orleans forbade Jews to appear in public during the Passion and Easter periods.
554Bishop Avitus of Averna tried to convert the Jews with no result. Then he incited a mob which destroyed the synagogues. The Jews had to choose between baptism and expulsion. One Jew converted. During the procession after his baptism a Jews sprinkled him with rancid oil. That enraged the mob and many Jews were killed. 500 Jews allowed themselves to be baptized. The rest fled to Marseilles.
561The Bishop of Uzes in France forced the Jews in his diocese to decide between baptism and expulsion.
582John of Ephesus turned seven Jewish synagogues into churches.
Under king Chilperic of Merovingia all Jews in his kingdom had to choose between conversion or having their eyes torn out.
589The king of Visigoth Spain, Reccared, ordered children born of mixed marriages to be forcibly baptized.
612 - 621The Spanish king Sisebut severely restricted the rights of Jews in his kingdom. They were not allowed to own or work the land or operate certain trades. Later he issued an ultimatum to all Jews: convert or be exiled.
628 - 629Emperor Heraclius ordered the forced conversion of all Jews in his empire and renewed the Hadrian and Constantine codes that barred Jews from Jerusalem.
Dagobert, the Merovingian king, followed the example of Heraclius and forced the Jews in his kingdom under the threat of death to convert to Christianity.
633The Third Council of Toledo decided against forcible conversions. However, Jews who had in the past been forcibly converted were not allowed to return to Judaism and had to separate from the Jewish communities. Jewish children were taken from their parents and raised in monasteries. Neither Jews nor converts to Christianity were allowed to hold public office. The Council was chaired by Isodore, Bishop of Hispalis (Seville).
638The Fourth Council of Toledo decreed that Jewish children baptized as Christians were not to be returned to their blood parents. Converts had to be strictly supervised by church authorities. Jews hat to swear that they had given up Jewish law and practice. Penalties ranged from flogging, loss of limb, confiscation of property to burning at the stake.
The Bishops of Seville and Toledo, Isodore and Julian wrote polemical papers against the Jews.
638 - 642Non-Catholics were expelled from Visigoth Spain.
653The Eighth Council of Toledo agreed with king Recceswith of Spain who appeared before the Council, called Judaism a pollution of his country and asked for removal of all unbelievers. Jews had to sign an oath (placitum) that made the practice of Judaism almost impossible. Violations were punished by burning or stoning.
655The Ninth Council of Toledo ordered converted Jews to spend all Jewish and Christian holy days in the presence of a bishop.
681King Erwig of Spain forbade practicing Jews to enter seaports. All Jews were ordered to be baptized. Converts hat to listen to Christian sermons and were not allowed to follow dietary laws.
The Twelfth Council of Toledo confirmed the orders of the king and decreed to burn the Talmud and other Jewish literature.
692The Trulanic Synod (Quinisext) of the Eastern empire prohibited Christians attendance of Jewish feasts, friendly relations with Jews and patronage of Jewish physicians.
693 - 694The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Councils of Toledo, chaired by king Egica and the successor of Bishop Julian, Felix, again severely restricted the rights of Jews and charged them with undermining the church, massacre of Catholics, plotting with the Moors and destruction of the country. Jews were declared slaves, their property was confiscated and their children forcibly raised in Catholic families or monasteries.
722Judaism was outlawed in the empire of Leo III and Jews were forcibly baptized. Some burned to death in their synagogues.
829The Archbishop of Lyon, St. Agobard, wrote in his Epistles that Jews were born slaves and that they were stealing Christian children to sell them to the Arabs.
845The bishops of Lyon, Rheims, Sens and Bourges called the Council of Meaux to renew anti-Jewish restrictions. Emperor Charles the Bald refused to implement them in the council of Paris (846).
855Louis II, king of Italy, expelled the Jews effective October 1, 855.
In sermons during the Easter season the people in Beziers were encouraged to revenge the crucifixion of Jesus. The nobility of Toulouse had for some years the privilege of publicly boxing the ears of the president of the Jewish community on Good Fridays. Later this was changed to an annual payment the Jews had to make.
1009 - 1012As a result of the destruction by Muslims of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem Jewish communities were attacked by mobs in Orleans, Rouen, Limoges and Rome.
Jews who refused conversion were expelled from Mainz under emperor Henry II in the first serious persecution in Germany.
1021Rome was struck by an earthquake and a hurricane on Good Friday. A number of Jews were arrested and accused of having put a nail through a host the day before, thereby causing the natural disaster. Under torture they confessed to host desecration and were burned to death. Host desecration became a widespread charge. It was often made worse by rumors that the host had bled. To the uneducated and superstitious masses it confirmed the dogma of the Eucharist.
1063When soldiers on their marches attacked Jewish communities during the war to oust the Saracen from Spain, Pope Alexander II warned the French leaders of the armies not to harm the Jews.
1078Pope Gregory VII decreed that Jews could not hold office or be superiors to Christians. In 1081 Alfonso VI of Toledo, Spain, was reprimanded by the Pope for appointing Jews to offices of the state. Jews had to pay extra taxes to support the church.
1095 - 1096Pope Urban II called for a Crusade against the Turks.
The Duke of Lorraine tried to gather an army for the Crusade. To collect money he spread the rumor that he would kill the Jews to avenge the death of Christ. The Jews of the Rhineland paid him 500 pieces of silver as ransom.
Emperor Henry IV ordered the knights of his empire not to attack the Jews.
Crusaders slaughtered Jews of Rouen and other cities in Lorraine. Jewish communities in Germany supplied the army of Peter the Hermit thereby trying to avoid the attacks of the Crusaders.
An estimated 10,000 Jews were massacred in France and Germany. Emich of Leisinger with his band of thousands of Crusaders ignored the order of the emperor and began a terror campaign against the Jews. In Speir he killed twelve. The rest of the community was protected by the Bishop of Speir who punished some of the murderers by cutting their hands off. Count Emich then moved his band to Worms, where 500 Jews were murdered in spite of having paid protection money. The Bishop of Worms could not protect the Jews in his diocese. The Archbishop of Mainz (Mayence) and civil authorities gave sanctuary to Jews and closed the gates of the city to Count Emich. His soldiers forced the gates open and killed 1,000 Jews. The Jews of Cologne had fled, only two were killed and the synagogue was burned. When the bands moved down through the Rhine Valley an estimated 12,000 Jews were murdered in the cities along the Rhine River. Bands of troops moved through the Moselle Valley killing Jews on their way. The Jewish community of Treves was given protection by the Bishop under condition of conversion. Many were baptized, others committed suicide. The Crusaders of William the Carpenter executed others.
The knight Volkmar arrived in Hungary with 10,000 men to join the army of Peter the Hermit. He attacked the Jewish community in Prague. Bishop Cosmos and city leaders tried in vain to stop the slaughters. When he tried to attack the Jews in Nitra, the Hungarians came to their defense and defeated the Crusaders. Gottschalk, a knight in the army of Peter the Hermit, lead the section under his command to massacre the Jewish community of Ratisbon.
1099The Crusaders under Godfrey of Bouillon conquered Jerusalem. He massacred the Muslims and drove Jews, Rabbanites and Karaites into a synagogue and burned them alive.
1100The first pogroms against the Jews in Kiev. In several riots the mobs looted homes and plundered the Jewish section.
1120Pope Urban II stated that Jews should be tolerated. In his call for the Crusade he spoke favorably about the Jews. Though the Crusades were directed against the Muslims in the Holy Land, the gathering bands of Crusaders marching through the country brought untold suffering to Jews who together with Muslims were seen as the enemies of Christianity.
1140The Cistercian monk Rudolf enflamed people against the Jews in France and Germany. Massacres occurred in Cologne, Mainz, Worms, Spier and Strasbourg. The Archbishop of Mainz and Cologne urged Bernard of Clairvaux to silence Rudolf and to order the people not to molest Jews. When this had no effect, Bernard finally came to Germany and ordered Rudolf back into the monastery. Though Bernard opposed the killing of Jews he also demonized them and called for the Second Crusade.
1144The first recorded charge of ritual murder against Jews occurred in Norwich, England. Jewish leaders were killed.
Peter the Venerable of Cluny tried to turn Louis VII of France against the Jews. He wanted them to finance the Crusades.
1146The preaching of the monk Rudolf continued to have effect in mob attacks, massacres and forced baptisms all over the Rhine Valley. Simon the Pious of Treves and a Jewish woman in Speir were killed when they refused to be baptized, in spite of attempts of civil and church authorities to protect the Jews.
1147Crusaders in Germany murdered 20 Jews in Wurzburg. In Belitz all Jews were burned. 150 Jews were murdered in Bohemia. Attacks on Jewish communities also in France.
1171Charge of ritual murder in Blois, France. The entire Jewish community of 34 men and 17 women were tortured and burned.
1181Ritual murder charge at Bury St. Edmund, England. 1183 the same in Bristol. 1192 in Winchester.
1188When Richard I was crowned, mobs attacked the Jewish communities in London and York. Richard punished the rioters. Jews who had been forcibly baptized were allowed to return to their faith.
1190King Richard was able to protect the Jews as long as he was in the country. When he left for a new Crusade, the assembled Crusaders in England attacked Jewish communities. The Jewish quarters of the Port of Lynn in Norfolk were burned and the Jews were slaughtered. Norwich Jews took refuge in the royal castle. 1,500 Jews were murdered in York. The Jewish community at Stanford was pillaged and those who did not reach the castle were killed.
1191In France the town of Bray was surrounded by king Philip. Jews had the choice between baptism and death. The community committed suicide. Philip burned 100. Children under 13 were spared.
1194The Jews of London had to pay three times the amount that Christian citizens had to pay toward the ransom of Richard I.
1195A priest, Fulk of Neuilly, who wanted to reform the church, preached all over France against usury and urged usurers to give their earnings back to the poor. Mobs used his sermons to attack Jews, and Barons used them as an excuse to expel Jews from their realms of authority and confiscate Jewish property.
1209During the Crusade against the Albigensians (considered a Christian heresy) 20,000 people including the Jewish community were massacred when the city of Bezziers was stormed.
1215The Fourth Lateran Council, which was presided over by Pope Innocent III, ordered Jews to wear a distinctive yellow badge in the form of a ring. This was the first time in the West that Jews were required to distinguish themselves from the rest of the population by their clothing. (The Code of Omar had decreed this before in Muslim countries). Jews were not allowed to wear their best clothes on Sunday or walk in public on special days such as Easter.
1218King Henry II made this Conciliar decree into a secular one and ordered all Jews in England to wear a badge on their outer clothing at all times to distinguish them from Christians.
1222During the Council of Canterbury the English bishops issued an injunction forbidding Christians under pain of ex-communication to sell provisions to Jews. To counteract this, the kings justician, Hubert de Burgh issued an order forbidding the king"s subjects, under pain of imprisonment, to refuse to provide Jews with the necessities of life.
1231Pope Gregory IX established the Inquisition to counteract many Christian heresies that had sprang up due to greater freedoms in the rebirth of European countries. They challenged the authority of the Roman Church. The Inquisition was to root out heresies before they spread to the masses. Tribunals composed mostly of monks served as police, prosecution, judge and jury. Secular authorities carried out the torture and burning at the stake of unrepentant heretics, because the Inquisitors were to avoid the shedding of blood. Jews were, of course, especially vulnerable to attacks during these purges.
1232Pope Gregory IX complained to the bishops in Germany that the Jews there were treated too well. He forbade friendly relations between Christians and Jews.
1235The Bishop of Lincoln stated that Jews were to be in captivity to the princes of the earth. They have the brand of Cain and are condemned to wander the face of the earth. But they were to have the privilege of Cain also. They should not be killed.
1236Jewish communities in Anjou, Poitou, Bordeaux and Angouleme were attacked by Crusaders. 500 Jews chose conversion and over 3,000 were massacred. Pope Gregory IX, who originally had called the Crusade, was outraged about this brutality and criticized the clergy for not preventing it.
1239 - 1242By order of Pope Gregory IX all copies of the Talmud were to be turned over to the orders of the Franciscans and Dominicans for examination.
It seems that the papal decree was carried out only in France. Jewish books and the Talmud were also seized in England and book burnings took place. In Paris 24 cartloads of Talmud copies were burned. Pope Innocent IV stopped the confiscations and ordered the Talmud copies to be returned, though not without first expunging the passages that seemed objectionable to the church.
1244Jews in London were accused of ritual murder and assessed a high amount of money as punishment.
1247When the ritual murder charge became more widespread and caused many atrocities, Pope Innocent IV ordered an investigation of the charge that proved it to be an anti-Jewish invention.
1255The dead body of Little St. Hugh of Lincoln was discovered in a cesspool near the house of a Jew. Under torture he confessed that Hugh had been murdered for a ritual. King Henry III ordered his hanging after he was dragged alive through the streets tied to a horse. 100 Jews were brought to London for trial. 18 were hanged without trial. 79 others were convicted and hanged, 2 were pardoned and one was acquitted.
1261 - 1264Canterbury students, priests and monks attacked the Jewish quarter. Mobs sacked the Jewish section of London in 1262 and 1264.
1263A disputation was held at Barcelona, Spain, before King James I, nobility, bishops and leading monks. Rabbi Moses ben Nachman had to defend the Talmud against a converted Jew, Pablo Christiani, who tried to prove Christianity"s efficacy from the Talmud. King James ordered the Jews to erase passages from the Talmud that were objectionable to Christians.
1267The Synod of Vienna decreed that Christians were forbidden to attend Jewish ceremonies. Learned Jews were forbidden to dispute with simple Christians. Jews had to wear horned hats, called pileum cornutum. People actually believed that Jews had horns which they were hiding under these hats and that they were children of the devil.
Thomas Aquinas (1226-1274) said that Jews could not be treated as neighbours but should live in perpetual servitude.
1270Jews were massacred in Germany: Weissenberg, Magdeburg, Sinzig, Erfurt and other cities. In Sinzig the community was locked in the synagogue on the Sabbath and burned alive.
1272The main synagogue in London was closed. The reason given was that the chanting disturbed the devotion of the monks in the neighborhood. Jews had to gather in private homes but even that was restricted by order of the Bishop of London.
1275The Statutum Judeismo was passed in England under King Edward I. The law forbade Jews to charge interest, restricted the areas where they could live, ordered all Jews from the age of seven to wear the badge and required those above the age of twelve to pay an annual poll tax at Easter. But the law also allowed Jews, for the first time, to lease land for farming and become merchants and artisans.
1278Edward I charged Jews with coin clipping. House-to-house searches took place throughout England and 680 Jews were thrown into the Tower of London. Many were hanged and their property seized by the crown.
1280In Poland civic authorities attempted to attract Jews by establishing Jewish life on a rational basis. But the church insisted that Jews be isolated from the rest of the population.
The Synod of Buda introduced the Jewish badge.
In Spain Jews were forced to listen to conversion sermons of the monks in their own synagogues. Fanatical mobs attacked Jews against the orders of civic authorities.
1281Most Spanish Jews were arrested in their synagogues on a Sabbath in January, but released again on promise to pay a huge amount of ransom money.
1282The Archbishop of Canterbury closed all synagogues in his diocese.
1283 - 1285Ten Jews were murdered by a mob in Mainz after they had been charged with ritual murder.
26 Jews were killed as a result of a ritual murder charge in Bacharach.
40 Jews were murdered after a ritual murder charge in Oberwellel.
In Munich 180 Jews were burned alive in the synagogue after a ritual murder charge.
1290On July 18 King Edward I in Council ordered all Jews in England under pain of death to leave the country by the first of November.
1298Severe persecutions took place in Franconia, Bavaria and Austria. A German nobleman by the name of Rindfleisch (he was called the Judenschlächter) gathered a small army and began to slaughter Jews from city to city. In about six months he burned and massacred an estimated 100,000 Jews in 140 communities including Wurzburg, Ratisbon, Nuremberg, Augsburg, Heilbronn and Rottingen.
1306Under Philip IV (le Bel) all Jews of his realm, approximately 100,000, were imprisoned on July 22. They were told to leave the country within one month. They could only take the clothes on their backs and provisions for one day. Their property left behind was used by Philip to replenish the royal treasury, which had been exhausted through his feud with the Pope and his war against the Flemish.
1308The Bishop of Strasbourg, John of Dirpheim, demanded the Jews of Sulzmatt and Rufach on the charge of host desecration. They were burned alive.
1315King Louis X called back the Jews who had been expelled from France. They in turn set conditions which were met. But again they had to wear badges.
1320Pope John XII ordered the Inquisition in Toulouse. There and in Perpignon the Talmud was burned.
During the Crusade of the Shepherds 40,000 shepherds and peasants marched from Agen to Toulouse and killed any Jew who was not willing to be baptized. In Verdun 500 Jews had fled to a tower. When they were besieged they committed suicide. 120 Jewish communities in southern France and northern Spain were wiped out.
1328Thousands of Jews were murdered by mobs around Estella when a monk preached inflaming anti-Jewish sermons.
1338Bishop John of Dirpheim caused the massacre of Jews in Strasbourg on the anniversary of the Conversion of St. Paul.
1348When the plague raged in Europe Jews in Spain were charged with planning to poison the wells of Christians. In France, Spain and Switzerland Jews were murdered because people believed they had poisoned the wells or intended to do so.
In September Pope Clement VI issued a papal bull declaring the Jews innocent of the charge of causing the plague. He urged the clergy to protect the Jews and even excommunicated murderers. But the mobs could not be stopped.
10,000 Jews were murdered by mobs in the cities bordering Germany in spite of the royal protection given to them by King Casimir.
The mayor of Strasbourg, Conrad of Winterthur, together with other authorities defended the Jews against mob attacks and the accusations of the bishop. The Councils of other cities tried the same.
1349The Jewish community of Basle was burned to death in a specially built structure. 2,000 Jews perished in Strasbourg. In Worms 400 Jews were burned. In Oppenheim the Jews burned themselves in fear of torture. The same happened in Frankfurt. In Mainz 6,000 Jews were burned to death when a mob set fire to their houses. In Erfurt the Jewish community of 3,000 was slaughtered and in Breslau all Jews perished. In Vienna the Jews committed suicide on the advice of their rabbi to avoid torture. The Jewish communities of Augsburg, Wurzburg and Munich were destroyed. Jews were expelled from Heilbronn. The Jews of Nuremberg who had not fled were burned to death in a place that since is known as Judenbühl. The Jews of Konigsberg were murdered. In Brussels approximately 500 Jews died in a massacre.
135412,000 Jews were murdered in Toledo
1357When the plague returned a second time in Franconia, the Jews again were blamed of poisoning the wells. The plague, also called the Black Death, killed thousands. During this time the myth of an international Jewish conspiracy was invented that in spite of its absurdities is still believed by many, even today!
1366 - 1369While the Spanish civil war raged between King Pedro and Henry of Trastamora many Jews were killed by mercenaries employed by both sides.
1384The Jews in Nordlingen were attacked and massacred.
1389Mobs attacked and murdered thousands of Jews in Prague.
1391The Inquisition turned against the Jews who had converted to Christianity. In many cases they secretly continued to practice Judaism and were therefore considered heretics. Throughout the Inquisition an estimated number of 50,000 Jews were killed and another 160,000 forcibly baptized.
In many cities in Spain synagogues and mosques were turned into churches and Jewish communities suffered terrible persecution. After 300 Jews were killed or committed suicide in Barcelona, 11,000 Jews allowed themselves to be baptized.
1399In Posen, Poland, a rabbi and 13 elders of the Jewish community were slowly burned to death on the charge of stabbing the host and throwing it into a pit. Rumors had circulated that the host had bled, which, of course, confirmed the dogma of the Eucharist.
1407The fiery sermons of the monk and reformer Vincent Ferrer caused oppressive actions against the Jews of Spain and mob attacks. He is credited with 20,000 forced baptisms in Castille and Aragon.
1413 - 1415Don Ferdinand of Aragon convened disputations in Tortosa. They were supposed to make it easier for Jews to convert to Christianity. The leading Jews of Aragon were forced to debate with a converted Jew, Geronimo de Sante Fe. The disputations lasted for one year and nine months with negative results for the Jewish communities.
1419Pope Martin V and the Spanish kings restored Jewish rights. Synagogues and Talmud copies were returned to them.
1422The Crusade against the Hussites in Bohemia and Moravia caused much harm to Jewish communities. On their march to Prague the army of the German emperor Sigismund with Dutch mercenaries destroyed Jewish communities along the Rhine River, in Thuringia and Bavaria, all to avenge the insulted God of the Christians.
1427 - 1429A bull issued by Pope Martin V forbade sea captains to transport Jews to the Holy Land. He also, in another bull, urged the protection of the Jews and established community rights, among them allowing Jews to study at universities.
1431A ritual murder charge led to the destruction of the southern German Jewish communities of Ravensburg, Uberlingen and Lindau.
1432Jews were expelled from Saxony.
1434The Council of Basle, presided over by Pope Eugenius IV revoked the freedoms Martin V had bestowed. Jews were to live in separate quarters of the cities, attend conversion sermons and were not permitted to attend universities.
1443Jews in Venice had to wear the yellow badge.
1451Pope Nicholas V in a bull confirmed the old exclusions of Jews from Christian society and all honorable walks of life. John of Capistrano was appointed by the Pope to lead the Inquisition of the Jews. In his sermons he repeated the charges of ritual murder and host desecration which led to persecutions in Breslau under King Ladislav of Silesia.
1454When the Polish army was defeated by the Teutonic Order and the Prussians, the clergy, who had been stirred by Capistranos sermons in Poland, blamed the royal leniency toward the Jews for the calamity. Jewish rights were withdrawn and mobs attacked Jewish communities.
1457Polish troops on march to the Crusade against the Turks attacked the Jews of Cracow and killed about 30.
1492All Jews were expelled from Catholic Spain.
1500 - 1530The Dominicans baptized many Jews. These converts, however, were not much safer from mob attacks. Some of the converts wrote extremely hostile anti-Jewish volumes, intending to cause damage to Jewry: Victor of Carben 1505, John Pfefferkorn (four vitriolic pieces) 1505-09, Anthony Margharita 1530. The Dominicans also renounced the study of the Hebrew language.
1509Emperor Maximilian authorized John Pfefferkorn to destroy everything that was blasphemous or hostile to Christianity. He began in Frankfurt, Main, where he searched Jewish homes and synagogues and confiscated more than 1,500 manuscripts.
1517At the time of the Reformation the Pope issued a bull, "Cum nimis absurdum". It is recognized as the most devastating Christian anti-Jewish document ever written. It required Jews to wear badges of shame, live in ghettos, and sell any property outside the ghetto walls.
1521 - 1523In "The Magnificat" and in his treatise "That Jesus Christ was born a Jew," Martin Luther reacted against the harsh treatment of Jews, hoping they would eventually convert. The Reformation contributed to more freedom for Jews. In Protestant countries they enjoyed greater tolerance and fewer restrictions and were able to develop a more dynamic culture than in Catholic countries. However, Jews continued to live precarious lives everywhere. In Catholic countries ghettoization became the norm. Jewish culture was stifled and the new stereotype of the ghetto Jew was added to the many already in existence.
1541John Eck, the Roman Catholic polemicist, wrote a treatise against David Gans, a Jew. Gans expected Protestantism to be more tolerant of Judaism. Eck"s pamphlet, "Refutation of a Jewish Book", renews all the ancient charges: ritual killing of infants, host desecration etc. In addition he called Germany"s Protestants "toadies and lovers of Jews."
1543This accusation may have contributed to Luther"s change of attitude towards the Jews. He leaked a series of tracts, entitled "On the Jews and their lies, On Shem Hamphoras": "Their synagogues should be set on fire... their houses should likewise be broken down and destroyed... Let them earn their bread by the sweat of their noses, as is enjoined upon Adam"s children." He reverted to a medieval position sensing the danger of Eck"s attack against Protestantism and believing Eck"s stories that the Jews killed children for their rituals. In a tract, "On the last words of David", he moderated his position, but followed the tradition of interpreting the Old Testament in Christological terms. These pamphlets proved unpopular and would have been forgotten, if the Nazis had not resurrected them in the Munich Edition (first vol.3, 1934).
Some famous men at the time of the Reformation who were sympathetic towards Jews were John Brenz (1499 - 1570), the Swabian Reformer and the theologians Andrew Osiander (1498 - 1552) and Matthias Flacius (1520 - 1575).
1554In Geneva Theodore Beza published a book on "Why heretics should be punished by the magistrates." This was a rejoinder to Sebastian Castellio"s eloquent plea for religious freedom. Castellio had been removed from Geneva by the Reformer John Calvin because he doubted that the Songs of Songs belonged into the Scriptures.
1580 - 1620The Republic of the Seven Netherlands (Holland) became very tolerant of Jews. It became a haven for Jews fleeing the Inquisition. There Castellio"s arguments for religious freedom won out over the influence of Beza.
1582When the Netherlands came under the rule of Cahrles V of Spain, the Jews were expelled.
In the "Scots Confession" ch.18 Reformer John Knox upheld the original Calvinist tenet of intolerance, distinguishing "the Harlot" (Rome) and "the filthy synagogues" from "the true Kirk".
1622King Christian IV of Denmark and others invited Jews to reside in their lands, when the Thirty Year War raged in central Europe.
1646 - 1647"The Westminster Confession", by act of the Scottish parliament, superseded the Scots Confession, defining the church in universal terms with no anti-Roman or antisemitic defamations in its chapter on the church.
1648 - 1649During the rebellion of the Cossacks and Russian peasants in Poland, Ukraine, White Russia and Lithuania the most cruel tortures were invented for the Jews. Thousands died under prolonged brutality. Children were not spared. There are reports of rapes and gruesome slaughters, of people being slowly killed with spears, of women being slit open and live cats sewed up in them...
The city of Hamburg expelled its Jews.
1654On September 22 Peter Stuyvesant sent an anti-Semitic letter home from the Colonies in the New World to the West India Company, which indicates that the Jews here were in trouble too. The Puritans in New England saw Jews as challenge to Christian evangelism.
1656Oliver Cromwell allowed Jews to resettle in England, supposedly as reward for Jewish "Intelligencers" (old English for "spies") which are said to have enabled Cromwell to avert the projected invasion of England planned at Brussels early in 1656 between Charles II. and the Spanish government.
1718Charles XIII of Sweden opened the country to Jewish immigration. However, economic and travel restrictions were imposed.
1744Jews were expelled from Bohemia and 1745 from Moravia under Empress Maria Theresa.
1753Under the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna about 35,000 Jews were expelled from Russia.
1768Russia"s expansion and the defeat of Poland confronted the Russians with large established Jewish communities, who had previously not been under their rule. Czarina Catherine II, the Great, established a territory, the so-called Pale of Settlement. It was to prevent the Jewish population from influencing Russian society and to be a buffer between Russia and its western neighbours. Jews needed special permits to travel outside the Pale. Persecutions of Jews continued violently in Poland, Lithuania and Russia, were Jews had fled from Crusaders and the Inquisition in western Europe.
1791Jews were given citizenship in France. The age of the Enlightenment (or reason) produced a rationalism that was applied to social and economic issues.
The narrowing sense of nationhood brought trouble to the Jews again, because they were living across many nations.
1796The Netherlands granted Jews full equality and citizenship.
1808 - 1810Czar Alexander I wanted to integrate Jews into Russian society and ordered them to leave the villages were they resided. An estimated 500,000 Jews left the countryside and flooded into the cities, were thousands starved, froze to death or died of decease. Fear of an epidemic brought about the cancellation of the law.
1814 - 1820Jews in Denmark were granted almost complete emancipation. German cities still regularly expelled Jews: Lübeck, Bremen, Würzburg and many towns in Franconia, Swabia and Bavaria. The so-called HEP! HEP! riots (a Crusader"s shout: Hierosolyma est Perdita - Jerusalem is lost) took place in Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Beyreuth, Karlsruhe, Dusseldorf, Heidelberg, Wurzburg and even in Copenhagen.
1821Thousands of Jews fled Greece after anti-Jewish riots.
1844Karl Marx (a Jew) published his treatise "On the Jewish Question", Zur Judenfrage, repeating the old stereotypes Christans had used.
1845The French socialist, Alphonse Toussenel, published his anti-Semitic attack "The Jews, King of the Time", Les Juifs Rois de l"epoque.
1848The revolution brought the emancipation of the Jews, but already in 1851 the constitutions of Prussia and Austria included again anti-Jewish restrictions.
1850Riot against Jews in New York City led by three Irish policemen.
1855Comte de Gobineau published his "Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races", Essai sur l"ineqalite des races humaines. Modern antisemitism has used this heavily.
1868Hermann Gödsche published his novel "Biarritz" under the pseudonum of Sir John Ratcliffe. A chapter entitled "In the Jewish Cemetery in Prague" he descibed a secret midnight meeting of representatives of the 12 tribes of Israel receiving directions from the Devil how to dominate the world. In 1872 only this chapter was reprinted as a pamphlet in St. Petersburg, Russia, with a statement saying that although the story was fiction, it was based on fact. The pamphlet was reprinted later in Moscow, Odessa and Prague.
1869Jews received equal citizen status in Germany.
1870The Ghetto in Rome was formally abolished - against the wishes of Pope Pius IX - and Jews became equal citizens in the kingdom of Italy.
1871Father August Rohling of Prague published his pamphlet "The Talmud Jew", Der Talmudjude. It was a vicious antisemitic attack widely circulated among Catholics.
1873Wilhelm Marr published his pamphlet "Jewry"s Victory over Teutonism", Der Sieg des Judentums über das Germanentum. Here the term "antisemitism" was used for the first time.
1875Bismarck"s Kulturkampf against the Catholics in Germany was interpreted by Catholics as being influenced by Jewish capital as revenge for the Roman persecution of the Jews.
1878Adolph Stoecker, the founder of the Christian Socialist Workers Party in Germany, was committed to antisemitism.
More than 100,000 Rumanian Jews immigrated to the United States to avoid starvation because of discriminatory laws in their country.
1879Professor Heinrich von Treitschke at the University of Berlin made himself a name in the world not only as a historian but also as a modern antisemite. In a collection of essays, "A Word about our Jewry", Ein Wort über unser Judentum, he stated, for example, that antisemitism is "a natural reaction of the German national feeling against a foreign element which had usurped too large a place in our life."
1881A petition with 250,000 signatures was submitted to Bismarck by the Berlin Movement calling for severe restrictions on Jewish life in Germany.
The first of many severe pogroms against the Jews were initiated by the Sacred League in Russia, consisting of 300 army officers. The pogroms caused one of the major emigrations in Jewish history.
Eugen Duhring published his "The Jewish Question as a Problem of Race, Custom and Culture," Die Judenfrage als Rassen-, Sitten- und Kulturfrage: "The origin of the general contempt felt for the Jewish race lies in its absolute inferiority in all intellectual fields. Jews show a lack of scientific spirit, a feeble grasp of philosophy, an inability to create in mathematics, art, and even music. Fidelity and reverence with respect to anything great and noble are alien to them. Therefore, the race is inferior and depraved... The duty of the Nordic peoples is to exterminate such parasitic races as we exterminate snakes and beasts of prey."
Berlin Movement rallies ended in riots of bands moving through streets shouting "Juden raus!", attacking Jews or "Jewish-looking" people, smashing windows of Jewish businesses.
1882Father E. A. Chabauty published "The Jews our Master", Les Juifs, nos maitres!, about Christian nations being attacked by a Jewish conspiracy.
1886The German Antisemitic Alliance was formed by rightwing parties.
Edouard-Adolphe Drumont published his "The Jews of France", La France Juive, a violently antisemitic work widely circulated.
1887Otto Boeckel, one of the leaders of the German Antisemitic Alliance was elected to the German Reichstag in Berlin.
Karl Lüger, a leftist politician, made his antisemitism public. He became a major leader of Austrian antisemitism. In Mein Kampf Hitler attributes his antisemitism to Lüger"s influence.
1889Max Liebermann von Sonnenberg who had been a leader in the Berlin Movement founded the German Social Antisemitc Party, Deutsch-Soziale Antisemitische Partei, in Bochum, Westpahlia.
The first antisemitic newspaper in Hungary appeared in Pressburg.
1890 and afterFour million Jews fled to Western Europe and America due to persecutions in Eastern Europe. But here too - in the Land of the Free - Jews were restricted and suffered the old accusations.
Zionism developed in Europe.
Hermann Ahlwardt published his "The Aryan Peoples" Battle of Despair Against Jewry", Der Verzweiflungskampf der Arischen Völker mit dem Judentum, depicting Jewry as an octopus controlling every sector of the German nation.
Antisemitic parties gained five seats in the German Reichstag.
1892Edouard Drumont founded the French newspaper La Libre Parole to popularize his antisemitism.
1893Antisemitic parties won sixteen seats in the German Reichstag.
Theodor Fritsch published his "Antisemitism Chatechism" in Germany.
1894The trial and court-martial of the French officer Alfred Dreyfus (a Jew) for treason was later proven to have been caused by high-ranking antisemitic army officers and people in the war ministry who forged documents. The Dreyfus Affair caused antisemitic riots in France.
1899Houston Stewart Chamberlain published his work "The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century". He carried Gobineau"s racial theory to its logical conclusion proclaiming Germans as the master race and urging a crusade against all Jews.
1900 - 1910Hundreds of pogroms against the Jews were initiated and supported by the Czar"s Black Hundreds in Russia and Ukraine.
A short version of the "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion" was published by Pavolackai Krushevan in his newspaper Znamya in St. Petersburg. The acceptance of this forgery by the Czar"s secret police even by Christians here and later in other countries proved how Christian anti-Judaism had predispositioned the people to believe the weirdest antisemitic propaganda. S. A. Nilus published the whole text of the Protocols in the third edition of his book, "The Great in the Small", in St. Petersburg. G. Butmi published his version of the Protocols, "The Enemies of the Human Race", in St. Petersburg (four editions in two years).(See also 1917 and 1937).
1911Werner Sombart published his book, "The Jew and Modern Capitalism". He claimed that Judaism and capitalism are practically synonymous. He stated: "Intellectual interests and intellectual skill are more strongly developed in him [the Jew] than physical (manual) powers. (Compare 1881 where Duhring had stated the exact opposite).
1914Anti-Jewish laws were abolished so that Jews could fight for Holy Mother Russia in WW I.
1915Grand Duke Sergei, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian armies decreed the relocation of all Jews from the Pale fearing they would side with the Germans. 600,000 were forcibly transported to the interior of Russia. About 100,000 of them died from exposure and starvation.
1918 - 1920Up to 200,000 Jews suffered violent death during Russia"s fratricidal civil war and the Russo-Polish war in 1920. It was mainly in Ukraine, but there was also mass murder of Jews in Minsk, Pinsk and Vilna by the Polish army (documented by the US government) and in Yekaterinburg, Siberia. In July 1919 over 2,000 Jews were slaughtered by the "White" army under Admiral Kolchak. Jews were accused by the Bolshewiks of being capitalists and opposed to them, and by Whites to be Reds and Communists. They suffered more by the Whites, though, who made no difference between them and the Reds. Lenin outlawed pogroms, but the better treatment Jews received from the Reds gave Whites more "proof" that Jews were communists. Terrible tortures and slaughters of Jews happened in Ukraine under General Denikin whose White army in South Russia was armed and financed mainly by the Allies, chiefly the British.
In the Balfour Declaration the British Foreign Secretary declared Palestine to be the "national home" for the Jews. The Arab nations protested.
The "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion" was first published in England.
In riots in Berlin and Munich Jews were blamed for Germany losing the war.
1920 - 1921Gottfried zer Beek (Ludwig Müller) published the Protocols in German. It reached six editions. Müller"s version became the official version of the Nazis in 1929. The Protocols were also published in France, the United States and Poland.
The "Return to Normalcy" revived the Ku Klux Klan in the United States and restrictions of all sorts were imposed on people of "Hebrew descent".
Hitler made his first important speech against the Jews on Aug. 13, urging to take away all their rights.
Approximately 1,450,000 Jews had immigrated to the United States over a period of about 30 years. To stem the immigration President Harding and the Congress rewrote the laws limiting immigration by nationality per year to three percent of the number of people of that nationality already in the U.S. as of the 1910 census. Another severe restriction of immigration was legislated in 1924.
1925Hitler published his Mein Kampf: "If, with the help of his Marxist creed, the Jew is victorious over the other peoples of the world, his crown will be the funeral wreath of humanity...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."
1926 - 1933Pogroms continued in the USSR, Poland, Rumania, Hungary, Greece and Mexico. In Germany Jewish cemeteries and synagogues were desecrated.
1933Hitler came to power in Germany. Jews were barred from civil service, legal professions and universities, were not allowed to teach in schools and could not be editors of newspapers.
1934Anti-Jewish groups formed throughout Canada. Antisemitism was blatent in many magazines and newspapers.
1935Jews lost their citizenship in Germany.
1936Palestinians rebelled against Zionism and the British decision to offer the Jews Arab lands. By 1939 half a million Jews were settled in Palestine. The British tried to block the flow of immigration and to deal with Jewish paramilitary organizations.
In the Stalin purges in the USSR many Jews lost their lives.
Cardinal Hloud, the Primate of Poland, in a pastoral letter urged Catholics to boycott Jewish businesses.
1937The Concentration Camps of Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald und Lichtenburg were established in Germany.
All Jewish teachers lost their jobs in Italy. Jewish children were segregated.
The Protocols were published in Italian and widely circulated.
1938During the night of November 9-10 some 7,000 Jewish shops and businesses were looted, most synagogues burned and 91 Jews killed in Germany. About 30,000 richer Jews were taken to concentration camps. Later most of them were freed and given emigration papers after all their possessions had been confiscated. A few hundred-thousand Jews were able to emigrate from Germany, Austria, Bohemia and Moravia by turning all they had over to the Nazis. Jews were barred from public life, from schools and universities. They had to wear yellow badges in the form of the Star of David on their clothing at all times. They were accused of every evil under the sun and always in fear of being beaten up or even killed on the streets.
1939 - 1941The beginning of WW II brought a change from emigration policies to extermination. Thousands of Jews were rounded up by the SS (Einsatzkommandos) behind the advancing German front and shot or brought to Concentration Camps in Poland. The Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei) rounded up Jews, Gipsys, Jehovah"s Witnesses, Communists, homosexuals and others and put them into camps.
1942On Jan. 20 a conference of sixteen high-ranking Nazi officials in Berlin-Wannsee planned the "final solution", the complete extermination of European Jewry.
1942 - 1945Almost six million Jews, among them about one million children, were killed in special extermination camps, all situated in Poland, which was occupied by the German army. The most prominent of these camps was Auschwitz. "Holocaust" is a biblical term which means burnt offering. The Jewish people refer to this most devastating event in their history as the Sho"ah.
Many churches in Germany supported Hitler as a national hero. Some resisted him. But Christianity as a whole failed miserably in resisting the evil done to the Jews and other minorities. And when Jewish refugees knocked on the doors of the nations opposed to the Nazis, they were rejected. All over the western world the churches were rather silent when the Jews needed help and were eventually slaughtered. The Holocaust is, therefore, also the culmination of the Christian anti-Judaism of the centuries. Their own anti-Jewish teaching paralyzed Christians to act appropriately, when secular, pagan and anti-Christian forces took over the language of the anti-Judaism of the Christian Church and brought it to its deadly conclusion.

In the beginning was the anti-Judaic word - in the end the Final Solution.

See also: Paul E. Grosser and Edwin G. Halperin, Anti-Semitism: The Causes and Effects of a Prejudice. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press, 1979 (1976) / Don Mills, Ontario: George J. McLeod Ltd. and bibliography.