Black Death Jewish persecutions

The  Black Death persecutions and massacres  Were a series of violent attacks were Jewish communities blamed for an outbreak of the Black Death in Europe from 1348 to 1350.

History of persecutions

As the plague swept across Europe in the mid-14th century, Jews were taken as scapegoats , because they were affected less than other people.  [1]  [2]  Charges spread that Jews caused the disease by deliberately poisoning wells.  [3]  [4]

The first massacres took place in April 1348 in Toulon, France , where the Jewish quarter was sacked, and forty Jews were murdered in their homes, then in Barcelona .  [5]  In 1349, massacres and persecution spread across Europe, including the Erfurt massacre (1349) , the Basel massacre , massacres in Aragon, and Flanders.  [6]  [7]  900 Jews were burnt alive on 14 February 1349 in the “Valentine’s Day” Strasbourg massacre , where the plague had not yet affected the city.  [8] Many hundreds of Jewish communities have been destroyed in this period. Within the 510 Jewish communities destroyed in this period, some members killed themselves to avoid the persecutions.  [9]

Reasons for relative Jewish immunity

There are many possible reasons why Jews have been tried for the cause. One reason was because of a general sense of anti-Semitism in the 14th century.  [1]  Jews were also isolated in the ghettos, which meant that Jews were less affected.  [10]  [11]  Additionally, there are many other laws that have been adopted by the court, it was customary for Jews to bathe an ounce before the Sabbath, a corpse must be washed before burial, and so on.  [2]

Government responses

In many cities the civil authorities did not want to protect the Jewish communities or actually abetted the rioters.  [12]  Pope Clement VI (the French born Benedictine, Pierre Roger) tried to protect the Jewish communities by two papal bulls (the first on July 6, 1348 and another 26 September 1348) saying that those who blamed the plague on the Jews had “Devil” and “urging clergy to protect the Jews”. In this Clement was aided by the researches of his personal physician Guy Chauliac who argued that his own treatment of the Jews was not blame.  [13]  Clement’s efforts were in part undone by the newly elected Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperorforfeit, giving local authorities a financial incentive to turn a blind eye.  [14]


As the plague waned in 1350, so did the violence against Jewish communities. In 1351 the plague and the immediate persecution was over, though the background level of persecution and discrimination remained. Ziegler (1998) comments that “there was nothing unique about the massacres.”  [15]  20 years after the Black Death the Brussels massacre (1370) wiped out the Belgian Jewish community.  [16]

Jewish tales of Black Death in Early Modern Period

Though told for nearly 350 years, there were no written accounts of the Black Death through Jewish tales until 1696, by Yiftah Yosef ben Naftali Hirts Segal Manzpach in the Mayse Nissim. Yuzpa Shammes, as he was frequently referred to, was a scribe and shammash of the Worms community for several decades. These stories have been presented to the world by those of the past few years, and have been shown to be “wishful thoughts”. ‘”  [17] His neo-lachrymosis view has been that the Jews were not so sure that they took action against inevitably becoming scapegoat. Yet, it can be said that the Jews fought against the massacres, there are contradicting accounts that there is no evidence of “armed resistance.”  [18]  These contradicting tales display the effect of oral tradition being manipulated to fit certain circumstances. Because they were not written down for many centuries, these tales might not be conveyed by Yuzpa.

“Ordinary folk hated the Jews Because They HAD served the merchants and aristocrats, and With Their loans and With Their capital Helped suit les urban economy and the city’s governing political and territorial independence. Further, the Jews HAD exploited artisans’ with loans at usurious rates . ”  [19]  These Reasons gave the” ordinary folk “the motive to kill the Jews Because They Were Gaining political and social standings. Breuer aussi That included “… others saw the massacre as the revenge of impoverished Debtors contre privileged elite of Jewish Creditors.”  [20] They used Their crediting and loaning Endeavors as a platform for revenue earning and social Gaining, as well as, political status. A result of jealousy and This Was an Increase in anger Reviews towards the Jews Because The common folk HAD an existing hatred for the Jews As It Was.

See also

  • Timeline of anti-Semitism
  • Persecution of Jews
  • Erfurt massacre 1349
  • Black Death in medieval culture


  1. ^ Jump up to: b   “Blaming the Jews for the Black Death Plague” .  . Retrieved 2016-06-09 .
  2. ^ Jump up to: b   “The Black Death” .  . Retrieved 2016-06-09 .
  3. Jump up^  Anna Foa The Jews of Europe After the Black Death 2000 Page 146 “There have been several reasons for this, including, it has been suggested, the observance of the laws of hygiene and the lower incidence of alcoholism and venereal disease. “
  4. Jump up^  Richard S. Levy Antisemitism 2005 Page 763 “Panic emerged again during the scourge of the Black Death in 1348, when widespread terror in a revival of the poisoning charge. than Christians, better because of better hygiene and greater isolation.
  5. Jump up^  Anna Foa The Jews of Europe partner after the black death in 2000 p. 13 “This was the context in which the Plague made its appearance in 1348. THE BLACK DEATH The Plague was not unknown in … The first massacres took place in April 1348 in Toulon, where the Jewish quarter was raided and forty Jews were murdered Shortly afterward, violence broke out in Barcelona and in other Catalan cities. “
  6. Jump up^   Judaica Codex: chronological index of Jewish history ; p. 203 Máttis Kantor – 2005 “1349 The Black Death massacres swept across Europe. … The Jews were savagely attacked and massacred, by sometimes hysterical mobs – normal social order had …”
  7. Jump up^  John Marshall John Locke, Toleration and Early Enlightenment Culture ; p. 376 2006 “The period of the Black Death saw the massacre of Jews across Germany, and in Aragon, and Flanders,”
  8. Jump up^  See Stéphane Barry and Norbert Gualde, “The greatest epidemic in history”, in  The History  Magazine, No. 310, June 2006, p. 47(in French)
  9. Jump up^  Durant, Will. “The Renaissance” Simon and Schuster (1953), page 730-731,ISBN 0-671-61600-5
  10. Jump up^   Pasachoff, Naomi E .; Littman, Robert J. (2005).  Concise History of the Jewish People  . Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 154. ISBN  0-7425-4365-X .  However, Jews regularly ritually washed and bathed, and their abodes were slightly cleaner than their Christian neighbors. Consequently, when the rat and the flea brought the Black Death, Jews, with better hygiene, suffered less severely …
  11. Jump up^  Joseph P Byrne, Encyclopedia of the Black Death Volume 1 2012-Page 15 “Anti-Semitism and Anti-Jewish Violence before the Black Death .. Their attention to personal hygiene and diet, their forms of worship, and cycles of holidays were off-puttingly different. “
  12. Jump up^  Howard N. Lupovich Jews and Judaism in a world history p92-2009 “In May 1349, the city fathers of Brandenburg passed a law a priori condemning Jews of well poisoning cause or will cause in the future the death of Christians, … “
  13. Jump up^   Getz, Faye (1998). “Book review:  Inventory sive Magna Surgery,  Vol 1, Text” .  Bulletin of the History of Medicine  .  72  (3): 533-535.
  14. Jump up^  Howard N. Lupovitch Jews and Judaism in world history p92 2009 “On July 6, 1349, Pope Clement tried to curb anti-Jewish violence by issuing a papal bull. made arrangements for the disposal of Jewish property in the event …
  15. Jump up^  Philip Ziegler The Black Death 1998 “The Persecution of the Jews waned with the Black Death itself by 1351 all was over. massacres. “
  16. Jump up^   The Shengold Jewish Encyclopedia Mordecai Schreiber-2011 “In 1370, after the Black Death, the brutal Brussels Massacre wiped out the Belgian Jewish community”
  17. Jump up^  David Abraham, Tales Concerning Persecutions in Medieval Germany , 1977. “Yuzpa’s narrative has been noted as one example, among others, of how medieval Jews have not always ‘led as lambs to slaughter.'”
  18. Jump up^   Die Chronik of Mathias von Neuenburg , 1955. “While a Christian chronicler reports that during the pogrom of March 1, 1349, the beleaguered Jews of Worms set fire to their own houses, of armed resistance. “
  19. Jump up^   The ‘Black Death’ and Antisemitism , 1998. “Ordinary folk hated the Jews because they had served the merchants and aristocrats, and with their loans, and with their capital, helped establish the urban economy and the city’s political and territorial independence. Further, the Jews had exploited artisans with loans at usurious rates.
  20. Jump up^  Samuel K. Cohen Jr. The Black Death and the Burning of Jews , 2007. “others … saw the massacres as the revenge of impoverished debtors against privileged elite of Jewish creditors.”

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