Jewish community at Radolszell, Germany, exterminated (1349)

Representation of a massacre of the Jews in 1349 Antiquitates Flandriae (Royal Library of Belgium manuscript 1376/77)


30 April 2018 | Various Sources| Hawkins Bay Dispatch

The Erfurt massacre refers to the massacre of the Jewish community in ErfurtGermany, on March 21, 1349.

Accounts of the number of Jews killed in the massacre vary widely from between 100 to up to 3000.

Some Jews set fire to their homes and possessions and perished in the flames before they could be lynched.

The many Black Death persecutions and massacres that occurred in France and Germany at that time were sometimes in response to accusations that the Jews were responsible for outbreaks of the Black Death, and other times justified with the belief that killing the local Jews would prevent the spread of the Black Death to that locale.

Although these beliefs, and the accompanying massacres, were frequently encouraged by local bishops or itinerant Flagellants, the Catholic Church, including Pope Clement VI under whom the Flagellants and the Black Death began, and his successor, Innocent VI, were firmly against it. In a papal bull condemning the Flagellant movement in late 1349, Pope Clement VI criticized their “shedding the blood of Jews”, Erfurt later suffered the ravages of the Black Plague, where over 16,000 residents died during a ten-week period in 1350.

Jews Burned at the Stake
Source: Wikipedia

Massacres were generally accompanied by extensive looting. One of the items looted in the Erfurt massacre was what is now the oldest remaining manuscript of the Tosefta, which dates from the 12th century. The Erfurt Manuscripts, including the Tosefta, came into the possession of Erfurt City Council after the Massacre, and in the late 17th century ended up in the library of the Lutheran Evangelical Ministry, at Erfurt’s former Augustinian Monastery.

The Ministry sold them to the Royal Library in Berlin, the present day Berlin State Library, in 1880, where they are now kept. According to one reference, there are bloodstains on the Tosefta manuscript.

Many of the Jews of Erfurt preemptively hid their valuables. Some of those valuables, probably belonging to merchant Kalman of Wiehe, were found in 1998, and are now referred to as the Erfurt Treasure.

Among those murdered was prominent Talmudist Alexander Suslin.[11]

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.  Charges spread that Jews caused the disease by deliberately poisoning wells.

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 .

In 1349, massacres and persecution spread across Europe, including the Erfurt massacre (1349) , the Basel massacre , massacres in Aragon, and Flanders.

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.

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.

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.

Jews were also isolated in the ghettos, which meant that Jews were less affected.

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.

Government responses

In many cities the civil authorities did not want to protect the Jewish communities or actually abetted the rioters.

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.

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.


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.”

20 years after the Black Death the Brussels massacre (1370) wiped out the Belgian Jewish community.

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”. ‘”

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.”

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 . ”

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.”

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.

42 Historical Objects, No. 18: The Erfurt Treasure




This may look like just another collection of old coins, but the Erfurt Treasure is a collective artifact that shows us in tangible form some of the darkest days in the history of the Western world.

These coins and piece of jewelry, made of gold, silver, bronze and iron, were hidden under the wall of a cellar entrance in a house in the medieval Jewish quarter of Erfurt, Germany.

Most likely they were hidden there on or shortly before March 21, 1349, when the Christian inhabitants of Erfurt massacred the Jews who lived in their town. Other artifacts were hidden too, such as an ancient manuscript copy of the Tosfeta. Six hundred and forty-nine years later, in 1998, demolition work above the old Jewish quarter exposed a few coins. The treasure was found and put on display in a local synagogue.

The 14th century was utterly disastrous for most people who lived on the Earth. The worst outbreak of disease in human history, the Black Death, swept the Eurasian world, killing tens of millions.

It was the 14th century equivalent of what a global nuclear war might do today. (The 14th century was pretty bad for people living in the Americas too, but for different reasons). In European towns like Erfurt, religious and cultural tensions between Jews and goyim were often sharpened by the effects of the disaster.

Sometimes rumors spread that Jews were responsible for spreading the plague, often through poisoned water. At other times the story was that “cleansing” towns of Jews would invite the favor of God and He would remove the pestilence. Either way, people wanted to kill Jews. We’re not sure how many died in Erfurt. Estimates range from 100 to 3000. Some Jews committed suicide before they could be killed.

Expropriation of the property of Jews almost always accompanies anti-Semitic violence–it certainly did during the Holocaust–and this was what the owners of the coins now known as the Erfurt Treasure were hoping to avoid.

By hiding their valuables and fleeing, they hoped the tensions would eventually die down and someday they could return to their communities, where Jews had lived side-by-side with non-Jews for centuries. Jews quickly returned to Erfurt. They were again living there by the late 1350s, continuing their worship in what is one of the oldest surviving synagogues in Europe, founded in the 11th century.

Among the coins of the Erfurt Treasure is a magnificent gold wedding ring of Ashkenazi craftsmanship. The German government issued a postage stamp depicting the ring in 2010.

Eighteen killed in German school shooting in Erfurt (Guardian, 2002)

Students and parents wait near the Gutenberg high school in Erfurt, eastern Germany. Photo: AP

Eighteen people were killed at a German school today when a recently-expelled pupil opened fire on his former teachers and fellow students.

In one of the worst school shootings ever, the 19-year-old gunman roamed the corridors on a killing spree before taking his own life as police commandos closed in on a classroom where he had barricaded himself.

Fourteen teachers, two students and a policeman were killed in the rampage.

Police officials said the dead were found lying in hallways and toilets in the Gutenberg school in Erfurt, in the east of the country.

“I heard shooting and thought it was a joke,” said 13-year-old Melanie Steinbrueck, holding back tears.

“But then I saw a teacher dead in the hallway in front of Room 209 and a gunman in black carrying a weapon.”

“The guy was dressed all in black – gloves, cap, everything was black,” said 13-year-old Juliane Blank. “He must have opened the door without being heard and forced his way into the classroom.

“We ran out into the hallways. We just wanted to get out,” she said.

The toll equals the 1996 Dunblane massacre when Thomas Hamilton shot sixteen children and a teacher at the Scottish primary school before killing himself.

Three years later two US students killed 15 people including themselves at a high school in Columbine, Colorado.

A police spokesman, Manfred Etzel, said the gunman fired at random after entering the school.

“We found a horrible scene when we searched the building,” he told German television.

Police received a call at 11.05am from the school’s caretaker who said someone was shooting in the building.

An initial team of officers arrived on the scene shortly after and entered the school. One of these policemen is among the dead.

A team of special police commandos was sent to surround the brownstone building, located in a residential area of the town.

More than two hours later, the commandos were seen storming the building.

Outside, an officer with a megaphone urged parents to register their children’s names before leaving the scene, and groups of dazed and shocked pupils huddled in the street, hugging and crying.

The school shooting is Germany’s second in two months.

In February, a 22-year-old German who recently lost his job shot and killed two former bosses and his old headteacher in a rampage in Freising near Munich.


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