Why did the Jews face persecution in Europe?
The myth was that Jews killed Christian children as a re-enactment of the Crucifixion and in order to get blood for Passover, to make their unleavened bread. At the end of the 13th centaury, massacres throughout southern Germany were responsible for the death of 100,000 Jews
The Black Death
In the black death one quarter of german people were killed by a terrible plague between 1347 and 1350. Caused by flea-infested rats arriving from the east. People chose to blame the Jews – accusing them of poisoning the rivers and wells. Thousands of Jews were burnt to death in 1349 because of this. Many survivors fled to Poland
The Hep Hep Riots
In 1819 there were violent attacks on Jewish communities in Germany. Calling for ‘Revenge’, the rioters shouted ‘Hep! Hep! Hep! Death and destruction to all Jews! Jewish organisations were formed to deal with poverty in the communities, raise education, and protect their rights, in the face of anti-Semitism.
The industrial revolution
The coming of factories, railways and increased trade brought many Jewish people into business such as brewing, silk, leather, cigars, spirits, meta, tools, chemicals, electrical goods, shipping and railways. Those who disliked all the changes found scapegoats to blame for all of the society’s ‘problems’ – empty churches, feminism, trade unionism and mainly Jews and socialists
Equality and hostility
In 1871, after a vitorious war againt France, the separate German states united into one German Empire under the Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. In 1872, German Jews were granted full equality in law. Their legal equality was to last only 61 years, until 1933. But restrictions in education, the army and government remained. Laws cannot eliminate anti-Semitism or racism and influential writers and politicians expressed their feelings loudly, sometimes inciting violent attacks and the...