The Butcher's Tale
The thesis of this book is the matter of bigotry engrained in a society that turns into mass hysteria directed toward the subjects of such bigotry. The author tells the tale of the murder of a child, for whom a Jewish butcher is blamed, and subsequently causes violence against all Jewish residents in the town. The Jewish butcher was accused of the murder not because of the overwhelming evidence against him, but simply because the Christians of that town were made to believe, generation after generation, that Jews performed ritual murders, despite the fact that they were living in a time when democracy was progressing and rights of citizens were expanding, including those of Jews, and despite the fact that 19th century works on ritual murder charges showed them to have been a hoax from the start. The town had one of the most integrated Jewish minorities in all of Europe. Yet, the taunts and threats that started small with nightly demonstrations by teenage boys, quickly graduated to accusations requiring local government issuances of public warnings against the threats. Ultimately, the bigotry was so engrained in their belief, that neighbor turned against neighbor, and riots and violence followed. The book reflects that throughout the ages, anti-Semites have used these types of accusations to justify their behavior toward Jews and to substantiate their prejudices against them. The author uses the onslaught of violence against the Jews as evidence of the mass hysteria that was created by the Christian's prejudices toward the Jews at that time. He also identifies Jewish ritual murder accusations that occurred throughout history in Western and Central Europe. For centuries, Christians believed as fact the stories told of the infamous blood-libel and ritual murder charges against Jews, and used that as evidence of their guilt. And despite works proving the charges as baseless, anti-Semites continued to rely on historical cases as proof...
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