In 1462, at Rinn, near Innsbruck in Austria, a boy named Andreas Oxner (or Anderl or Andrew) was reportedly bought by Jewish merchants and cruelly murdered by them in a forest near the city, his blood being carefully collected in vessels. The story was only popularized in the 17th century. In 1619 a Dr. Hippolyt Guarinoni (1571-1654) heard a story about little boy who was buried in Rinn and had been murdered by Jews. Guarinoni claimed that he dreamed that the year of death of this boy was 1462. The modern celebration of the the cult of Anderl began in 1621 and by the late 17th century the cult of Anderl was established throughout the Tyrol, together with other boys who had supposedly been killed by Jews. In 1642 Guarinoni himself wrote a book Triumph Cron Marter Vnd Grabschrift des Heilig Unschuldigen Kindts [Triumph, Crown, Martyrdom and Epitaph of the Holy Innocent Child].ref
The story was related in the 19th century by the German folklorist Jacob Grimm. The cult has continued until modern times. The stone on which the boy was supposedly sacrificed, called the Judenstein, became a shrine with a church.
In the 1950s, souvenir postcards portraying the murder were still being sold and the then Bishop of Innsbruck stated his belief in the myth. Belated attempts of a later Bishop of Innsbruck to end the cult had not been entirely successful as late as 1985. Further details of the story are given here: Blood Libel of Andreas of Rinn
The Blood Libel of St Simon of Trent
The case of Simon of Trent or Simonino of Trent took place in 1475. The Lent sermons of St. Bernardino da Feltre insisted that the Jews would massacre a Christian child at Passover. On March 23, the day after Passover, a Friday, the child Simon, aged 28 months disappeared, and was found dead on March 26 by Jews. According to one account, he was found by three Jews named Tobias, Samuel and Angelus. The whole community was arrested, tortured, seventeen confessed, executions followed until halted by papal intervention. Sixtus IV's legate, however, withdrew, intimidated by the wily prince-bishop of Trent Johannes Hinderbach, and the "trial" and executions resumed. Wire-pulled by Hinderbach, a papal commission approved the trial, and in 1478 Pope Sixtus V formally endorsed the proceedings (attesting that the Jews martyred Simon "in hatred of the faith of Christ,") Sixtus also canonized Simon. By mid-1476, little Simon had no less than 129 miracles attributed to him. "Blessed Simon of Trent" became the object of a cult of veneration and pilgrimage, along with others like William of Norwich, Hugh of Lincoln and Andreas of Rinn. Further details of the case are given here: Simon of Trent
Blood Libel of Christopher of La Guardia
At La Guardia, near Toledo, Spain, the blood libel accusation recurred in 1490. The case may have been concocted by the Spanish Inquisition. No inquiry was made as to the remains, the clothes of the child, the instruments of the murder, or the time and place of its commission. No child was reported missing. Nonetheless, a number of Jews were hanged or burned to death, and the case was used as an excuse to carry out the expulsion of the Jews of Spain.
Blood Libel of Tyrnau
In a case at Tyrnau, Hungary, in 1494, absurd and impossible statements were forced by torture from women and children in a blood libel case. Evidently, the accused preferred death as way to escape torture, and admitted everything that was asked of them. They "confessed," for example, that Jewish men menstruated, and that they practiced the drinking of Christian blood as a remedy. This was a common Christian superstition.
Blood Libel of Bosing
At Bazin (Bösing today Pezinok, Slovakia), Hungary, in 1529, Jews were accused of bleeding a nine-year-old boy to death. Thirty Jews c"onfessed" to the crime and were publicly burned. In fact however, no child at all was killed. He was found alive in Vienna. He had been stolen by the accuser, Count Wolf of Bazin, who found an easy and credible means of eliminating his inconvenient Jewish creditors at Bazin.
Blood Libel of St Gavriil Belostoksky
Gavril Belostoksky is the only child-saint in the Russian Orthodox Church, six years old from the village of Zverki in Belarus, who allegedly died in 1690. According to a myth t was supported by the church, the boy was kidnapped from his home during the holiday of Passover while his parents were away. Shutko, a Jew of Białystok, was accused of kidnapping the boy, bringing him to Białystok, poking him with sharp objects and draining his blood for nine days, then bringing the body back to Zverki and dumping at a local field. A cult developed, and the boy was canonized in 1820.
Blood Libel of Damascus
In February 1840, at Damascus, Syria, Father Thomas, a Capuchin, and his servant were murdered. In this instance, also, confessions were obtained only after the infliction of barbarous tortures. Several of the victims died, and others were forced to convert to Islam. An account is given in a contemporary letter concerning the Damascus blood libel. which was a plea for help by the heads of the Damascus Jewish community.
A trustworthy witness of the proceedings was the converted Jew G. W. Pieritz, who said that he was no friend or defendant of "rabbinism." The proceedings were stopped by the intervention of the Sultan Mahmoud II, at the request of foreign governments. This blood libel was the first of several initiated by Christians in the Middle East. Massacres of Jews by Christians or Muslims and Christians were recorded in Aleppo (1850, 1875), Damascus (1840, 1848, 1890), Beirut (1862, 1874), Dayr al-Qamar (1847), Jerusalem (1847)Cairo (1844, 1890, 1901-02), Mansura (1877), Alexandria (1870, 1882, 1901-07), Port Said (1903, 1908), Damanhur (1871, 1873, 1877, 1891), Istanbul (1870, 1874), Buyukdere (1864), Kuzguncuk (1866), Eyub (1868), Edirne (1872), Izmir (1872, 1874) among others. The Shiraz Pogrom and Blood Libel was of especial interest because it did not involve any Christian influence apparently. A letter of 1879 records the relatively benign cases of blood libel in Damanhur, Egypt.
Blood Libel of Rhodes
In 1840. The Jews of Rhodes, then in the Ottoman Empire, were accused of murdering a Greek Christian boy. The local authorities were encouraged by the intervention of European anti-Semitic consuls, especially the British consul at Rhodes. Several Jews were arrested and tortured, and the entire Jewish quarter was blockaded for twelve days. Sultan Mahmud II intervened. An investigation carried out by the central Ottoman government found the Jews to be innocent.
Tiszaeszlár (Tisza-Eslar): The Blood Libel of Esther
The Tiszaeszlár ( or Tisza-Eslar) blood libel is often thought to be responsible for Hungarian anti-Semitism, though it is more probable that it was a manifestation of anti-Semitism than a cause. Eszter Solymosi was a 14-year-old Christian peasant girl who was a servant in the home of András Huri in Tiszaeszlár, a Hungarian village situated on the Tisza river. On April 1, 1882 she was sent on an errand, and never returned. Though she was the wrong sex and too old for the classic blood libel, it was rumored that Eszter had been murdered by Jewish religious fanatics.
Hungarian anti-Semites Géza Ónody, representative of Tiszaeszlár in the Hungarian Parliament, and Győző Istóczy, MP, who later founded the Anti-semitic Party, had proposed the expulsion of the Jews in the House of Deputies. Now they incited the public against the local Jews, resulting in a number of violent acts and pogroms. They spread the charge that the Jews had killed the girl in order to use her blood at the approaching Passover.
On May 4 her mother accused the Jews before the local judge of having murdered her daughter.
The county court of Nyíregyháza sent József Bary to act as examining judge at Tiszaeszlár. Some women and girls testified that Scharf called Eszter into his house, and the slaughterer ("shohet") cut off her head. Bary placed the suspected Jews under police surveillance, and then interrogated five-year-old son of the synagogue sexton József Scharf, The entire family was then arrested, and all denied any knowledge of the events.
Móric, the 14 year old son, was given to Recsky, the commissar of safety, who took him to his country house in Tiszanagyfalu. There he was evidently intimidated by the court clerk, Péczely. Péczely as a large man who had served twelve years in jail for murder,
Intimidated, the boy confessed that after the Sabbath morning service his father called Eszter to his house under the pretext of requiring her to remove some candlesticks (forbidden to Jews on Saturdays). Moric further supposedly confessed that a Jewish beggar, Hermann Wollner, who lodged with them, led the girl to the vestibule of the synagogue and attacked her. Having undressed her, two ritual slaughterers (shochatim), Ábrahám Buxbaum and Leopold Braun, had held her while another slaughterer, Salamon Schwarz, incised her neck with a large knife and emptied the blood into a pot. These three men, had come to Tiszaeszlár to officiate on that particular Sabbath, and had, as the boy said, remained in the synagogue after morning service.
Bary continued his investigations in the synagogue and houses and among the graves; but nowhere could any traces of the living or dead girl be discovered. Twelve Jews were arrested on suspicion, and Móric Scharf, the 14 year old brother, who also testified, was given in charge of the jailer.
On June 18 a body that the district physician declared to be of a 14-year-old girl was found in the Tisza river near the village of Dada. Many recognized it as Eszter Solymosi. Her mother, however, emphatically denied it was Eszter's corpse, although she afterward identified the clothes in which the body was found as those of her daughter. A committee of experts, two physicians and one surgeon, declared the corpse was of a girl 18 to 20 years of age who had met with her death eight or ten days before. It was then buried in the Catholic cemetery of Tiszaeszlár.
Anti-Semitic agitators, among whom was the Catholic priest of the town, insinuated the body was smuggled in by the Jews and clothed in the garments of Eszter Solymosi in order to conceal the crime of ritual murder. Several of the craftsmen who found the body were induced by promises, threats, and cruel treatment to revoke their former testimony and to declare they brought the body to the river and an unknown Jewess had furnished them with the clothes in which they dressed it. The investigation set off a wave of anti-Semitism in Hungary that may have not entirely abated, despite the destruction of Hungarian Jewry.
On July 29 formal accusations were made against fifteen persons: Salamon Schwarz, Ábrahám Buxbaum, Leopold Braun, and Hermann Wollner, of murder; József Scharf, Adolf Jünger, Ábrahám Braun, Sámuel Lustig, Lázár Weisstein, and Emánuel Taub, of voluntary assistance in the crime; Anselm Vogel, Jankel Smilovics, David Hersko, Martin Gross, and Ignác Klein. They were accused of abetting the crime and smuggling the body. The delay in indictments was caused in part by claims that Bary had acted illegally. He conducted his examinations without the aid of the state attorney, wrote the minutes of the proceedings without witnesses, and tortured the accused and suspects.
Móric Scharf was under the control of the district bailiff, who placed him in the custody of the warden Henter. He was entirely under the influence of their adversaries and received instructions as to the testimony to be given by him at the trial.
The accused were defended by Károly Eötvös, journalist and member of the House of Deputies, and by advocates B. Friedmann, Sándor Funták, Max Székely of Budapest, and Ignác Heumann of Nyíregyháza, the seat of the county court before which the case was tried. In a petition to Minister of Justice Pauler, Eötvös protested in vain against the torture tactics of Bary. The Hungarian patriot Lajos Kossuth, in exile in Turin, raised his voice against the blood libel accusation, unworthy of a modern culture, but his voice was drowned out by those of reactionary politicians.
At length, the corpse that had been found in the river was exhumed at the request of the defense, and examined by experts from Budapest. The body was too far decayed to permit identification, but there were no signs of any throat incision. The girl could not have been a victim of ritual slaughter. Further examination showed numerous contradictions in the testimony of the boy Moric Scharf, and the defendants were acquitted.
The case polarized the liberal intelligentsia against the reactionaries, as did the Dreyfus affair in France, but the results were not necessarily a victory for liberalism. The verdict set off a wave of anti-Semitic agitation, including uprisings throughout Hungary, especially in Pozsony and Budapest. Karoly, the lawyer who successfully defended the case, wrote a book about it , A nagy per, published in 1904.
Corfu Blood Libel
At Corfu an eight-year-old girl was murdered on April 12, 1891. Rumor spread that the child was Maria Desylla, a Christian, and that Jews had murdered her and then taken her blood. Her teacher, however, testified, in a document attested by the French consul at Corfu, that the child's name was Rubina Sarda, and that she was Jewish.
Xanten Blood Libel
In 1891, at Xanten in Prussia, a butcher named Adolph Buschhoff, was accused of murdering 5 year old Johann Hegmann, and of drawing his blood and concealing it. However, the two public prosecutors found that the accused could not have committed the deed, and that there was no evidence showing that blood had been concealed.
Hilsner Blood Libel
On April 1, 1899, the body of Agnes Hruza (or Anezka Hruzova), a 19 year old seamstress, nineteen years old, was found in the forest near the town of Polna, Bohemia, with a gash in her throat. Several vagrants were accused of the murder including the 23 year old Leopold Hilsner, a man of limited intelligence and also, apparently, limited physical ability. Though it was shown that he was too weak to have committed the murders alone, he was sentenced to death by the court at Kuttenberg for conspiring in the murder, in an atmosphere of intimidation. No codefendants were named. The public prosecutor, Schneider-Swoboda, and the advocate, Dr. Baxa, believed that a ritual murder was involved, though Agnes, like Eszter was too old and of the wrong sex. But the medical faculty of the Czech University of Prague showed that no blood was missing.
The Czech patriot Tomas Masaryk took up the case and succeeded in getting a new trial. Meanwhile Hilsner was frightened into implicating two other vagrants, Joshua Erbmann and Solomon, Wassermann as those who had assisted him. The were absolved, as one had been in jail and the other could prove that he was visiting poor houses. Meanwhile Hilsner was accused of killing a second girl, Marie Klimova, who had disappeared July 17, 1898. A body was found October 27 in the same forest. In October 1900, Hilsner was condemned a second time by the court at Pisek, this time for both murders. This decision was again appealed, but it was upheld on May, 1901, by the Court of Appeals at Vienna. The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the emperor, and on March 24, 1918, he was pardoned by Karl I of Austria. Hilsner died in 1928. The actual murderers were never found.
Kishinev Blood Libel and Pogrom
On February of 1903, near Kishinev, Bessarabia (now Chisinau, Moldava), in the town of Dubossary, in what was then the southwestern part of the Russian empire, a peasant found the corpse of 14-year old Mikhail Rybachenko, bruised and covered with stab wounds, in a garden. The murder fuelled wild rumors that he had been killed by local Jews in need of his Christian blood to prepare their matzot.
Agents of the Ministry of the Interior and high Russian officials of the Bessarabian administration helped to spread the rumors, evidently with approval or under the direction of the minister of the interior, V. Plehve, though this has been denied. They had been active in anti-Jewish agitation before. A poisonous anti-Jewish campaign was led by Pavel. Krushevan, publisher of the Bessarabian newspaper Bessarabets, who incited the population through a constant stream of journalistic invective. Some of the most virulent articles were penned by local police chief, Levendall. The newspaper Ceem (World) likewise printed allegations about the blood libel. It was later proved that the child was murdered by his relatives. An additional suicide by a Christian girl in a Jewish mental institution helped to fuel the furor.
A pogrom began on April 6, 1903. During three days of rioting, according to official statistics, 49 Jews were murdered and more than 500 were injured, some of them seriously. 700 houses were looted and destroyed and 600 businesses and shops were looted. The total property loss was estimated at 2,500,000 gold rubles, and about 2,000 families were left homeless. Both Russians and Romanians joined in the riots. Russians were sent in from other towns and the students of the theological seminaries and the secondary schools and colleges played a leading role. Police and soldiers did nothing. The Hebrew poet Chaim Nachman Bialik commemorated the riots in his poem, "Be-Ir ha-Haregah" ("In the City of Death"). The poem became a staple of Zionist culture, literature and ideology, and the poem became a way to symbolize and focus on the issue of Jewish helplessness in the Diaspora. A second pogrom took place in Kishinev in 1905. Self defense efforts were only slightly more successful in saving lives.
Shiraz Blood Libel and Pogrom
The blood libel and pogrom that took place in Shiraz, Iran, in Ocotber,1910, is one of the few recorded Muslim-instigated blood libels, though it is probably not the only instance. The blood libel was only a pretext, since no child had died at all. About 30 Jews were murdered and all 260 houses of the Jewish quarter were completely looted and destroyed.
For details, see Shiraz Pogrom and Blood Libel
Beilis Blood Libel
On March 12, 1911, in Kiev, Ukraine, 13-year-old Andrei Yushchinsky disappeared on his way to school. Eight days later his mutilated body was discovered in a cave near a local brick factory. A lamplighter testified that the boy had been kidnapped by a Jew. A non-observant Jew, Menachem Mendel Beilis, who was a foreman at the brick factory, was arrested July 21. Beilis was imprisoned for 2 years while the Russian press published torrents of anti-Semitic accusations against the Jews community in general. An honest police officer, Nikolay Krasovsky, was fired for persisting in his efforts to determine the truth. Leading Russian figures including Maxim Gorky and Lev Tolstoy spoke out for Beilis.
The trial took place September 25 through October 28, 1913. The jury included no educated people, and seven of its twelve members were members of the "Black Hundreds" anti-semitic organization (Union of the Russian People). Professor Sikorski of Kiev State University, father of Igor Sikorsky, inventor of the helicopter, a medical psychologist, testified as an expert witness that this was a case of ritual murder. An additional expert that the government called was father Justinas Pranaitis, a priest who had done a "scientific" study of ritual murder, which the largely ignorant jury was inclined to believe. Nonetheless, Beilis was well defended. His lawyers succeeded in showing that Pranaitis was a charlatan who did not have the intimate knowledge of the Talmud that he claimed. Alexander Glagolev, a Russian Orthodox philosopher and professor at the Kiev Theological Seminary testified that eating of blood was forbidden in Jewish law. The lamplighter admitted that he had been "confused" (primed) by the police, and Beilis was acquitted.
The police officer Krasovsky continued his investigation on his own initiative. He was assisted by colleagues from the Kiev Police Department. They found the actual killers of Yushchinsky, professional criminals, one of whose sons had been a friend of Yuschinsky's.
Beilis emigrated with his family to Palestine, but after World War I, in 1920, he emigrated to the United States. He died in 1934.
Blood Libel in the USA
There have been several cases of false murder or violence accusations against Jews in the United States, including the Phagan case in Atlanta Georgia in 1912 and the recent case of Tawana Brawley, but there was probably only one real ritual murder accusation. It took place in Massena N.Y. in 1928. Massena is a town on the Canadian border. It had a population of 8,000 with 19 Jewish families.
On September 22, 1928, two days before Yom Kippur, four-year-old Barbara Griffiths went for a walk and got lost. After searchers did not find her, a Greek immigrant apparently initiated the that the girl had been kidnapped and killed by the town's Jews for a religious ritual associated with Yom Kippur. The following day, the state police questioned Morris Goldberg, a Jew raised in a non-Jewish orphanage, with little knowledge of Jewish tradition. They they questioned Rabbi Berel Brennglass of the town's Adath Israel synagogue. The State Police Officer asked, “Can you give any information whether your people in the Old Country offer human sacrifices?” and “Was there ever a time when the Jewish people used human blood?”
Brennglass became angry. Meanwhile, the girl turned up safe and sound. The mayor of Massena apologized, but anti-Semitic townspeople persisted in believing that the girl had been kidnapped for ritual murder and that only the fact that she was found in time foiled the evil Jewish plot.ref
Blood Libel and Pogrom in Kielce, Poland
The Kielce pogrom against Polish Jewish Holocaust survivors was sparked by a blood libel, and was actively assisted by local authorities. About 200 Jews, the remnants of Kielce's Jewish population, had returned to the town. A father and his son falsely reported that the boy had been kidnapped by the Jews, and that the Jews had kidnapped and killed a number of children. Though no children were missing, the Poles stormed a Zionist building where the bodies of these children were supposedly kept in the cellar. The building had no cellar. The police and army spread rumors of the blood libel. About 40 Jews were killed. The pogrom helped to hasten the departure of Polish Jews for Palestine. Polish authorities are generally reluctant to discuss this pogrom, and anti-Zionists insist that the only reason Polish Jews left Poland is because of an anti-Semitism scare supposedly created by Zionists.
See main article: Kielce pogrom and blood libel
Blood Libel in Russia, 2005
In 2005, about 20 members of the Russian Duma alleged in an anti-Semitic letter that Jews had committed ritual murders in the past, and urged action against the Jews. However, the letter provoked a vigorous protest and was withdrawn. No specific contemporary case was involved, but the incident illustrated the persistence of this vile superstition.
1. From The Life and Miracles of, St William of Norwich, by Thomas of Monmouth, with an introduction, translation and notes by Augustus Jessopp and Montague Rhodes James (Cambridge University Press, 1896) "Chapter VI: The Legend" (pp. lxii-lxxix), by M.R. James. Currently on the Web here: users.globalnet.co.uk/~pardos/ArchiveWilliam.html
Synonyms and alternate spellings:
Hebrew/Arabic pronunciation and transliteration conventions:
'H - ('het) a guttural sound made deep in the throat. To Western ears it may sound like the "ch" in loch. In Arabic there are several letters that have similar sounds. Examples: 'hanukah, 'hamas, 'haredi. Formerly, this sound was often represented by ch, especially in German transliterations of Hebrew. Thus, 'hanukah is often rendered as Chanuka for example.
ch - (chaf) a sound like "ch" in loch or the Russian Kh as in Khruschev or German Ach, made by putting the tongue against the roof of the mouth. In Hebrew, a chaf can never occur at the beginning of a word. At the beginning of a word, it has a dot in it and is pronounced "Kaf."
u - usually between oo as in spoon and u as in put.
a- sounded like a in arm
ah- used to represent an a sound made by the letter hey at the end of a word. It is the same sound as a. Haganah and Hagana are alternative acceptable transliterations.
'a-notation used for Hebrew and Arabic ayin, a guttural ah sound.
o - close to the French o as in homme.
th - (taf without a dot) - Th was formerly used to transliterate the Hebrew taf sound for taf without a dot. However in modern Hebrew there is no detectable difference in standard pronunciation of taf with or without a dot, and therefore Histadruth and Histadrut, Rehovoth and Rehovot are all acceptable.
q- (quf) - In transliteration of Hebrew and Arabic, it is best to consistently use the letter q for the quf, to avoid confusion with similar sounding words that might be spelled with a kaf, which should be transliterated as K. Thus, Hatiqva is preferable to Hatikva for example.
This site is a part of the Zionism and Israel on the Web Project
This work and individual entries are copyright © 2005 by Ami Isseroff and Zionism and Israel Information Center and may not reproduced in any form without permission unless explicitly noted otherwise. Individual entries may be cited with credit to The Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Zionism and Israel
ZioNation - Zionism-Israel Web Log Zionism & Israel News Israel: like this, as if Bible Bible Quotes History of Zionism Zionism FAQ Zionism Israel Center Maps of Israel Jew Israel Advocacy Zionism and its Impact Israel Christian Zionism Site Map