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Rindfleisch Pogroms

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Rindfleisch (or Rintfleisch) was a Franconian knight, who instigated the massacre of up to 100,000 Jews in Southern and Central Germany during a civil war between Adolph of Nassau and Albert I of Nassau. Rindfleisch may have been heavily in debt to Jewish moneylenders.ref Rindfleisch claimed a divine mission to exterminate "the accursed race of the Jews" following a rumor of desecration of the host. The "desecration of the host" was a medieval superstition which maintained that Jews defiled the communion wafer with blood. It is now believed that the wafers were attacked by a brownish-red fungus that looked like blood.

Rindfleisch and victims, Hartmann Schedel, Liber chronicarum, Nuremberg, 1493.

The massacres followed a series of blood libels in Mainz (1281, 1283) Munich (1285) and Oberwesel (1287). In Munich, Jews were burned alive in 1290. Likewise, there was an accusation of desecration of the host in Paris in 1290. The massacres began on April 20, 1298 in the little town of Rottingen (also Roettingen, Rothingen), where 21 Jews were burned at the stake by Rindfleisch's mob as revenge for the alleged desecration of the host. Rindfleisch then led his mob on a rampage of slaughter and pillage. Massacres took place in Rothenburg, Nuremburg and Wurzburg.

In the massacres, 146 Jewish communities were attacked and often destroyed in southern Germany. In Wurzburg, the Jewish community was annihilated on July 24. In Nuremberg, Jews took refuge in the citadel, which was attacked on August 1, 1298; 628 victims were recorded in the Nuremberg Memorbuch for 1298. (Ahituv, Shmuel, The Jewish People: An Illustrated History, Continuum, 2006, p. 251 [according to the Encyclopedia Judaica, the number was 728]).

The origins of the massacres in the area of Wurzburg may be due to the action of the Kraft I of Hohenlohe. According to the chronicle of the Dominican Rudolph of Schlettstadt in Alsace, The Historiae memorabiles, Kraft owed the Jewish moneylenders a large sum. They petitioned to have him enjoined from harming the Jews of Wurzburg. According to Rudolph, the Jews entered the Weikersheim Church on Maundy Thursday and desecrated it, They flung Hosts (communion wafers) on the alter and abused them with knives. The hosts, relates the Dominican, bled real blood and cried out "Eli, Eli, Lama Sabbachtani" ("My Lord, my Lord, why hast thought forsaken me" - Christ's last words on the cross) Kraft went to the Bishop of Wurzburg with this tale, and the Bishop informed him, "You know the penalty for killing a man, how much greater for killing Our Lord, Jesus Christ, son of Mary..." With this sanction, Kraft and his followers joyfully proceeded to burn every Jew they could find, which the good Dominican Rudolph accounted a very good thing. (Rubin, Miri. Gentile Tales: The Narrative Assault on Late Medieval Jews. Yale Univ Pr; 1999, p 51-52)

The Jews of Augsburg and Regensburg were protected by the intervention of their municipalities. From Franconia the massacres spread to Swabia, Hesse, Thuringia and Heilbronn.

Albert I of Austria declared a Landfriede (peace) and warned against further attacks. Nonetheless, Jews were subsequently massacred at Renchen in 1301 and at Gotha and Weissensee in 1303. (Jewish Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia Judaica and sources as noted).1

Ami Isseroff

March 29, 2009

Synonyms and alternate spellings:

Further Information: pogrom

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.

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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

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