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Old November 2nd, 2011, 05:48 PM   #1

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"The First Holocaust" - Persecution of European Jews during the Crusades


During the build-up for the Second Crusade, amongst the nobility of France and Germany, several charismatic preachers arose, calling for a holy war to capture Damascus from the "Saracens" - most notable of these was Bernard de Clairvaux. But one of his contemporaries in Germany, known simply by the name Ralph, instead preached a message of hatred against his Jewish countrymen - the result was a mass pogrom against the Jews of the Rhineland that has been modernly called "the First Holocaust".

Almost identical slaughters took place before and during the First Crusade. At least one Anglo-Jewish community was harassed and ultimately subjected to mass immolation during King Richard I's absence during the Third Crusade.

What inspired the Crusaders to test their swords on the local Jewish communities? Were Jews associated with the "Saracens", or were they just a regarded as a non-Christian (and therefore easy) target to single out during times of social excitement and upheaval?

Are there any worthy scholarly works on the plight of Europe's Jews during the Crusading period?
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 05:53 PM   #2

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Old November 2nd, 2011, 05:58 PM   #3

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salah ad-Din View Post
During the build-up for the Second Crusade, amongst the nobility of France and Germany, several charismatic preachers arose, calling for a holy war to capture Damascus from the "Saracens" - most notable of these was Bernard de Clairvaux. But one of his contemporaries in Germany, known simply by the name Ralph, instead preached a message of hatred against his Jewish countrymen - the result was a mass pogrom against the Jews of the Rhineland that has been modernly called "the First Holocaust".

Almost identical slaughters took place before and during the First Crusade. At least one Anglo-Jewish community was harassed and ultimately subjected to mass immolation during King Richard I's absence during the Third Crusade.

What inspired the Crusaders to test their swords on the local Jewish communities? Were Jews associated with the "Saracens", or were they just a regarded as a non-Christian (and therefore easy) target to single out during times of social excitement and upheaval?

Are there any worthy scholarly works on the plight of Europe's Jews during the Crusading period?
I would disagree with the use of the term Holocaust, especially with a H. I feel that might be somewhat inappropriate and also misleading. It seems like sloppy history attaching a rather conveneint and emotive 'buzz word' to grab attention.

The short and simple answer is, one must deal with the 'enemies' at home before going on to deal with those abroad. The Jews are a conveniently targetable group within the boundaries of Christendom, against whom anger can easily be stirred up.

There are various works on the plight of Europe's Jews during the Crusades. I suggest looking at the series edited by Setton, A History of the Crusades, Joshua Prawer usualy has alot to say. So does Benjamin Kedar.


Ideology and Royal Power in Medieval France: Kingship, Crusades and the Jews Variorum Collected Studies: Amazon.co.uk: William Chester Jordan: Books
Ideology and Royal Power in Medieval France: Kingship, Crusades and the Jews Variorum Collected Studies: Amazon.co.uk: William Chester Jordan: Books



(picture seems to have no relation to book....curious)

also....

http://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?...ition_id=10072


Tends to be an area often worked on by Israeli historians.

Last edited by DreamWeaver; November 2nd, 2011 at 06:04 PM.
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 06:12 PM   #4

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Because Ive mentioned him like twice this week already, and because its a good and rather influencial book

The Formation of a Persecuting Society: Authority and Deviance in Western Europe 950-1250: Amazon.co.uk: R. I. Moore: Books
The Formation of a Persecuting Society: Authority and Deviance in Western Europe 950-1250: Amazon.co.uk: R. I. Moore: Books



Doesnt deal with Jews specifically, or uniquely but does deal with the mentalities of the people who persecuted them.

also this


The Jews of Medieval Western Christendom: 1000-1500 Cambridge Medieval Textbooks: Amazon.co.uk: Robert Chazan: Books
The Jews of Medieval Western Christendom: 1000-1500 Cambridge Medieval Textbooks: Amazon.co.uk: Robert Chazan: Books

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Old November 3rd, 2011, 11:44 AM   #5
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I've read respected Jewish scholars who lay at least part of the blame for medieval pogroms at the feet of the Jews themselves. Two points are inarguable: the steadfast Jewish refusal to assimilate into their country's mainstream society (irregardless of religion), and their prominence in usury (read, loansharking). True, being of an "alien" religion in Christendom was likely to, as it does today, put you on the bad side of the local yokels, but when you add fuel to the fire by cementing your position as "God's Chosen People", that you are in fact above the hoi polloi (or, "goy polloi", as the case may be), and refusing to socialize with those the Talmud tells you are "beasts in human form", why then you had better learn to expect retribution.

This isn't meant as an antisemitic diatribe, so don't anyone even think of going there. As I said in another thread just today: get all sides of the story first, then make up your own mind as to what really happened way back then; just don't go with the historical wind that happens to be blowing at the moment.
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Old November 3rd, 2011, 12:29 PM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salah ad-Din View Post
During the build-up for the Second Crusade, amongst the nobility of France and Germany, several charismatic preachers arose, calling for a holy war to capture Damascus from the "Saracens" - most notable of these was Bernard de Clairvaux. But one of his contemporaries in Germany, known simply by the name Ralph, instead preached a message of hatred against his Jewish countrymen - the result was a mass pogrom against the Jews of the Rhineland that has been modernly called "the First Holocaust".

Almost identical slaughters took place before and during the First Crusade. At least one Anglo-Jewish community was harassed and ultimately subjected to mass immolation during King Richard Is absence during the Third Crusade.

What inspired the Crusaders to test their swords on the local Jewish communities? Were Jews associated with the "Saracens", or were they just a regarded as a non-Christian (and therefore easy) target to single out during times of social excitement and upheaval?

Are there any worthy scholarly works on the plight of Europe's Jews during the Crusading period?
just a slight correction there, they were not going to capture Damascus but to recapture the city of Edessa at first but they changed it to Damascus once they got to the Levant.

i think its a bit far to call it a holocaust but yet another pogrom in the history of jewish persecution. the crusades was a holy war so it should come as no surprise that the jews suffered much under this as they were close and were used as scapegoats. if it makes you feel any better Sala most of the persecutes were massacred once they came up against people who fought back

my memory is a bit rusty here so perhaps Dreamweaver can fill in the gaps in this but iirc after the jewish persecution in the first crusade they traveled into hungary and there laid siege to a castle only to retreat once a relief force arrived. i can't remember fully what happened to them then i think most of them went home

there was some christian priests as well who tried to protect the jews as best they could
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Old November 3rd, 2011, 02:33 PM   #7
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All medieval persecutions comes down to fight with heathens, pagans.
Reconciliation between states and religions always were only truce in that time.
Then, when something festered lingering hatred between two group, it broke out new war/ clashes. Aftermath new interim reconciliation was set up, until new reason to commence new conflict. Antisemitism came along only in XIX century.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 06:45 AM   #8

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Quote:
my memory is a bit rusty here so perhaps Dreamweaver can fill in the gaps in this but iirc after the jewish persecution in the first crusade they traveled into hungary and there laid siege to a castle only to retreat once a relief force arrived. i can't remember fully what happened to them then i think most of them went home

there was some christian priests as well who tried to protect the jews as best they could
Ibelieve this was once they had actuappy crossed into Annatolia, and were beseiging Nicea (before the main contingents of the 1st Crusade had turned up) go thoroughly beaten and then forced to retire to an old fortification on the coast. From where they were then exttracted by the Byznatines and then went home.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 07:06 AM   #9

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Originally Posted by DreamWeaver View Post
I Believe this was once they had actually crossed into Anatolia, and were besieging Nicea (before the main contingents of the 1st Crusade had turned up) go thoroughly beaten and then forced to retire to an old fortification on the coast. From where they were then extracted by the Byzantines and then went home.
i thought that was peter the Hermit in the peoples crusade, perhaps there were many among them who had been the persecutors of the jews. the princes crusade don't appear to have bothered the jews although Godfrey did extract protection money from them and then not bother to protect them when fanatical locals attacked them.

i can definitely recall some sort of incident in the Kingdom of Hungary when a castle was besieged by people who had been attacking the rhineland jews only for them to run once a hungarian army approached.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 07:11 AM   #10

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Hmm I shall have to go look. My study of the 1st Crusade is slowly receeding, mainly because I deal more with the later 12th and early 13th Centuries.
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