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The Middle Ages

The First Crusade


Pope Urban...



Three Jews...



Jews are seen
burning...



Not only the Jews
themselves...


DURING THE FIRST 700 years of Christendom, Jewish communities in Europe are rarely placed in direct physical danger. But the situation changes when, in 1095, Pope Urbanus calls for a crusade to liberate Jerusalem from the hands of the Muslims.

On their way to Jerusalem, the crusaders leave a track of death and destruction behind in the Jewish communities along the Rhine and Danube. "Because," as they exclaim, "why should we attack the unbelievers in the Holy Land, and leave the infidels in our midst undisturbed ?"

On May 25, 1096, about 800 Jews are murdered in Worms, Germany, while many others choose suicide. In Regensburg, the Jews are thrown into the Danube to be "baptized." In Mainz, Cologne, Prague and many other cities, thousands of Jews are killed and their possessions plundered. During the following hundred years, new crusades are accompanied by massacres and pillage among the Jewish population.

With the crusades, the status of the Jews as second class citizens becomes entrenched in Church dogma and state laws throughout Christian Europe. A period of oppression and insecurity follows that ends only in the 18th century.



Jews, and not the Romans...



A battle between Crusaders...


Map: The Jewish population of Germany in the 10th - 13th centuries.
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