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Religious Tolerance logo


Anti semitism:


An overview of the persecution
of Jews for the past 2,000 years

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I would like to dedicate this article in memory of Renya Sieger, born 1936-OCT-10 to Jewish parents in Cracow, Poland. Renya disappeared into the death camps, leaving no trace -- one of over a million Jewish children systematically murdered during the Shoah, the Nazi Holocaust. Tens of thousands of Romani (Gypsy) children were also murdered.

In 2000-MAY, I had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Tolerance in Hollywood CA. While there I picked up one of many free information sheets, each of which described a different victim of the Holocaust. I was startled to see that the sheet described a girl born in 1936, within days of myself. Renya probably never made it to her sixth birthday before her life was snuffed out, solely because of the religious faith of the family into which she was born.

She had barely begun to live.

A collection of stories of over seven dozen children who were victims of the Nazis is available online at: https://www.fold3.com/


bullet"Nazi anti-Judaism was the work of godless, anti-Christian criminals. But it would not have been possible without the almost two thousand years' pre-history of 'Christian' anti-Judaism..." Hans Küng 1
bullet"The Jews are a nervous people. Nineteen centuries of Christian love have taken a toll." Benjamin Disraeli
bullet"Only in our remembrance and open discussion is there a chance, a hope, that another Holocaust will never happen." Louis Weber, publisher of "The Holocaust Chronicle" 2


The following essays list many mass murders of Jews, by both ancient Romans and by Christians, during the period 70 to 1946 CE.

Unfortunately, one biblical theme and one biblical passage have been combined to justify Christian persecution of Jews that lasted into the mid-20th century:

  • The key biblical theme is the concept that sin, guilt, and punishment can ethically be transmitted from a guilty person to an innocent person. This is called scapegoating, and is seen in various passages of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. The Bible discusses how some Jewish leaders convinced the Roman Army an political authorities to execute Jesus.

  • The key passage is in Matthew 27:25: "Then answered all the people and said, 'His blood be on us, and on our children'!" The author of the Gospel of Matthew wrote that the responsibility for the execution of Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus Christ) was willingly accepted by first century CE Jews on behalf of themselves, and their next generation of children.

Together, the theme and passage were interpreted by many Christians as implying that all Jews were equally responsible for the execution of Jesus. This included the Jews who were present when Pilate sentence Jesus to be executed, other Jews elsewhere in first century CE Jerusalem, the Jews in the rest of the Roman Empire at the time, and all of the approximately 80 generations of Jews from that time until the present. Almost all of them were not alive when Jesus was sentenced to death by the Roman governor, and executed by the Roman army.

Rationally, this makes no sense. A person obviously cannot be held responsible for what some distant ancestor did almost 20 centuries ago. But it somehow made a lot of sense to many Christians. Even today, the term "Christ killer" is occasionally hurled at Jews.

Continual past attempts at Jewish extermination need to be closely examined and understood by everyone, in order to prevent future religiously based genocides and mass crimes against humanity. Otherwise, there is no hope for peace in the future.

The religious intolerance that were responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews in the past differ little in principle from the emotions that caused recent incidents of mass murder, crimes against humanity, and genocide. For example:

bullet The mass murder of 7 to 8 thousand Muslims by Christians in Kosovo during 1995.
bullet The genocide of Muslims and Roman Catholics perpetrated by Serbian Orthodox followers in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the late 20th century.
bullet The extermination of one third of the Roman Catholic inhabitants of East Timor by Muslims during 1999.
bullet A mass shooting that has been called the worst anti-semitic attack in U.S. history: Robert Bowers allegedly killed 10 members of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA on 2018-OCT-27. More details.

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Topics covered in this section:

bulletAnti-Judaism: Persecution of followers of the Jewish religion:
bullet 70 to 1200 CE

 1201 to 1800 CE

bulletAnti-semitism: Persecution of Jews along racial lines:
bullet1800 CE to the present time


Related essays in this web site:

bulletBlood libel, ritual murder, host desecration and other anti-Judaic myths and hoaxes
bulletAn article donated by Contributing Editor Susan Humphreys: About "Yes, But..." responses like: "Yes .... is horrible. But they ...."

Recommended Books:

bullet book cover Marilyn J. Harran & John Roth, "The Holocaust Chronicle: A history in words and pictures." is a truly remarkable book about the Nazi Holocaust. Obtain a copy. You will never be the same after having read it. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store  The book has also been published on the Internet at: http://www.holocaustchronicle.org/
bullet book cover Dominic Crossan, "Who killed Jesus: Exposing the roots of anti-Semitism in the Gospel story of the death of Jesus," HarperCollins (1996) This book concerns anti-Judaism in early Christianity. See reviews/order it
bullet book cover Peter Gay, "My German Question: Growing up in Nazi Berlin," Yale, (1998) See reviews/order it
bullet book cover William Nicholls, "Christian Antisemitism: A History of Hate," Aronson, (1995). See reviews/order it
bullet book cover Dan Cohn-Sherbok, "The Crucified Jew: 20 centuries of Christian Anti-Semitism," Eerdmans (1992). See reviews/order it


  1. Hans Küng, "On Being a Christian,"  Doubleday, Garden City NY, (1976), Page 169.
  2. Marilyn Harran, et al., "The Holocaust Chronicle: A history in words and pictures," Publications Internatinal, (2000). This is a truly remarkable book about the Nazi Holocaust. Obtain a copy. You will never be the same after having read it. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store  The book has also been published on the Internet at: http://www.holocaustchronicle.org/
  3. If you are ever in Hollywood, CA, be certain to visit the Museum of Tolerance. See: http://www.wiesenthal.com/

Site navigation: Home > Laws & religion > Genocide > here

or: Home > Religious violence > Genocide > here

or: Home > World religions > Judaism > here

or: Home > Christianity > Christian relations > here

Copyright © 1997 to 2020 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2020-JAN-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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