1205: Pope Innocent III wrote to the archbishops of Sens and Paris that
"the Jews, by their own guilt, are consigned to perpetual servitude because they
crucified the Lord...As slaves rejected by God, in whose death they wickedly conspire,
they shall by the effect of this very action, recognize themselves as the slaves of those
whom Christ's death set free..."
1215: The Fourth Lateran Council approved canon laws requiring
that "Jews and Muslims shall wear a special dress." They also had to
wear a badge in the form of a ring. This was to enable them to be easily distinguished
from Christians. This practice later spread to other countries.
1227: The Synod of Narbonne required Jews to wear an
oval badge. This requirement was reinstalled during the 1930's by Hitler, who changed the
oval badge to a Star of David.
1229: The Spanish inquisition starts. Later, in 1252, Pope Innocent IV
authorizes the use of torture by the Inquisitors.
1236: Pope Gregory ordered that church leaders in England,
France, Portugal and Spain confiscate Jewish books on the first Saturday
of Lent. 1
of the archdiocese in Mainz ordered Jews to wear yellow badges."
1261: Duke Henry III of Brabant, Belgium, stated in his will that
"Jews...must be expelled from Brabant and totally annihilated so that not a single
one remains, except those who are willing to trade, like all other tradesmen, without
money-lending and usury." 2
1267: The Synod of Vienna ordered Jews to wear horned hats.
Thomas Aquinas said that Jews should live in perpetual servitude.
1290: Jews are exiled from England. About 16,000
left the country.
1298: Jews were persecuted in Austria, Bavaria and Franconia. 140
Jewish communities were destroyed; more than 100,000 Jews were killed over a 6 month
1306: 100,000 Jews are exiled from France. They left with only the
clothes on their backs, and food for only one day.
1320: 40,000 French shepherds went to Palestine on the
Shepherd Crusade. On the way, 140 Jewish communities were destroyed.
1321: In Guienne, France, Jews were accused of having incited criminals
to poison wells. 5,000 Jews were burned alive, at the stake.
1338: The councilors of Freiburg banned the performance of
anti-Jewish scenes from the town's passion play because of the lethal
bloody reactions against Jews which followed the performances. 9
1374: Anepidemic of possession broke out in the lower
Rhine region of what is now Germany. People were seen "dancing, jumping and
[engaging in] wild raving." This was triggered by enthusiastic revels on St.
John's Day - an Christianized version of an ancient Pagan seasonal day of celebration
which was still observed by the populace. The epidemic spread throughout the Rhine and in
much of the Netherlands and Germany. Crowds of 500 or more dancers would be overcome
together. Exorcisms were tried, but failed. Pilgrimages to the shrine of St. Vitus were
tried, but this only seemed to exacerbate the problem. Finally, the rumor spread that God
was angry because Christians had been excessively tolerant towards the Jews. God had
cursed Europe as He did Saul when he showed mercy towards God's enemies in the Old
Testament. Jews "were plundered, tortured and murdered by tens of thousands."
The epidemic finally burned itself out two centuries later, in the late 16th century.
1391 : Jewish persecutions begin in Seville and in 70 other Jewish
communities throughout Spain.
1394 : Jews were exiled, for the second time, from France.
1431 +: The Council of Basel"forbade Jews to go to
universities, prohibited them from acting as agents in the conclusion of contracts between
Christians, and required that they attend church sermons." 5
1434: "Jewish men in Augsburg had to sew yellow buttons to
their clothes. Across Europe, Jews were forced to wear a long
undergarment, an overcoat with a yellow patch, bells and tall pointed
yellow hats with a large button on them." 1
1453 : The Franciscan monk, Capistrano, persuaded the King of Poland to
terminate all Jewish civil rights.
1478: Spanish Jews had been heavily persecuted from the 14th century.
Many had converted to Christianity. The Spanish Inquisition was set up by the Church in
order to detect insincere conversions. Laws were passed that prohibited the descendants of
Jews or Muslims from attending university, joining religious orders, holding public
office, or entering any of a long list of professions.
1492 : Jews were given the choice of being baptized as Christians or be
banished from Spain. 300,000 left Spain penniless. Many migrated to Turkey, where
they found tolerance among the Muslims. Others converted to Christianity but often
continued to practice Judaism in secret.
1497: Jews were banished from Portugal. 20 thousand left the country
rather than be baptized as Christians.
1516: The Governor of the Republic of Venice decided that Jews would
be permitted to live only in one area of the city. It was located in the South Girolamo
parish and was called the "Ghetto Novo." This was the first ghetto in
Europe. Hitler made use of the concept in the 1930's.
1523: Martin Luther distributed his essay "That Jesus Was Born a Jew.
" He hoped that large numbers of Jews would convert to Christianity. They didn't, and
he began to write and preach hatred against them. Luther has been condemned in recent
years for being extremely antisemitic. The charge has some merit; however he was probably
typical of most Christians during his era.
1539: A passion play was forbidden in Rome because it
prompted violent attacks against the city's Jewish residents. 9
1540: Jews were exiled from Naples.
1543: In his 20's, Martin Luther, had expected Jews
to convert to Christianity in large numbers. Distressed by their reluctance,
he developed a hatred for Jews, as expressed in his letters to Rev.
Spalatin in 1514, when he was 31 years of age. He wrote:
"I have come to the conclusion that the Jews will
always curse and blaspheme God and his King Christ, as all the prophets
have predicted....For they are thus given over by the wrath of God to
reprobation, that they may become incorrigible, as Ecclesiastes says,
for every one who is incorrigible is rendered worse rather than better
by correction." 6
In 1543, he wrote "On the Jews and their lies, On Shem Hamphoras" :
"...eject them forever from this country. For, as we have
heard, God's anger with them is so intense that gentle mercy will only
tend to make them worse and worse, while sharp mercy will reform them but
little. Therefore, in any case, away with them!...What then shall we Christians do with this damned, rejected race of Jews?
First, their synagogues or churches should be set on fire,...
Secondly, their homes should likewise be broken down and destroyed... They ought to
be put under one roof or in a stable, like Gypsies.
Thirdly, they should be deprived of their prayer books and Talmuds in which such
idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught.
Fourthly, their rabbis must be forbidden under threat of death to teach any more...
Fifthly, passport and traveling privileges should be absolutely forbidden to the
Sixthly, they ought to be stopped from usury. All their cash and valuables of silver
and gold ought to be taken from them and put aside for safe keeping...
Seventhly, let the young and strong Jews and Jewesses be given the flail, the axe,
the hoe, the spade, the distaff, and spindle and let them earn their bread by the sweat of
their noses as in enjoined upon Adam's children...
To sum up, dear princes and nobles who have Jews in your domains, if this advice of
mine does not suit you, then find a better one so that you and we may all be free of this
insufferable devilish burden - the Jews." 7
1550: Jews were exiled from Genoa and Venice.
1555-JUL-12: A Roman Catholic Papal bull, "Cum nimis absurdum," required
Jews to wear badges, and live in ghettos. They were not allowed to own property outside
the ghetto. Living conditions were dreadful: over 3,000 people were forced
to live in about 8 acres of land. Women had to wear a yellow veil or
scarf; men had to wear a piece of yellow cloth on their hat. 8
1582: Jews were expelled from Holland.
1648-9: Chmielnicki Bogdan led an uprising against Polish
rule in the Ukraine. The secondary goal of Bogdan and his followers
was to exterminate all Jews in the country. The massacre began with
the slaughter of about 6,000 Jews in Nemirov. Other major mass murders
occurred in Tulchin, Polonnoye, Volhynia, Bar, Lvov, etc. Jewish
records estimate that a total of 100,000 Jews were murdered and 300 communities
Persecution of Jewish Physicians by the Church:
Medicine in Europe during the Middle Ages found itself restricted by the Christian
Church. The church taught that it was irreligious to seek a natural cure from a physician
when one could obtain supernatural help from a priest. Some church leaders criticized
medical schools because they taught that diseases and disorders came from natural means
and not from the evil efforts of Satan.
With medicine in such ill repute among Christians, much of the leadership by the 10th
century was provided by Jews and Muslim scholars. Jews were largely responsible for
founding the medical Schools at Salerno and Montpellier in the 10th century.