Scrapbookpages Blog

January 19, 2012

The Holocaust of 1298 in Germany

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: — furtherglory @ 9:16 am

Today’s American students might have trouble understanding why the German people all of a sudden turned against the Jews in 1933 under the leadership of that madman Adolf Hitler.  The German Jews were completely innocent, so why were they suddenly persecuted for no reason?

Actually, the persecution of the Jews in Germany, and in other countries in Europe, had already been going on way back in the 13th century.  On June 25, 1298, in the German city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, ordinary citizens of the city committed mass murder, killing and burning their Jewish neighbors.

Memorial in Rothenburg ob der Tauber shows Jews being engulfed by flames

The photo above shows part of the Jewish memorial in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which has a sculpture that shows the Jews being engulfed by flames. The inscription on the memorial says that the Jews were burned in a fire ignited by the inhabitants of the city.  Apparently, the Jews had sought refuge at the Castle, but were attacked there by an angry mob; it is not exactly clear to me whether the Jews were killed and then burned, or burned alive.

Jews had been living in Rothenburg since 1180.  You can read about the famous Rabbi Meir ben Baruch of Rothenburg ob der Tauber here.  So what happened in June 1298 that got the Germans so riled up?

The story goes that, in 1298, after more than fifty years of peaceful co-existence between the Jews and the Germans in Rothenburg, there was a series of uprisings in Germany that were led by an “impoverished nobleman” named Rindfliesh, who was from the city of Röttingen.

According to my tour guide, Rindfleish started rumors about Jewish ritual murder and the desecration of Christian consecrated communion hosts because he was unable to pay back a loan from a Jewish money lender. Rindfleish instigated riots in 146 communities in Franconia between 1296 and 1298, including his own city of Röttingen where 21 Jews were killed on April 20, 1298. In nearby Nürnberg, there were 728 Jews killed in 1298 in what is today called the “Rindfleish persecutions.”

Memorial for the murdered Jews of Rothenburg

Only two years after the Holocaust of 1298, the Jews returned to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, but there were more uprisings in 1336, 1338, and 1342 in which the Jews were murdered or driven from the city. In 1348, the Jews were murdered or driven out of Rothenburg ob der Tauber again because of accusations that they had started an epidemic of the Bubonic Plague by throwing diseased bodies into the city wells. In 1349, Jews were burned at the stake in an attack that was organized by a congregation in a Catholic church. There were similar attacks on the Jews in Nürnberg and Frankfurt.  The Jews who were driven out of Germany went to Poland, an impoverished country, which welcomed them.

The words on the Jewish memorial at Rothenburg

One might ask why the Jews kept returning to Rothenburg ob der Tauber when it was clear that their lives were in danger there. In those years, the Jews were persecuted everywhere in Europe and they were eventually expelled from every country, starting with England in the year 1290 when King Edward I ordered all the Jews to leave, after an accusation of ritual murder.

At that time, Germany was a collection of states, loosely connected with each other in the Holy Roman Empire, but without a strong federal government which could have officially expelled the Jews from every city and state. After each uprising in Rothenburg ob der Tauber and other places in Europe, the citizens eventually allowed the Jews to return because they had to rely on Jewish money lenders when they needed to borrow money, since this occupation was forbidden to Christians.

The persecution of the Jews in Europe continued and in 1511, the Jews in Rothenburg ob der Tauber were forced to wear a yellow badge on their clothing to identify themselves as Jews. The Jews were finally driven out of the city for good in 1520, at which time Christians were allowed to become money lenders.

In 1871, the German states were united into one country and the Jews were given the same civil rights as other citizens; in 1875 a new Jewish community was established by 8 families who moved to Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

In 1933 when Adolf Hitler came to power, the persecution of the Jews in Germany began again. On October 10, 1938, the last 17 Jews in Rothenburg ob der Tauber were driven out of the city by the local citizens; their fate is unknown.

The photo below was taken in the Jewish Museum in Berlin. The first thing that visitors see in the exhibit area upstairs in the Museum is this painting of a Catholic who was canonized a saint after being murdered in the 13th century in England. The text explains that this person was allegedly killed in a “ritual murder” and the Jews were accused of the crime. Allegations of this kind, which the Jews deny, are referred to today as “blood libel.”

Painting in the Jewish Museum in Berlin

17 Comments »

  1. Rothenburg ob der Tauber
    The Rintfleisch pogrom or persecution is referred to the one in 1298, particularly in Franconia which perpetrated the mass murder of Jews.
    There were rumors of desecration of the host in the small town of Röttingen. A group of “Jew Killers ” went under the command of “nobilis Rintfleusch” or “King Rintfleisch” in Franconia and adjacent areas and massacred the local Jewish communities. On 20 April 1298 they burnt the Jewish citizens of Röttlingen at the stake. Rintfleisch, referred to in some sources, either as an impoverished knight or a butcher, announced that he had received from heaven a personal message and was appointed to the destroyer of all Jews .
    Thus some five thousand Jews were murdered of the Jewish communities in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Würzburg (July 24, 1298), Nördlingen, Heideck, Bamberg and Nuremberg (August 1, 1298) .The names of many of murdered Jews are listed in the Nuremberg Historiae Memorabile.(Memorial Book)
    The Jewish community of Regensburg and Augsburg, were protected by the magistrates of those cities.
    King Albert I, had Rintfleisch arrested and eventually hanged.The cities in which Jews were killed, were sentenced to pay fines to the king.

    Comment by Herbert Stolpmann — January 19, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

    • Thank you very much for this information. I would like to add your comment to my website page on the Rothenburg ob der Tauber section that has the photos of the Jewish Memorial. I will credit you as the source of the information.

      Comment by furtherglory — January 20, 2012 @ 7:16 am

      • FG
        Thank you, following is a brief history and further background material:
        Rothenburg ob der Tauber:
        Jews were present in the early 12th century, occupying a Jewish quarter with a synagogue and cemetery and restricted to the occupation of money-lending. Under R. Meir ben Barukh (the “Maharam”; 1220-1293), the outstanding scholarly authority of the age and head of the local yeshiva, the community became a religious center for Bavarian Jewry and beyond. Persecutions in the 1280s led many Jews in Germany to leave for Eretz Israel with R. Barukh at their head. He was arrested on the way by Emperor Rudolf and imprisoned at Ensisheim in Alsace, where he died, refusing to be ransomed so as not to create a precedent. In the Rindfleisch massacres of 1298 the entire community of over 450 was slaughtered. The renewed community was again wiped out in the Black Death persecutions of 1348-49. A third community was expelled in 1397 on the charge of well poisoning and for the last time in 1519-20 at the instigation of a local cleric.
        The modern community was founded in the 1870s and grew to 115 in 1900 (total 7,923). The 45 Jews remaining in 1933 left by 1938, most for other German cities
        PS: I did take a guided tour in 1953, but this aspect nor the memorial plaques were not mentioned and could have been erected at a later stage

        Comment by Herbert Stolpmann — January 23, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

      • F.G. A late entry:
        The first High Commissioner to post war Germany was John J.McCloy, who had apparently visited Rothenburg ob der Tauber as a student or has heard about it that it that it was one of the few remaining cities with remnants since the 13th century and had no military targets, it is said of him that he saved the city from bombing. Furthermore during the Auschwitz Bombing debate he declared In the early 1970s, he himself “could no more order a bombing attack on Auschwitz than order a raid on Berlin”. However, while in the field with General Jacob L. Devers, advancing eastward through Germany in early 1945, a “suggestion” from McCloy resulted in Devers’ Army bypassing and sparing the historic Romantic Road town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. For his action, McCloy was later made an honorary citizen of the town.

        Comment by Herbert Stolpmann — March 18, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

  2. Yes, there is such a chamber, letter C, in official report as IV which has one door which open into chamber, and one door which open out. This room has also window (photo is on your website too) this chamber has shape of letter L. Doors are wooden.

    You can see David Cole to operate this ridiculous absurd “homicidal gas chamber” door in chamber IV/C

    Here is photo of gaschamber with door which really opens into gas chamber (the same door from Cole´s video)
    http://img190.imageshack.us/img190/9571/77828016.jpg

    Yes, it will be better to correct it, because the corpses would block the door which open inward, but this is not issue of gas chamber A/III with that big sign inside, but this is problem of gas chamber C/IV

    Comment by Bob — January 19, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

    • Sorry, something is wrong, I didn´t know that videos are directly streamed here. Move slider to 11m 58s to see door into gas chamber.

      Comment by Bob — January 19, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

      • Thanks for pointing this out. I do remember that door. There is a wooden floor on the other side of the door that I recognize. I also remember the L shape of the rooms. Which room on Pressac’s diagram is the room that has another small room inside it where an SS man allegedly stood and watched the prisoners die?

        Comment by furtherglory — January 20, 2012 @ 7:23 am

        • No problem, so this door are the one which opens into gas chamber, door on your webpages don´t open into gas chamber.

          B1 on pressac´s diagram has that small unprotected window only with grid from which SS man allegedly observed gassing, in this room, there were stored bottles, this observation room is on Pressac plan labeled as “appentis” with two small dots.

          Comment by Bob — January 20, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

          • O.K. I will try to make changes to my website tomorrow. Thanks a million for your help.

            Comment by furtherglory — January 20, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

    • I remember this TV show, way back in 1994. I had only just begun to study the Holocaust in 1993 and I did not know much about it yet. I didn’t understand what Bradley and David were talking about. Phil was obviously not very well informed either. He didn’t know what questions to ask.

      When I went to Majdanek in 1998, I was the only tourist there that day. My guide was annoyed with me because I was not emotional. I was looking too closely at doors and other details like the window in the gas chamber, and she wanted to hurry me out of the gas chambers so that we could go to the huge memorial that is filled with the ashes of the victims.

      Comment by furtherglory — January 20, 2012 @ 7:32 am

      • Phil was very bad, Phil was numerously proved as liar in this show and he evidently couldn´t correctly adress Cole´s arguments, quite interesting to see it, no wonder that Cole had to leave.

        Michael Shermer also played bad part in this show and proved how weak is holocaust story. According to Bradley Smith, In backstage Michael Shermer instructed survivors to not say something “crazy”, but he propably failed since the human soap was brought up by some survivors. Bradley Smith wrote short report on codoh forum, you can see it here.

        http://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4692&p=30637&hilit=I+just+watched+the+Phil+D.+video+being+discussed+here.&sid=37455219d2ab9eea5854a61a39697896#p30637

        Comment by Bob — January 20, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

      • I am not aware of any forensic report on that ashes, is there some? The ashes are visible and look like the ashes?

        Quite odd behavior of guide, but propably no surprise since these chambers are really ridiculous and they propably dont want let the people inspect them more closely.

        Comment by Bob — January 20, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

        • The ashes in the Memorial were taken from a compost pile. The Germans had allegedly put the ashes into a compost pile, from which they were recovered after the war. The ashes look like compost that is ready to spread on the cabbages in a garden.

          Comment by furtherglory — January 20, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

  3. May I suggest something? I came across this
    http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Majdanek/Majdanek02.html

    Photo and its caption.
    http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Majdanek/GasChamberPhotos/GasChamberEntrance.jpg

    I would like to correct it since this is not true I think, these door open outward and not inward, you were propably mistaken by the blue stains in the right lower corner of the photo, but this is result of cyanide using since cyanide can penetrate through the wall.

    Here is plan from Pressac, this chamber is marked by A
    http://img838.imageshack.us/img838/5149/40664948.jpg

    According to legend, this part was even constructed after the war, the buildings were connected.

    I am sorry, to write it here, I don´t know how to report this mistake to you.

    Comment by Bob — January 19, 2012 @ 11:41 am

    • I checked out the page that you linked to. I wrote that the door opened “into” the gas chamber. I did not write that the door opened “inward.” It is clear from the photo that the door opens outward. I will change the wording to make it clear that the door into the gas chambers does not open inward.

      I remember that the interior door to the gas chambers was in a room next to the shower room. This is probably Room C on Pressac’s diagram. The first gas chamber room looked like Room A on Pressac’s diagram, but there was no wall between Room A and Room B1. The window was in Room B1.

      Comment by furtherglory — January 19, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

      • But this door don´t open into gas chamber, this is the problem, door opens clearly out and not into gas chamber, see plan, this small room from which you took the photo is not gas chamber and nobody claims that gassing took place here, alleged chamber is only room with the big sign.

        No, this is room A, room C is the one which has glass window, wooden doors, one opens inward, one outside to shower. Also labeled as Chamber IV according to report after the war.

        Comment by Bob — January 19, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

        • I did not take the photos of the Majdanek gas chamber that are on my website. My tour guide was rushing me through the gas chamber as fast as she could. This was in 1998 and I was not using a digital camera that was a point-and-shoot camera. My camera was one that had to be focused manually and the settings done manually. I did not have time to take photos in the gas chamber. It has been almost 14 years since I saw Majdanek and I don’t remember it that well. I will try to straighten out the text on my website to make it more clear. I do recall that there was a door that opened inward.

          Comment by furtherglory — January 19, 2012 @ 1:03 pm


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