New-York Daily Tribune, an
article dated November 26,
PERSECUTION OF JEWS.
In All Ages and
Countries, Save America and Turkey.
THE REIGN OF TERROR IN RUSSIA.
A riotous mob parading the streets ready to
murder the Jews and plunder their houses.
The recent massacres of Jews at
Odessa, Tomsk, etc., in which thousands of helpless men, women
and children were slaughtered by mobs under the very eyes and
protection of the Czar's police and military, have justly
aroused the protests of every American. The world stands
aghast at the horrors of these massacres, and yet Russia might
well apply to all those who now express horror at her
murderous and atrocious deeds the well-known words: "He that
is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."
Indeed, with the exception of America and, curiously enough,
he realm ruled by the "unspeakable Turk," all civilized
countries are in a greater or less degree guilty of similar
crimes. Jews have been the victims of persecutions by
so-called Christians in all lands and ages. The only unusual
fact about the recent slaughter is that it has taken place at
this sate of the world's civilization. In all other respects
the Odessa massacre is simply a reproduction of the treatment
of Jews by Christians ever since the latter became a religious
body of power sufficient to persecute.
The story of massacre is an old,
old story. For centuries the Jews have wandered, oppressed and
stricken by the brutality and hatred of the followers of Him
who gave up His life to save the world. For centuries they had
to defend themselves against the lawless rapacity and wanton
hostility of the Christian multitude, being robbed and kicked
and cuffed and spat upon like outcasts having no rights and
feelings to respect. Time after time, in course of the passing
centuries, they have been visited with the most awful
manifestations of concentrated ill will on the part of
believers in the Gospel of "peace on earth and good will to
men." Even down to our day, bloodshed and persecution beyond
power to depict have been the Jew's share of fortune since the
tie when the gospel of love began to be preached in the world.
BEGAN EARLY IN CHRISTIAN ERA.
In the year 51 of the Christian
era twenty thousand Israelites were massacred at Jerusalem,
and in the year 69 eighty thousand more were there killed. In
the seventieth year of the first century the capture and
destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans under Titus exceeded in
horror all other records of human suffering. It was the great
annual festival of the Passover, and a million souls were
gathered in the city. The slaughter that raged among this
multitude was enormous. Besides the 1,113,800 Israelites who
on this occasion perished in Palestine, the Greeks killed
fifty thousand in Antioch and fifty thousand more in
Alexandria. In the year 116 again sixty thousand were killed
at Alexandria. In 412 Bishop Cyril of Alexandria, a great
father of the Christian Church, persecuted the Jews, plundered
their possessions and one day expelled every one of them from
In Spain the Jews have had
numerous colonies since the time of Hadrian, but even eight
centuries before the establishment of the Spanish Inquisition,
their fortunes were confiscated and their bodies were
tortured. In the seventh century again they were persecuted
and massacred, and 90,000 of them were converted by force to
the religion of love. In the year 1066 4,000 were killed. In
the persecutions of the thirteenth century 12,000 Jews were
killed in various Spanish cities. By the middle of the
fourteenth century, the general hatred against the Jews had
spread alarmingly in all countries of Europe, in consequence
of the terror which the Black Death caused throughout that
portion of the globe. The bloody persecution was actually
begun at Seville in 1391. These were outbursts of priestly and
popular violence, and had no sooner started in that city that
Cordova, Valavera, Catalonia and the island of Majorca
followed in its train; immense numbers of Jews being murdered
and wholesale thefts being perpetrated on their possessions by
the religious rabble. The number of enforced baptisms is
reckoned at no less than 200,000, and the killed numbered more
TERROR OF INQUISITION.
In 1412-14 the Jews had to endure
another bloody persecution throughout the Iberian Peninsula,
and by the middle of the fifteenth century we read nothing in
their history but persecution, violent conversion, massacre
and the tortures of the Inquisition. From the period of its
introduction in its later form in Spain (1481) to the time of
its abrogation (1808) the Inquisition, according to the
estimate of Liorente, once its secretary had burned alive
31,912 Jews, had burned in effigy 17,659, and had inflicted
severe punishments of other kinds on 391,458. In one year 280
Jews were burned to death in Seville alone. At length the
final horror came in 1492, when Ferdinand and Isabella issued
an edict for the expulsion of all who refused to become
Christians. About 300,000 Jews resolved to abandon the country
which their ancestors had inhabited for more than fifteen
centuries and to whose greatness, wealth and culture they had
contributed so much.
The incidents that marked their
departure are heartrending. Almost every land was shut against
them. Of the 80,000 who obtained an entrance into Portugal on
payment of eight gold pieces a head, but only for eight
months, to enable them to obtain means of departure to other
countries, many lingered after the expiration of the appointed
time, and the poorer were sold as slaves. In 1495 King Emanuel
commanded them to quit Portugal, but at the same time issued a
secret order that all Jewish children under fourteen years
should be torn from their mothers, retained in Portugal and
brought up as Christians. Agony drove the Jewish mothers to
madness; they destroyed their children with their own hands,
and threw them into wells and rivers, to prevent them from
falling into the hands of their persecutors. Neither were the
miseries of those who embraced Christianity, but who, for the
most part, secretly adhered to their old faith, less dreadful.
These so-called Marranos fell victims to the Inquisition, and
a great number were burned alive. Autos-da-fé of suspected
converts took place in Spain as late as 1655, in Portugal as
late as 1776, and in South America as late as 1812.
MASSACRES IN ITALY.
In Italy similar persecutions have
been endured by the Jews. Especially when the weak
Carlovingians began to rule, and the Church to advance with
imperious strides, the great periods of humiliation and
suffering of the Jews in that country began. Kings, bishops,
feudal barons, and even the municipalities joined in a
carnival or persecution, and the history of the Jews became
nothing less than a successive series of massacres. Under Pope
Paul, in the sixteenth century, the Jews were reduced to the
utmost misery. Indeed, upon one occasion this Pope, it is
said, had given orders to one of his nephews to burn at night
the quarter inhabited by the Jews, but Alexander Farnese,
hearing of the infamous proposal, succeeded in frustrating it.
Pius V directed his persecutions against the Jews of Bologna,
many of the wealthiest Jews being imprisoned and placed under
torture in order to force them to make false confessions, and
finally he expelled the Jews from Rome and Ancona.
BLOODY EXPERIENCES IN FRANCE.
In France the persecutions of the
Jews began as early as the sixth century with violent
conversion to Christianity, and was relentlessly carried on
during the seventh and eight centuries. In the ninth century
many Jews were expelled from the country. Many were killed by
the soldiers of the Crusades in the eleventh century, and in
1080 they were banished from the country. It is alleged
against them that in the celebration of the Passover at Paris
they sacrificed a youth, the son of a rich merchant, for which
may were executed. In the twelfth century we read of
thirty-seven men and women being burned alive in Blois, and a
great number of Jews massacred in other French cities. In 1182
Philip II expelled the Jews from France after confiscating all
their property. In 12909 three thousand Jews were massacred at
Bordeaux. Under Louis IX (1226-1270) the murderer of a Jew, if
he were a Christian, went unpunished! When, in 1321, a
religious epidemic known as the Rising of the Shepherds,
seized the common people in Languedoc and the central regions
of France, they indulged in horrible massacres of the hated
race; so horrible, indeed, that in one place, Verdun, on the
Garonne, the Jews in the madness of their agony threw down
their children to the Christian mob from the tower in which
they were gathered, hoping, but in vain, to appease the
demoniacal fury of the assailants. In whole provinces every
Jew was burned. At Chinon, in Touraine, a deep ditch was dug,
an enormous pile raised and a hundred and sixty Jews of both
sexes were burned together, while the richer Jews were
imprisoned until their property was discovered, and the sum of
50,000 livres transported to the king! At last, in 1594, they
were again banished from France and the sentence was rigidly
SAME STORY REPEATED IN ENGLAND.
In England, where the Jews are
first mentioned in 740, it is the same old story of
persecution, pillage and massacre. A raid against the Jews was
there a favorite pastime of the nobles. Thus, at the
enthronement of Richard I (1189), the Crusaders, on their
departure for the Holy Land, began their warfare by a pillage
and massacre of the Jews in London. In 1190 five hundred Jews
were besieged by the knights of England in the castle of York
and, finding resistance useless, cut one another's throats
rather than fall a prey to the Christian knights. In 1204 Jews
of both sexes were imprisoned, their eyes or teeth plucked out
and numbers butchered by King John. In 1262 seven hundred Jews
were slain in London, and in 1278 fully 1,200 Jews were hanged
and quartered. The reign of Edward I (1272-1307) brought
suddenly to an end the frightful condition of the Jews by a
wholesale expulsion from England (1290), after a vain attempt
to convert them to Christianity, preceded by a wholesale
confiscation of their property. About sixteen thousand Jews
left the inhospitable shores, which, however, hater, after
their return under Rabbi Manasseh, became a place of refuge
for the unfortunate race. As early as 1753 a Jews'
naturalization bill passed the Houses of Parliament.
In Germany, Jews were regarded as
the sovereign's property (kammerknechte--chamber servants),
and were bought and sold. During the Crusades a wholesale
slaughter of the "enemies of Christianity" was instituted.
Treves, Metz, Cologne, Worms, Strasburg and other cities were
deluged with the blood of the "unbeliever."
"HEP!" SIGNAL FOR SLAUGHTER.
The word "Hep!" (said to be the
initials of "Hierosolyma est perdita"--"Jerusalem is
destroyed"), throughout all the cities of the empire, became
the signal for massacre, and if a monk sounded it along the
streets it threw the rabble into paroxysms of murderous rage.
The choice of death or conversion was given to the Jews, but
few were found willing to purchase their lives in that way.
Rather than subject their offspring to conversion, fathers
presented their breasts to the sword after putting their
children to death, and wives and virgins sought refuge from
the brutality of the soldiers by throwing themselves into the
rivers, with stones fastened to their bodies, says Gibbon. In
Munich 180 Jews were burned alive. The "Black Death" in
particular occasioned a great and widespread persecution
(1348-50), the Jews being accused of poisoning the wells. They
were murdered and burned by the thousands. In Strasbourg 1,300
Jews were burned in a single day. In Worms 400 were burned, in
Mayence 6,000, and in Erfurt 3,000 were killed, all in the
same year. In Switzerland the entire Jewish population of most
cities were exterminated. No less than 17,000 were supposed to
have perished in the German empire during these persecutions.
When the race had almost disappeared in Germany, those who
survived were expelled by force from the principal cities.
Modern times have witnessed the
hatred of the Jew in these countries change into toleration,
until Russia stands practically alone in her murderous
attitude toward them. In the nature of things, it cannot be
many years before the Jew will be treated as well in Europe as
he is in America.