Blood libel

Blood libel

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Blood libel is a false accusation or claim that religious minorities, usually Jews, murder children to use their blood in certain aspects of their religious rituals and holidays. Historically, these claims—alongside those of well poisoning
Well poisoning
Well-poisoning is the act of malicious manipulation of potable water resources in order to cause illness or death, or to deny an opponent access to fresh water resources....

 and host desecration
Host desecration
Host desecration is a form of sacrilege in Christianity involving the mistreatment or malicious use of a consecrated host— the sacred bread used in the Eucharistic service or Mass...

—have been a major theme in European persecution of Jews
History of the Jews in Europe
Judaism in Europe has a long history, beginning with the conquest of the Eastern Mediterranean by Pompey in 63 BCE, thus beginning the History of the Jews in the Roman Empire, though likely Alexandrian Jews had migrated to Rome slightly before Pompey's conquest of the East.The pre-World War...

.

Blood libels typically allege that Jews require human blood for the baking of matzo
Matzo
Matzo or matzah is an unleavened bread traditionally eaten by Jews during the week-long Passover holiday, when eating chametz—bread and other food which is made with leavened grain—is forbidden according to Jewish law. Currently, the most ubiquitous type of Matzo is the traditional Ashkenazic...

s for Passover
Passover
Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

, although this element was absent in the earliest cases that claimed (the contemporary) Jews reenacted the crucifixion
Crucifixion of Jesus
The crucifixion of Jesus and his ensuing death is an event that occurred during the 1st century AD. Jesus, who Christians believe is the Son of God as well as the Messiah, was arrested, tried, and sentenced by Pontius Pilate to be scourged, and finally executed on a cross...

. The accusations often assert that the blood of Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 children is especially coveted, and, historically, blood libel claims have been made to account for otherwise unexplained deaths of children. In some cases, the alleged victim of human sacrifice
Human sacrifice
Human sacrifice is the act of killing one or more human beings as part of a religious ritual . Its typology closely parallels the various practices of ritual slaughter of animals and of religious sacrifice in general. Human sacrifice has been practised in various cultures throughout history...

 has become venerated as a martyr, a holy figure around whom a martyr cult might arise. Four of these have been previously canonized
Canonization
Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares a deceased person to be a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints. Originally, individuals were recognized as saints without any formal process...

 as saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s, namely William of Norwich
William of Norwich
William of Norwich was an English boy whose death was, at the time, attributed to the Jewish community of Norwich. It is the first known medieval accusation of ritual murder against Jews....

, Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln
Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln
Hugh of Lincoln was an English boy, whose death prompted a blood libel with ramifications that reach until today. Hugh is known as Little Saint Hugh to distinguish him from Saint Hugh, otherwise Hugh of Lincoln. The style is often corrupted to Little Sir Hugh...

, Simon of Trent
Simon of Trent
Simon of Trent ; also known as Simeon; was a boy from the city of Trento, Italy whose disappearance was blamed on the leaders of the city's Jewish community based on their confessions under torture, causing a major blood libel in Europe.-Background:Shortly before Simon went missing, Bernardine of...

 (Simon was decanonized in the 20th century), and Gavriil Belostoksky
Gavriil Belostoksky
Gavriil Belostoksky or Zabludowsky is a child saint in the Russian Orthodox Church. The legend of his death describes a ritual murder which has been described as a blood libel...

 who remains canonized in the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

.

In Jewish lore, blood libels were the impetus for the creation of the Golem of Prague by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel
Judah Loew ben Bezalel
Judah Loew ben Bezalel, alt. Loewe, Löwe, or Levai, widely known to scholars of Judaism as the Maharal of Prague, or simply The MaHaRaL, the Hebrew acronym of "Moreinu ha-Rav Loew," was an important Talmudic scholar, Jewish mystic, and philosopher who served as a leading rabbi in the city of...

 in the 16th century. According to Walter Laqueur
Walter Laqueur
Walter Zeev Laqueur is an American historian and political commentator. He was born in Breslau, Germany , to a Jewish family. In 1938, Laqueur left Germany for the British Mandate of Palestine. His parents, who were unable to leave, became victims of the Holocaust...

:
Altogether, there have been about 150 recorded cases of blood libel (not to mention thousands of rumors) that resulted in the arrest and killing of Jews throughout history, most of them in the Middle Ages... In almost every case, Jews were murdered, sometimes by a mob, sometimes following torture and a trial.

Actual Jewish practices regarding blood and sacrifice


The supposed torture and human sacrifice alleged in the blood libels run contrary to the teachings of Judaism. According to the Bible, God commanded Abraham in the Binding of Isaac
Binding of Isaac
The Binding of Isaac Akedah or Akeidat Yitzchak in Hebrew and Dhabih in Arabic, is a story from the Hebrew Bible in which God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah...

 to sacrifice his son, but ultimately provided a ram as a substitute. The Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

 in the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 forbid murder. In addition, the use of blood (human or otherwise) in cooking is prohibited by the kosher dietary laws
Kashrut
Kashrut is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha is termed kosher in English, from the Ashkenazi pronunciation of the Hebrew term kashér , meaning "fit" Kashrut (also kashruth or kashrus) is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha (Jewish law) is termed...

 (kashrut). Blood from slaughtered animals may not be consumed, and must be drained out of the animal and covered with earth. According to the book of Leviticus, blood from sacrificed animals may only be placed on the altar of the Great Temple in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

 (which no longer existed at the time of the Christian blood libels). Furthermore, consumption of human flesh would violate kashrut.

While animal sacrifice was part of the practice of ancient Judaism, the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

 (Old Testament) and Jewish teaching
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 portray human sacrifice
Human sacrifice
Human sacrifice is the act of killing one or more human beings as part of a religious ritual . Its typology closely parallels the various practices of ritual slaughter of animals and of religious sacrifice in general. Human sacrifice has been practised in various cultures throughout history...

 as one of the evils that separated the pagans of Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

 from the Hebrews . Jews were prohibited from engaging in these rituals and were punished for doing so . In fact, ritual cleanliness for priests prohibited even being in the same room as a human corpse .

Suggested origins of the myth


Professor Israel Jacob Yuval of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem published an article in 1993 that argues that blood libel may have originated in the 12th century from Christian views of Jewish behavior during the First Crusade
First Crusade
The First Crusade was a military expedition by Western Christianity to regain the Holy Lands taken in the Muslim conquest of the Levant, ultimately resulting in the recapture of Jerusalem...

. Some Jews committed suicide and killed their own children rather than be subjected to forced conversions. Yuval investigated Christian reports of these events and found that they were greatly distorted with claims that if Jews could kill their own children they could also kill Christian children. Yuval rejects the blood libel story as a fantasy of some Christians which could not contain any elements of truth because of the precarious nature of the Jewish minority's existence in Christian Europe.

Notable instances



There have been many blood libel accusations and trials of Jews, beginning in the 1st century and continuing through modern times. A few of them are discussed here.

Antiquity


The origins of the blood libel are found in the writings of to the Graeco-Egyptian author Apion
Apion
Apion , Graeco-Egyptian grammarian, sophist and commentator on Homer, was born at the Siwa Oasis, and flourished in the first half of the 1st century AD....

, who claimed that Jews sacrificed Greek victims in their temple
Second Temple
The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exiled to Babylon...

. Apion repeated anti-Jewish slurs and "absurd calumnies" first made by Posidonius
Posidonius
Posidonius "of Apameia" or "of Rhodes" , was a Greek Stoic philosopher, politician, astronomer, geographer, historian and teacher native to Apamea, Syria. He was acclaimed as the greatest polymath of his age...

 and Apollonius Molon
Apollonius Molon
Apollonius Molon or Molo of Rhodes , Greek rhetorician who flourished about 70 BC.He was a native of Alabanda, a pupil of Menecles, and settled at Rhodes. He twice visited Rome as an ambassador from Rhodes, and Marcus Tullius Cicero and Gaius Julius Caesar both took lessons from him...

 in the 1st century BCE. This resulted in an attack on Jews in Alexandria in 38 CE in which thousands of Jews died. Socrates Scholasticus
Socrates Scholasticus
Socrates of Constantinople, also known as Socrates Scholasticus, not to be confused with the Greek philosopher Socrates, was a Greek Christian church historian, a contemporary of Sozomen and Theodoret, who used his work; he was born at Constantinople c. 380: the date of his death is unknown...

 (fl. 5th Century) reported that some Jews in a drunken frolic bound a Christian child on a cross in mockery of the death of Christ and scourged him until he died.

Middle Ages



In England in 1144 Jews of Norwich
Norwich
Norwich is a city in England. It is the regional administrative centre and county town of Norfolk. During the 11th century, Norwich was the largest city in England after London, and one of the most important places in the kingdom...

 were accused of ritual murder after a boy, William of Norwich
William of Norwich
William of Norwich was an English boy whose death was, at the time, attributed to the Jewish community of Norwich. It is the first known medieval accusation of ritual murder against Jews....

, was found dead with stab wounds in the woods. The legend was turned into a cult, with William acquiring the status of martyr and crowds of pilgrims bringing wealth to the local church. This was followed by similar accusations in Gloucester (1168), Bury St Edmunds (1181) and Bristol (1183). In 1189, the Jewish deputation attending the coronation of Richard the Lionheart
Richard I of England
Richard I was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period...

 was attacked by the crowd. Massacres of Jews at London and York soon followed. On Feb 6 1190, the Norwich Jews were butchered in their homes , only those who found refuge in the castle survived. The remains of 17 bodies thrown in a well in Norwich between the 12th and 13th century (5 that were shown by DNA testing to likely be members of a single Jewish family) were very possibly killed as part of one of these pogroms. Jews would later be expelled from all of England
Edict of Expulsion
In 1290, King Edward I issued an edict expelling all Jews from England. Lasting for the rest of the Middle Ages, it would be over 350 years until it was formally overturned in 1656...

 in 1290 and not allowed to return until 1655. In 1171, Blois
Blois
Blois is the capital of Loir-et-Cher department in central France, situated on the banks of the lower river Loire between Orléans and Tours.-History:...

 was the site of a blood libel accusation against its Jewish community that led to 31 Jews (by some accounts 40) being burned to death.

An early blood libel appears in Bonum Universale de Apibus ii. 29, § 23, by Thomas of Cantimpré
Thomas of Cantimpré
Thomas of Cantimpré was a Roman Catholic medieval writer, preacher, and theologian.-Biography:...

 (a monastery near Cambray). Thomas wrote "It is quite certain that the Jews of every province annually decide by lot which congregation or city is to send Christian blood to the other congregations."
Thomas also believed that since the time when the Jews called out to Pontius Pilate
Pontius Pilate
Pontius Pilatus , known in the English-speaking world as Pontius Pilate , was the fifth Prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, from AD 26–36. He is best known as the judge at Jesus' trial and the man who authorized the crucifixion of Jesus...

, "His blood be on us, and on our children" , they have been afflicted with hemorrhages:
A very learned Jew, who in our day has been converted to the (Christian) faith, informs us that one enjoying the reputation of a prophet among them, toward the close of his life, made the following prediction: 'Be assured that relief from this secret ailment, to which you are exposed, can only be obtained through Christian blood ("solo sanguine Christiano").' This suggestion was followed by the ever-blind and impious Jews, who instituted the custom of annually shedding Christian blood in every province, in order that they might recover from their malady.

Thomas added that the Jews had misunderstood the words of their prophet, who by his expression "solo sanguine Christiano" had meant not the blood of any Christian, but that of Jesus—the only true remedy for all physical and spiritual suffering.
Thomas did not mention the name of the "very learned" proselyte, but it may have been Nicholas Donin
Nicholas Donin
Nicholas Donin of La Rochelle, a Jewish convert to Christianity in early thirteenth-century Paris, is known for his role in the 1240 Disputation of Paris, which resulted in a decree to publicly burn all available manuscripts of the Talmud....

 of La Rochelle
La Rochelle
La Rochelle is a city in western France and a seaport on the Bay of Biscay, a part of the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Charente-Maritime department.The city is connected to the Île de Ré by a bridge completed on 19 May 1988...

, who in 1240 had a disputation on the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 with Yechiel of Paris
Yechiel of Paris
Yechiel ben Joseph of Paris was a major Talmudic scholar and Tosafist from northern France, father-in-law of Isaac ben Joseph of Corbeil. He was a disciple of Rabbi Judah Messer Leon, and succeeded him in 1225 as head of the Yeshiva of Paris, which then boasted some 300 students; his best known...

, and who in 1242 caused the burning of numerous Talmudic manuscripts in Paris. It is known that Thomas was personally acquainted with this Nicholas.

The case of Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln
Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln
Hugh of Lincoln was an English boy, whose death prompted a blood libel with ramifications that reach until today. Hugh is known as Little Saint Hugh to distinguish him from Saint Hugh, otherwise Hugh of Lincoln. The style is often corrupted to Little Sir Hugh...

 is mentioned by Chaucer, and thus has become well-known. A child of eight years, named Hugh, son of a woman named Beatrice, disappeared at Lincoln
Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Lincoln is a cathedral city and county town of Lincolnshire, England.The non-metropolitan district of Lincoln has a population of 85,595; the 2001 census gave the entire area of Lincoln a population of 120,779....

 on 31 July 1255. His body was discovered on 29 August, covered with filth, in a pit or well belonging to a Jewish man named Copin or Koppin. On being promised by John of Lexington, a judge, who happened to be present, that his life should be spared, Copin is said to have confessed that the boy had been crucified by the Jews, who had assembled at Lincoln for that purpose. King Henry III
Henry III of England
Henry III was the son and successor of John as King of England, reigning for 56 years from 1216 until his death. His contemporaries knew him as Henry of Winchester. He was the first child king in England since the reign of Æthelred the Unready...

, on reaching Lincoln at the beginning of October, refused to carry out the promise of John of Lexington, and had Copin executed and 91 of the Jews of Lincoln seized and sent up to London, where 18 of them were executed. The rest were pardoned at the intercession of the Franciscans (Jacobs, Jewish Ideals, pp. 192–224).

At Pforzheim
Pforzheim
Pforzheim is a town of nearly 119,000 inhabitants in the state of Baden-Württemberg, southwest Germany at the gate to the Black Forest. It is world-famous for its jewelry and watch-making industry. Until 1565 it was the home to the Margraves of Baden. Because of that it gained the nickname...

, Baden, the corpse of a seven-year-old girl was found in the river by fishermen. The Jews were suspected, and when they were led to the corpse, blood allegedly began to flow from the wounds; led to it a second time, the face of the child became flushed, and both arms were raised. In addition to these miracles, there was the testimony of the daughter of the wicked woman who had sold the child to the Jews. A regular judicial examination did not take place; it is probable that the above-mentioned "wicked woman" was the murderess. That a judicial murder was then and there committed against the Jews in consequence of the accusation is evident from the manner in which the Nuremberg
Nuremberg
Nuremberg[p] is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population is 505,664...

 "Memorbuch" and the synagogal poems refer to the incident (Siegmund Salfeld
Siegmund Salfeld
Siegmund Salfeld was a German rabbi and writer. He was born at Stadthagen, Schaumburg-Lippe.Having received his degree of Ph.D. from the University of Berlin in 1870, he became in the same year rabbi of Dessau, Anhalt. In 1880 he was chosen rabbi of Mainz. He collaborated on Meyers...

, Das Martyrologium des Nürnberger Memorbuches (1898), pp. 15, 128-130). At Weissenburg, a miracle alone decided the charge against the Jews. According to the accusation, the Jews had suspended a child (whose body was found in the Lauter river) by the feet, and had opened every artery in his body to obtain all the blood. Again, supernatural claims were made: the child's wounds were said to have bled for five days afterward, despite its treatment.

At Oberwesel, "miracles" again constituted the only evidence against the Jews. The corpse of the 11-year-old Werner of Oberwesel
Werner of Oberwesel
Werner of Oberwesel ; b. 1271 in Womrath, Hunsrück; d. 1287) was a 16-year-old boy whose unexplained death was blamed on Jews, leading to revenge killings of Jews across Europe. He was long worshipped as a Catholic saint, and his memorial day was 19 April...

 was said to have floated up the Rhine (against the current) as far as Bacharach, emitting radiance, and being invested with healing powers. In consequence, the Jews of Oberwesel and many other adjacent localities were severely persecuted during the years 1286-89. Emperor Rudolph I, to whom the Jews had appealed for protection, issued a public proclamation to the effect that great wrong had been done to the Jews, and that the corpse of Werner was to be burned and the ashes scattered to the winds. The statement was made, in the "Chronicle" of Konrad Justinger of 1423, that at Bern in 1294 the Jews tortured and murdered a boy called Rudolph. The historical impossibility of this widely credited story was demonstrated by Jakob Stammler, pastor of Bern, in 1888. It has been speculated whether the Kindlifresserbrunnen
Kindlifresserbrunnen
The Kindlifresserbrunnen is a fountain at the Kornhausplatz in Bern, Switzerland. It is one of the Old City of Bern's fountains from the 16th century....

 ("Child Eater Fountain") in Bern might refer to the alleged ritual murder of 1294.

Renaissance and Baroque


Simon of Trent
Simon of Trent
Simon of Trent ; also known as Simeon; was a boy from the city of Trento, Italy whose disappearance was blamed on the leaders of the city's Jewish community based on their confessions under torture, causing a major blood libel in Europe.-Background:Shortly before Simon went missing, Bernardine of...

, aged two, disappeared, and his father alleged that he had been kidnapped and murdered by the local Jewish community. Fifteen local Jews were sentenced to death and burned. Simon was regarded as a saint, and was canonized by Pope Sixtus V
Pope Sixtus V
Pope Sixtus V , born Felice Peretti di Montalto, was Pope from 1585 to 1590.-Early life:The chronicler Andrija Zmajević states that Felice's family originated from modern-day Montenegro...

 in 1588. His status as a saint was removed in 1965 by Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

, though his murder is still promoted as a fact by a handful of extremists.

Christopher of Toledo, also known as Christopher of La Guardia or "the Holy Child of La Guardia
Holy Child of La Guardia
The Holy Child of La Guardia was the purported victim of a ritual murder by the Jews in the town of La Guardia in the central Spanish province of Toledo . On November 16, 1491 an auto-da-fé held outside of Ávila concluded the case with the public execution of several Jewish and converso suspects...

," was a four-year-old Christian boy supposedly murdered by two Jews and three Converso
Converso
A converso and its feminine form conversa was a Jew or Muslim—or a descendant of Jews or Muslims—who converted to Catholicism in Spain or Portugal, particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries. Mass conversions once took place under significant government pressure...

s (converts to Christianity). In total, eight men were executed. It is now believed that this case was constructed by the Spanish Inquisition
Spanish Inquisition
The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition , commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition , was a tribunal established in 1480 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms, and to replace the Medieval...

 to facilitate the expulsion of Jews from Spain
Alhambra decree
The Alhambra Decree was an edict issued on 31 March 1492 by the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain ordering the expulsion of Jews from the Kingdom of Spain and its territories and possessions by 31 July of that year.The edict was formally revoked on 16 December 1968, following the Second...

. He was canonized by Pope Pius VII
Pope Pius VII
Pope Pius VII , born Barnaba Niccolò Maria Luigi Chiaramonti, was a monk, theologian and bishop, who reigned as Pope from 14 March 1800 to 20 August 1823.-Early life:...

 in 1805. Christopher has since been removed from the canon, though once again, a handful of individuals still claim the validity of this case.
In a case at Tyrnau (Nagyszombat, today Trnava
Trnava
Trnava is a city in western Slovakia, 47 km to the north-east of Bratislava, on the Trnávka river. It is the capital of a kraj and of an okres . It was the seat of a Roman Catholic archbishopric . The city has a historic center...

, Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

), the absurdity, even the impossibility, of the statements forced by torture from women and children shows that the accused preferred death as a means of escape from the torture, and admitted everything that was asked of them. They even said that Jewish men menstruated, and that the latter therefore practiced the drinking of Christian blood as a remedy.

At Bösing (Bazin, today Pezinok
Pezinok
Pezinok is a city in southwestern Slovakia. It is roughly northeast of Bratislava and has a population of 21,334 .Pezinok lies near the Little Carpathians and thrives mainly on viticulture and agriculture, as well as on brick making and ceramic production.-History:From the second half of the 10th...

, Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

), it was charged that a nine-year-old boy had been bled to death, suffering cruel torture; thirty Jews confessed to the crime and were publicly burned. The true facts of the case were disclosed later, when the child was found alive in Vienna. He had been stolen by the accuser, Count Wolf of Bazin, as a fiendish means of ridding himself of his Jewish creditors at Bazin.

At Rinn
Rinn
Rinn is a municipality in the district of Innsbruck-Land and is located 6 km southeast of Innsbruck. The village was mentioned in documents as “Runne” in 1250 for the first time. It has 1623 inhabitants.-External links:...

, near Innsbruck
Innsbruck
- Main sights :- Buildings :*Golden Roof*Kaiserliche Hofburg *Hofkirche with the cenotaph of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor*Altes Landhaus...

, a boy named Andreas Oxner
Andreas Oxner
Anderl Oxner von Rinn, also known as Andreas Oxner, was a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. According to a blood libel accusation, the three-year old boy was killed by foreign Jews in the village of Rinn .-Initial accusations:In 1475, in the wake of the blood libel of Simon of Trent, the bones...

 (also known as Anderl von Rinn) was said to have been bought by Jewish merchants and cruelly murdered by them in a forest near the city, his blood being carefully collected in vessels. The accusation of drawing off the blood (without murder) was not made until the beginning of the 17th century, when the cult was founded. The older inscription in the church of Rinn, dating from 1575, is distorted by fabulous embellishments—for example, that the money paid for the boy to his godfather turned into leaves, and that a lily blossomed upon his grave. The cult continued until officially prohibited in 1994 by the Bishop of Innsbruck.

19th century


The only child-saint in the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 is the six-year-old boy Gavriil Belostoksky
Gavriil Belostoksky
Gavriil Belostoksky or Zabludowsky is a child saint in the Russian Orthodox Church. The legend of his death describes a ritual murder which has been described as a blood libel...

 from the village Zverki. According to the legend supported by the church, the boy was kidnapped from his home during the holiday of Passover
Passover
Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

 while his parents were away. Shutko, who was a Jew from Białystok, was accused in bringing the boy to Białystok, poking him with sharp objects and draining his blood for nine days, then bringing the body back to Zverki and dumping it at a local field. A cult developed, and the boy was canonized in 1820. His relics are still the object of pilgrimage. On All Saints Day, July 27, 1997, the Belorussian state TV showed a film alleging the story is true. The revival of the cult in Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

 was cited as a dangerous expression of antisemitism in international reports on human rights and religious freedoms which were passed to the UNHCR.
  • 1840 Damascus affair
    Damascus affair
    The Damascus affair was an 1840 incident in which the accusation of ritual murder was brought against members of the Jewish community of Damascus. Eight notable Jews of Damascus were falsely accused of murdering a Christian monk, imprisoned and tortured. Several of the imprisoned died of torture,...

    : In February, at Damascus, a Catholic monk named Father Thomas and his servant were murdered. The accusation of ritual murder was brought against members of the Jewish community of Damascus

  • 1840 Rhodes blood libel
    Rhodes blood libel
    The Rhodes blood libel was an 1840 event of blood libel against Jews, in which the Greek Orthodox community accused Jews on island of Rhodes of the ritual murder of a Christian boy who disappeared in February of that year....

    : The Jews of Rhodes
    Rhodes
    Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

    , under the Ottoman Empire
    Ottoman Empire
    The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

    , were accused of murdering a Greek
    Greeks
    The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

     Christian boy. The libel was supported by the local governor and the European consuls posted to Rhodes. Several Jews were arrested and tortured, and the entire Jewish quarter was blockaded for twelve days. An investigation carried out by the central Ottoman government found the Jews to be innocent.

  • In March 1879, ten Jewish men from a mountain village were brought to Kutaisi
    Kutaisi
    Kutaisi is Georgia's second largest city and the capital of the western region of Imereti. It is 221 km to the west of Tbilisi.-Geography:...

    , Georgia
    Georgia (country)
    Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

     to stand trial for the alleged kidnapping and murder of a Christian girl. The case attracted a great deal of attention in Russia (of which Georgia was then a part): "While periodicals as diverse in tendency as Herald of Europe
    Vestnik Evropy
    Vestnik Evropy was the major liberal magazine of late-nineteenth-century Russia; it lasted from 1866 to 1918....

    and Saint Petersburg Notices
    Sankt-Peterburgskie Vedomosti
    The Vedomosti was the first newspaper printed in Russia. It was established by Peter the Great's ukase dated 16 December 1702. The first issue appeared on 2 January 1703.- Petrine Vedomosti :...

    expressed their amazement that medieval prejudice should have found a place in the modern judiciary of a civilized state, New Times
    Novoye Vremya (newspaper)
    Novoye Vremya was a Russian newspaper published in St. Petersburg from 1868 to 1917. Until 1869 it came out five times a week; thereafter it came out every day, and from 1881 there were both morning and evening editions...

    hinted darkly of strange Jewish sects with unknown practices." The trial ended in acquittal, and the orientalist Daniel Chwolson published a refutation of the blood libel.

  • 1882 Tiszaeszlár blood libel
    Tiszaeszlár blood libel
    The Tiszaeszlár Affair, was an accusation of ritual murder against Jews in Hungary, which led to a trial that set off anti-semitic agitation in 1882 and 1883.-Origin of the accusation:...

    : The Jews of the village Tiszaeszlár
    Tiszaeszlár
    Tiszaeszlár is a village in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg, Hungary.-See also:* Tiszaeszlár blood libel...

    , Hungary
    Hungary
    Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

     were accused of the ritual murder of a fourteen-year-old Christian girl, Eszter Solymosi. The case was one of the main causes of the rise of antisemitism in the country. The accused persons were eventually acquitted.

  • In 1899 Hilsner Affair
    Hilsner Affair
    The Hilsner Affair was a series of anti-semitic trials following an accusation of blood libel against Leopold Hilsner, a Jewish inhabitant of the village of Polná in Bohemia in 1899 and 1900...

    , Leopold Hilsner, a Jewish vagabond, was accused of murdering a nineteen-year-old Christian woman, Anežka Hrůzová, with a slash to the throat. Despite the absurdity of the charge and the relatively progressive nature of society in Austria-Hungary
    Austria-Hungary
    Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

    , Hilsner was convicted and sentenced to death. He was later convicted of an additional unsolved murder, also involving a Christian woman. In 1901, the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Tomáš Masaryk
    Tomáš Masaryk
    Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk , sometimes called Thomas Masaryk in English, was an Austro-Hungarian and Czechoslovak politician, sociologist and philosopher, who as an eager advocate of Czechoslovak independence during World War I became the founder and first President of Czechoslovakia, also was...

    , a prominent Austro-Czech philosophy professor and future president of Czechoslovakia
    Czechoslovakia
    Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

    , spearheaded Hilsner's defense. He was later blamed by Czech media because of this. In March 1918, Hilsner was pardoned by Austrian emperor Charles I. He was never exonerated, and the true guilty parties were never found.

20th century and beyond



  • The 1903 Kishinev pogrom
    Kishinev pogrom
    The Kishinev pogrom was an anti-Jewish riot that took place in Chişinău, then the capital of the Bessarabia province of the Russian Empire on April 6-7, 1903.-First pogrom:...

    , an anti-Jewish revolt, started when an anti-Semitic newspaper wrote that a Christian Russian boy, Mikhail Rybachenko, was found murdered in the town of Dubossary
    Dubasari
    Dubăsari is a city in Transnistria, with a population of 23,650. The city is under the administration of the breakaway government of the "Transnistrian Moldovan Republic", and functions as the seat of the Dubăsari sub-district, Transnistria, Moldova.-Name:The origin of the town name is the plural...

    , alleging that the Jews killed him in order to use the blood in preparation of matzo. Around 49 Jews were killed and hundreds were wounded, with over 700 houses being looted and destroyed.

  • In the 1910 Shiraz blood libel
    Shiraz blood libel
    The 1910 Shiraz blood libel was a pogrom of the Jewish quarter in Shiraz, Iran, on October 30, 1910, sparked by accusations that the Jews had ritually killed a Muslim girl. In the course of the pogrom, 12 Jews were killed and about 50 were injured, and 6,000 Jews of Shiraz were robbed of all their...

    , the Jews of Shiraz
    Shiraz
    Shiraz may refer to:* Shiraz, Iran, a city in Iran* Shiraz County, an administrative subdivision of Iran* Vosketap, Armenia, formerly called ShirazPeople:* Hovhannes Shiraz, Armenian poet* Ara Shiraz, Armenian sculptor...

    , Iran
    Iran
    Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

    , were falsely accused of murdering a Muslim girl. The entire Jewish quarter was pillaged; the pogrom left 12 Jews dead and about 50 injured.


  • In Kiev
    Kiev
    Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

    , a Jewish factory manager, Menahem Mendel Beilis
    Menahem Mendel Beilis
    Menahem Mendel Beilis, 1874 – July 7, 1934, was a Ukrainian Jew accused of ritual murder in Kiev in the Russian Empire in a notorious 1913 trial, known as the "Beilis trial" or "Beilis affair". The process sparked international criticism of the antisemitic policies of the Russian Empire...

    , was accused of murdering a Christian child and using his blood in matzo
    Matzo
    Matzo or matzah is an unleavened bread traditionally eaten by Jews during the week-long Passover holiday, when eating chametz—bread and other food which is made with leavened grain—is forbidden according to Jewish law. Currently, the most ubiquitous type of Matzo is the traditional Ashkenazic...

    s. He was acquitted by an all-Christian jury after a sensational trial in 1913.

  • In 1928, the Jews of Massena
    Massena (village), New York
    Massena is a village in St. Lawrence County, New York, United States. The population was 13,589 at the 2000 census. The village is named after Andre Massena, one of Napoleon's generals....

    , New York
    New York
    New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

    , were falsely accused of kidnapping and killing a Christian girl in the Massena blood libel
    Massena blood libel
    The Massena blood libel was an instance of blood libel against Jews in which the Jews of Massena, New York, were falsely accused of the kidnapping and ritual murder of a Christian girl in September 1928....

    .

  • The 1944-1946 Anti-Jewish violence in Poland which killed an estimated 1000-2000 Jews (237 documented cases) involved, among other elements, accusations of blood libel.

  • The 1946 Kielce pogrom
    Kielce pogrom
    The Kielce pogrom was an outbreak of violence against the Jewish community in the city of Kielce, Poland on July 4, 1946, perpetrated by a mob of local townsfolk and members of the official government forces of the People's Republic of Poland...

     against Holocaust survivors in Poland was sparked by an accusation of blood libel.

  • King Faisal
    Faisal of Saudi Arabia
    Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud was King of Saudi Arabia from 1964 to 1975. As king, he is credited with rescuing the country's finances and implementing a policy of modernization and reform, while his main foreign policy themes were pan-Islamic Nationalism, anti-Communism, and pro-Palestinian...

     of Saudi Arabia
    Saudi Arabia
    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

     (r. 1964–1975) made accusations against Parisian Jews that took the nature of a blood libel.

  • The Matzah Of Zion was written by the Syrian Defense Minister, Mustafa Tlass
    Mustafa Tlass
    Lt. Gen. Mustafa Tlass is a Syrian politician and a long time minister of defense, now retired.-Rise to power:Tlass was born in the Syrian town of al-Rastan near the city of Homs to a prominent Sunni Muslim family. He joined the Ba'ath Party at the age of 15, and met Hafez al-Assad when studying...

     in 1986. The book concentrates on two issues: renewed ritual murder accusations against the Jews in the Damascus affair
    Damascus affair
    The Damascus affair was an 1840 incident in which the accusation of ritual murder was brought against members of the Jewish community of Damascus. Eight notable Jews of Damascus were falsely accused of murdering a Christian monk, imprisoned and tortured. Several of the imprisoned died of torture,...

     of 1840, and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
    The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
    The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a fraudulent, antisemitic text purporting to describe a Jewish plan for achieving global domination. It was first published in Russia in 1903, translated into multiple languages, and disseminated internationally in the early part of the twentieth century...

    . The book was cited at a United Nations
    United Nations
    The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

     conference in 1991 by a Syrian delegate. On October 21, 2002, the London
    London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

    -based Arabic
    Arabic language
    Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

     paper Al-Hayat reported that the book The Matzah of Zion was undergoing its eighth reprint and was being translated into English
    English language
    English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

    , French
    French language
    French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

     and Italian
    Italian language
    Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

    .

  • In 2003 a private Syrian film company created a 29-part television series Ash-Shatat
    Ash-Shatat
    Ash-Shatat is a 29-part Syrian television series produced in 2003 by a private Syrian film company, Linn, at a cost of $5.1m. Based in part on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the series reflects anti-Semitic stereotypes and themes...

    ("The Diaspora"). This series originally aired in Lebanon in late 2003 and was broadcast by Al-Manar
    Al-Manar
    Al-Manar is a Lebanese satellite television station affiliated with Hezbollah, registered as Lebanese Media Group Company, broadcasting from Beirut, Lebanon. It has an offering a "rich menu" of high production news, commentary, and entertainment. The self-proclaimed "Station of the Resistance" ,...

    , a satellite television network owned by Hezbollah. This TV series, based on the antisemitic forgery The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, shows the Jewish people as engaging in a conspiracy to rule the world, and presents Jews as people who murder Christian children, drain their blood and use this blood to bake matzah.
  • In early January 2005, some 20 members of the Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

    n State Duma
    State Duma
    The State Duma , common abbreviation: Госду́ма ) in the Russian Federation is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia , the upper house being the Federation Council of Russia. The Duma headquarters is located in central Moscow, a few steps from Manege Square. Its members are referred to...

     publicly made a blood libel against the Jewish people. They approached the Prosecutor General’s Office and demanded that Russia "ban all Jewish organizations.” They accused all Jewish groups of being extremists and of being “anti-Christian and inhumane, which practices extend even to ritual murders.” Alluding to previous antisemitic Russian court decrees that accused the Jews of ritual murder, they wrote that “Many facts of such religious extremism were proven in courts.” The accusation included traditional antisemitic canards, such as “the whole democratic world today is under the financial and political control of international Jewry. And we do not want our Russia to be among such unfree countries”. This demand was published as an open letter to the prosecutor general, in Rus Pravoslavnaya , a national-conservative newspaper. This group consisted of members of the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democrats
    Liberal Democratic Party of Russia
    The Liberal Democratic Party of Russia , Liberal'no-Demokraticheskaya Partiya Rossii is a political party in Russia. Since its founding in 1991, it has been led by the charismatic and controversial figure Vladimir Zhirinovsky...

    , the Communist faction
    Communist Party of the Russian Federation
    The Communist Party of the Russian Federation is a Russian political party. It is the second major political party in the Russian Federation.-History:...

    , and the nationalist Motherland party, with some 500 supporters. Тhe mentioned document is known as "The Letter of Five Hundred" ("Письмо пятисот"). Their supporters included editors of nationalist newspapers as well as journalists. By the end of the month this group had received stiff criticism, and retracted its demand.

  • At the end of April 2005, five boys, ages 9 to 12, in Krasnoyarsk
    Krasnoyarsk
    Krasnoyarsk is a city and the administrative center of Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, located on the Yenisei River. It is the third largest city in Siberia, with the population of 973,891. Krasnoyarsk is an important junction of the Trans-Siberian Railway and one of Russia's largest producers of...

     (Russia) disappeared. In May 2005, their burnt bodies were found in the city sewage. The crime was not disclosed, and in August 2007 the investigation was extended until November 18, 2007. Some Russian nationalist groups claimed that the children were murdered by a Jewish sect with a ritual purpose. Nationalist M. Nazarov, one of the authors of "The Letter of Five Hundred" alleges "the existence of a 'Hasidic sect
    Hasidic Judaism
    Hasidic Judaism or Hasidism, from the Hebrew —Ḥasidut in Sephardi, Chasidus in Ashkenazi, meaning "piety" , is a branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality and joy through the popularisation and internalisation of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspects of the Jewish faith...

    ', whose members kill children before Passover to collect their blood," using the Beilis case mentioned above as evidence. M.Nazarov also alleges that "the ritual murder requires throwing the body away rather than its concealing". "The Union of the Russian People" demanded officials thoroughly investigate the Jews, not stopping at the search in synagogues, Matzah
    Matzo
    Matzo or matzah is an unleavened bread traditionally eaten by Jews during the week-long Passover holiday, when eating chametz—bread and other food which is made with leavened grain—is forbidden according to Jewish law. Currently, the most ubiquitous type of Matzo is the traditional Ashkenazic...

     bakeries and their offices.
  • During a speech in 2007, Raed Salah
    Raed Salah
    Raed Salah is the leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. He was born in Umm al-Fahm - an Israeli-Arab city bordering the Green Line - and was elected as the mayor of that city three times; in 1989, 1993 and 1997. He has eight children and is a former poetSalah was banned...

    , the leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel
    Islamic Movement in Israel
    The Islamic Movement in Israel is a movement that aims to advocate Islam among Israeli Arabs. It operates on three levels: religious , social and anti-Zionist...

    , accused Jews of using children's blood to bake bread. "We have never allowed ourselves to knead [the dough for] the bread that breaks the fast in the holy month of Ramadan with children's blood," he said. "Whoever wants a more thorough explanation, let him ask what used to happen to some children in Europe, whose blood was mixed in with the dough of the [Jewish] holy bread."
  • In 2008, a Polish team of anthropologists and sociologists investigated the currency of the blood libel myth in Sandomierz
    Sandomierz
    Sandomierz is a city in south-eastern Poland with 25,714 inhabitants . Situated in the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship , previously in Tarnobrzeg Voivodeship . It is the capital of Sandomierz County . Sandomierz is known for its Old Town, a major tourist attraction...

     where a painting depicting the blood libel adorns the Cathedral, and discovered that these beliefs persist among Catholic and Orthodox Christians of all social classes.
  • In an address that aired on Al-Aqsa TV
    Al-Aqsa TV
    Al-Aqsa TV is the official Hamas-run television channel. Its programming includes news talk, children's shows , and religiously inspired entertainment...

    on March 31, 2010 (as translated by MEMRI), Salah Eldeen Sultan (Arabic: صلاح الدين سلطان‎), founder of the American Center for Islamic Research in Columbus, Ohio, the Islamic American University in Southfield, Michigan, and the Sultan Publishing Co. and described in 2005 as "one of America's most noted Muslim scholars," alleged that Jews kidnap Christians and others in order to slaughter them and use their blood for making matzos. Sultan, who is currently a lecturer of Muslim jurisprudence at the Cairo University
    Cairo University
    Cairo University is a public university located in Giza, Egypt.The university was founded on December 21, 1908, as the result of an effort to establish a national center for educational thought...

     stated that: "The Zionists kidnap several non-Muslims [sic] – Christians and others... this happened in a Jewish neighborhood in Damascus. They killed the French doctor, Toma, who used to treat the Jews and others for free, in order to spread Christianity. Even though he was their friend and they benefited from him the most, they took him on one of these holidays and slaughtered him, along with the nurse. Then they kneaded the matzos with the blood of Dr. Toma and his nurse. They do this every year. The world must know these facts about the Zionist entity and its terrible corrupt creed. The world should know this."

Views of the Catholic Church


The attitude of the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 towards these accusations and the cults venerating children supposedly killed by Jews has varied over time. The papacy generally opposed them, although it had problems in enforcing its opposition.

In 1911, the Dictionnaire apologétique de la foi catholique, an important French Catholic encyclopedia, published an analysis of the blood libel accusations. This may be taken as being broadly representative of educated Catholic opinion in continental Europe at that time. The article noted that the popes had generally refrained from endorsing the blood libel, and it concluded that the accusations were unproven in a general sense, but it left open the possibility that some Jews had committed ritual murders of Christians. Other contemporary Catholic sources (notably the Jesuit periodical Civiltà cattolica) took a more hostile view.

Today, the accusations are almost entirely discredited in Catholic circles, and the cults associated with them have fallen into disfavour. For example, Simon of Trent was deleted from the Calendar of Saints in 1965 and does not appear in the current (2000) edition of the Roman Martyrology.

Papal pronouncements

  • Pope Innocent IV
    Pope Innocent IV
    Pope Innocent IV , born Sinibaldo Fieschi, was pope from June 25, 1243 until his death in 1254.-Early life:...

     took action against the blood libel: "5 July 1247 "Mandate to the prelates of Germany and France to annul all measures adopted against the Jews on account of the ritual murder libel, and to prevent accusation of Arabs on similar charges" (The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p. 188-189,193-195,208). In 1247 he wrote also that "Certain of the clergy, and princes, nobles and great lords of your cities and dioceses have falsely devised certain godless plans against the Jews, unjustly depriving them by force of their property, and appropriating it themselves;...they falsely charge them with dividing up among themselves on the Passover the heart of a murdered boy...In their malice, they ascribe every murder, wherever it chance to occur, to the Jews. And on the ground of these and other fabrications, they are filled with rage against them, rob them of their possessions without any formal accusation, without confession, and without legal trial and conviction, contrary to the privileges granted to them by the Apostolic See...Since it is our pleasure that they shall not be disturbed,...we ordain that ye behave towards them in a friendly and kind manner. Whenever any unjust attacks upon them come under your notice, redress their injuries, and do not suffer them to be visited in the future by similar tribulations" (Catholic Encyclopedia (1910), Vol. 8, pp.393-394). http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08017a.htm
  • Pope Benedict XIV
    Pope Benedict XIV
    Pope Benedict XIV , born Prospero Lorenzo Lambertini, was Pope from 17 August 1740 to 3 May 1758.-Life:...

     wrote a bull Beatus Andreas (22 February 1755) in which he does not express any doubt concerning the murders of children ascribed to the Jews. He states they are perpetrated "out of hatred of Christ" and "out of hatred for the Christian faith" in his De servorum Dei beatificatione. In the bull he speaks about determining what is to be done "when there arises a case of this sort, which often comes to be put forward, concerning some boy who was slain by the Hebrews in Holy Week out of hostility to Christ, such as Blessed Simon and Anderl and also many of the other murdered boys whom the authors mention".
  • Pope Gregory X
    Pope Gregory X
    Pope Blessed Gregory X , born Tebaldo Visconti, was Pope from 1271 to 1276. He was elected by the papal election, 1268–1271, the longest papal election in the history of the Roman Catholic Church....

     (1271-1276) issued a letter which criticized the practice of blood libels and forbid arrests and persecution of Jews based on a blood libel, ...unless –which we do not believe – they be caught in the commission of the crime. .
  • St. Pius V in the bull Hebraeorum gens (26 February 1569) did not reference blood libel, but he did make multiple accusations against the Jews, including: usury, theft, receiving stolen goods, pimping, divination and magic. He finishes with this accusation: "Finally, we have sufficiently investigated and explored how unworthily this perverse race attacks the name of Christ; how much hated it is by all those who bear that name; and, finally, with what cunning it plots against their lives."
  • Paul III, in a bull of 12 May 1540, made clear his displeasure at having learned, through the complaints of the Jews of Hungary, Bohemia and Poland, that their enemies, looking for a pretext to lay their hands on the Jews' property, were falsely attributing terrible crimes to them, in particular that of killing children and drinking their blood.

Views of Muslim authorities


In late 1553 or 1554, Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman I was the tenth and longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1520 to his death in 1566. He is known in the West as Suleiman the Magnificent and in the East, as "The Lawgiver" , for his complete reconstruction of the Ottoman legal system...

, the reigning Sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

 of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, issued a firman (royal decree) formally denouncing blood libels against the Jews.

In 2003, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram published a series of articles by Osam Al-Baz, a senior advisor to then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
Hosni Mubarak
Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak is a former Egyptian politician and military commander. He served as the fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011....

. Among other things, Osam Al-Baz explained the origins of the blood libel against the Jews. He said that Arabs and Muslims have never been antisemitic, as a group, but accepted that a few Arab writers and media figures attack Jews "on the basis of the racist fallacies and myths that originated in Europe". He urged people not to succumb to "myths" such as the blood libel.

Further reading


External links