It all began in the village of Benzhausen in the Lordship of Buchheim, located to the northwest of Freiburg [footnote deleted] [in 1504]. On Good Friday , the
cowherd boy Andreas was tending his herd in the fields when his cattle’s moos alerted him to the corpse of a little boy, who turned out to be one of his playmates, Matthew Bader [illustration]. The cries of the cowherd boy drew the villagers to the spot; judging from the pale corpse, they surmised that it had been lying there for at least three days. The body was removed and buried in the churchyard. Six days later, the father of the dead boy Philip Bader, was arrested for theft. After he had confessed to stealing, the bailiff confronted Bader about the death of his child [...] At first, Bader denied knowledge of the circumstances of the murder, but when he was brought to the churchyard and presented with the corpse of his child, which the authorities had dug up, he was ready to ‘confess’. As a contemporary poem commemorating the event tells it, and in the words of Philip Bader, the mad Jews went to him and offered him money for a Christian child to celebrate Passover. Out of a throng of boys playing nearby, the Jews supposedly picked Bader’s own son. They assured him,
Bader told the bailiff, that the child would not be killed; all they wanted was a little Christian blood, and they intended to draw this from the Bader boy, who was barely seven year old. A bargain was concluded. Bader took his boy to the Jews of Waldkirch in exchange for a handsome sum. After this initial confession, the bailiff applied torture and Bader changed his story. Now he admitted that he was acting entirely on his own accord: he had heard that Jews pay good money for Christian blood and had drawn blood from his own son’s neck to sell to the Jews. But when he approached the Jews, they turned from him and scolded him for trying to sell them animal blood. Rebuffed, Bader threw away the blood. Since his two testimonies contradicted each other, Bader was tortured further, and the village bailiff referred the case to his master, the Lord of Buchheim [...] [footnote 26]
footnote 26]: [...] Although [sic] the poem represents a contemporary report of the trial, the facts seem highly reliable. The poet narrates both sets of confessions even though he strongly rejects Bader’s second confession, attributing it to the ‘devil’s work’, to make the poor man confess in order to exculpate the Jews [...] [?] [NOTE: the” second confession” was the one that EXONERATED the Jews, the only one given under torture. The original records seem to have disappeared.]
[...] Under interrogation, the arrested Jews protested their innocence and said that the father Bader must in fact have killed his own child for blood money [?]. [...] Once more, Bader changed his story, insisting now that the Jew Lameth of Waldkirch had purchased and killed his son. [...] On 30 May, Bader was executed in Buchen. Just before his execution, he again protested his innocence: the Jews and not he had killed the boy [...] Without evidence, the Jews had to be released [footnote to same poem].
So far, the case seemed straightforward. Family violence was endemic in rural society; and killing one’s own child was but one step removed from child abandonment. It was possible that Bader had not intended to kill his boy and that he had merely wanted to sell blood to the Jews. In any event, once the boy had died from the wound inflicted by his father, and once the corpse was discovered, the initial fantasy of Jewish blood magic that had motivated the gruesome act in the first place also supplied the father with the ideal scenario for self-defence. The crucial point is that, to certain segments of village society, at least to its marginal elements, the discourse of Jewish ritual magic and ritual murder was in itself neutral: what concerned these rural folks was not the intrinsic evil of
Jewish magic, as formulated by the intellectuals, but the practical implication of magic, Jewish or otherwise. For Philip Bader, who was obviously in dire need of money, blood, even that of his own child, was just another commodity for sale; Jewish magic only turned evil when the practical consequences of the unsuccessful transaction became a threat to himself [blah, blah, blah, etc. etc].[Is Ronnie Po a “post-modernist”? He seems addicted to speculating as to what was in people's minds when they did things, with all sorts of strange words, like "discourse" and "narrative".]
Ronnie Po-chia Hsia, THE MYTH OF RITUAL MURDER , pp. 90-94
Ains Judenbüchleins Verlegung, by Johannes Eck
In the year 1503 [sic] [correct year: 1504] [...] a child was missing on one of the farms near Dentzlingen. A neighbour found him in the woods, having been alerted by the bellowing of an ox. Shortly thereafter, the child’s father was apprehended in Buchen on suspicion of theft. At first he feigned ignorance regarding his child, but when he was shown the body he began to sweat. Without torture he confessed that he had sold his four-[correct age: seven] year-old child to two Jews in Waldkirch for five guldens; they told him the child would not die, that they only wanted to draw some blood from him; but alas, things turned out differently, and the child died
because of this. I saw the child with my own eyes, about four weeks after the murder; and with my fingers I held and touched the prick wounds. I also saw the execution of the father in Buchen; he died confessing that the Jews had stabbed his child to death [...]
In May [of 1401], the bailiff and councillors of Diessenhofen, a small town on the South German-Swiss border, arrested the Jew Michael and charged him with paying a Christian servant to obtain Christian blood from a boy, who died from the bleeding. Under torture, Michael confessed to a widespread ritual murder cover-up [...] he also confessed to a Jewish plot to poison the air in order to slowly kill off all Christians [...]
In the same year [as the Philip Bader case], 1504, the shoemaker Bryhenn came under suspicion of the magistrates due to the sudden death of his stepson [...] Arrested in nearby Hanau, he confessed to having struck and killed his stepson in anger. But, when threatened with judicial torture, Bryhenn said he stabbed his stepson with awls, collected the blood, and sold it to the Jew Gumprecht. The latter was interrogated under torture but maintained his innocence. When Bryhenn was condemned to death, he retracted his accusation and Gumprecht was released.
[...] in 1543, two women found [a] five-year old boy in a field outside Volkerode [...] The bailiff summoned all men and women over ten years of age from the village to the scene of the crime. Upon examining the corpse, he found that the foreskin of the penis had been cut off and saw prick marks on both arms. Returning to the village the next morning for further questioning, the bailiff saw a shepherd running away into the woods. With the help of four hundred villagers, he caught the fugitive, Heinrich, the shepherd, who immediately blamed Jacob the Jew of putting him up to the murder [...] the shepherd claimed that he would recognize Jacob on sight. Wisely, the bailiff presented Heinrich with the gatekeeper of the castle, whom the suspect mistook as Jacob [...] After the murder, Heinrich returned to the corpse, cut off the boy’s foreskin and drew some blood from the corpse. He was planning to sell the blood to the Jews and to frame them for murder. Sentenced to death, Heinrich publicly confessed to the innocence of the Jews before his execution [...].
[in 1562] the labourer Leonard Wümpffhaymer of Sulm, accused Moses and another Jew ‘from Löwenstein’ of buying a four-year-old boy from him and them murdering the child [...] In fact, the accuser was first arrested because he struck his mother and was suspected of several murders. In any event, the count’s officials arrested the two Jews and tortured them into confessing their ‘guilt’.
[...] Moses of Berchlingen confessed to six articles of crime on 12 February [...] that the reason all Jews need Christian blood is this: just as the angels slew all the firstborn of the Egyptians and spared only those households painted with the lamb’s blood, so the Jews also want to paint their dead with Christian blood in order that God would be more merciful to them at the Last Judgement [...]
"GLASS" USED TO CARRY AWAY CHILDREN'S BLOOD (amount of blood in body of average 7-year old boy: approx. 1/2 gallon)
“Elias the Jew said that the Jews then carried the blood of the young children in a glass and their heads into his room.”
“And for him to carry the blood, Matthew the Jew gave him a glass”.
FAIRY TALES DISPROVEN BY TOAFF
[...] any Jew would have found it utterly disgusting to use blood for ritualistic purposes.
[footnote: to ward off the harm of the evil eye, Jewish folk beliefs prescribed the use of charms and amulets, not blood; see Trachtenberg, Jewish Magic, pp. 56, 97, 139-140, and Zimmels, Magicians, p. 140.
ONLY HERETICS AND BLACK MAGICIANS BURNT
Only heretics and black magicians were burnt [footnote reference to the Carolina code of justice applicable throughout the Holy Roman Empire]. To Christians of the late fifteenth century, the Jews of Endingen embodied a despicable cross of both.
JEWS PROTECTED BY MONARCHS AND NOBILITY AND PROFIT FROM THE THIRTY YEARS' WAR WHILE GERMANY IS DEVASTATED AND ONE THIRD OF ALL GERMANS DIE
The Endingen ritual murder trial came took place in the middle of a confrontation between the townspeople and their noble lord, who was also the protector of the Jews. The crux of the conflict was, as we have just seen, the power of jurisdiction...
In the first months of 1475, it seemed that Emperor Friedrich might withdraw his protection of the Regensburg Jews because they could not come up with their quota of the Burgundian war taxes; the emperor even warned the Jews that their synagogue might be closed [footnote].
..in the major towns of Further Austria, no Jews were to be
found. To the burghers of the Upper Rhineland, being free of Jews symbolized the achievement of communal political autonomy, for the Jews had been forced on the communities by their Hapsburg rulers, had been protected by local noble lords, and represented an alien economic and religious minority in their midst. Freedom from Jews amounted to a fundamental civic right.
Based on mutual interests, the emperor and the Jewish communities forged a new alliance: Charles needed all the money he could get to finance the dynastic ambitions of the Hapsburgs, an enterprise which his bankers, the Fuggers, could no longer single-handedly underwrite, and the Jews turned to the emperor for protection against political trials staged by princes, bishops and magistrates, often at the instigation of "the commen men". In 1545 the Jews of the empire contributed three thousand guldens to help finance Charles's campaign against France, but the first fruit of this community of interest was only manifest in the Schmalkaldic War (1547-48), in which Charles defeated the league of Protestant princes and cities. During the war, the Jews prayed for imperial victory, offered money to pay Charles' Spanish tercios, and in return were spared the ravages of the soldiers and even benefited from the war economy.
In the sixteenth century, many Jews found protection under noblemen, who valued the wealth and business acumen of this religious minority. In exchange for annual “protection money”, these Schutz-
juden [protected Jews] enjoyed the right of residence and legal protection under their noble lords.
The book also supplies much useful information on the Codex Carolina, which regulated the judicial use of torture throughout the Holy Roman Empire. Many fine illustrations.
For a comparison between the original and revised editions of BLOOD PASSOVER [Pasque di Sangue], click here
For a short summary of deletions and interpolations, click here
For added chapter of no interest to anyone, click here
For Ariel Toaff's Apologia pro Vita Sua, click here
For general discussion of Toaff's newly invented fairy tale of the "voluntary donors", click here