Monday, February 16, 2015

Europe's Typical Invitation to Jews; Then Expulsions

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                  

Jews from Israel traveled a lot in their history, most of the time as slaves, but they kept their eyes opened and learned many skills in the process.  First 10 of our 12 tribes were attacked and hauled off by the Assyrians in 722 BCE and 721 BCE..  Then Israel was attacked by the Babylonians who had beaten the Assyrians and they in turn took away Jews in 597 BCE and  again in 586 BCE.  70 CE was the year that Jerusalem fell to the Romans and Jews had to flee.  Many Jews were already in Rome as slaves, and somehow families were able to develop there.  We find that "Jews  were not only sailors, longshoremen, and captains of vessels, but also shipowners and the financiers of commercial voyages This is confirmed by Synesius (c. 375-413 C.E.), Bishop of Ptolemais, who reported that on his voyage out of Alexandria,  Egypt, the captain and more than half of the crew were Jews.

"During the Roman occupation of Egypt Alexandrian Jewish entrepreneurs became deeply involved in the burgeon-ing sea trade with India. Ships carried merchandise up the Nile to be off loaded at and transported across the desert to Egyptian Red Sea ports, then laded onto ships sailing down the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and across the Indian Ocean."

Our time spent in Persia when the Babylonians captured Jews in their attack on the 12 tribes in 586 BCE led us to live in Persia where there"was the emergence of the private banker and the consequent expansion of credit."Previously, until the seventh century B.C.E., credit was available in Persia mainly on a local basis as temple loans to dependents, to be repaid in kind or equivalent, or as advances of grains or other food-stuffs from landlords to their peasant tenants in off season, to be repaid at harvest time. Such loans were generally interest-free, albeit a penalty amounting to as much as twenty-five per cent was imposed if payment was not made when due.

By the mid-seventh century B.C.E., soon after the deportation of the Israelites to the area, financiers appeared who instituted a reformed system of credit whereby interest-bearing capital was offered for private enterprise and for governmental purposes. Most important among the new institutions engaged in such enterprise were the Jewish banking houses of "Murashu and Sons," and of "Egibi and Sons." They expanded the scope of credit from agrarian assistance to the energizing of industry and commerce.
Jews had also developed a system of credit while trading on the Silk Road to China.  Jews who had made it to China learned to become sericulturists (a Chinese industry of raising silkworms) and went from Persia to Alexandria. The Byzantines decided to capture the industry and imported Jewish sericulturists who founded the industry in Thessalonika, and other Greek towns. The Norman Crusader Roger II invaded Greece, and brought the Jewish artisans to Sicily. Later the Spaniards conquered Sicily, and nationalized the industry. During the Inquisition, Jewish sericulturists fled Sicily and brought their expertise to Tuscany, Bologna, Genoa, Venice and Piedmont.
The road into the town of Casale Montferrato in the Piedmont Province of Italy was known into the modern period alternately as "Jew's Alley," and as "Mulberry Lane!"

Worms, Germany
Therefore, Jews had several talents that were sought after by many nations, and that was trading and finances.
 This is why heads of states would invite them to come and live in their country.  From Rome, Jews were invited or simply moved to France, and then Germany. They picked up the German language and put it together with their Hebrew and spoke Yiddish, soon to be used all over Europe with slight variations depending on the country they settled in.  These Jews were Ashkenazi Jews,  One important town was Worms, Germany.  The first Jews arrived there in the 10th century which would have been in the 900s.  By the 11th century a Jewish community was well established.
Emperor Henry IV wanted Jews there for their financial assistance.  He bribed them to come by offering substantial privileges in 1074 and again in 1090.  He granted them freedom of commerce, security of property and imperial protection.  Freedom to work, land ownership and protection are just 3 of our USA granted freedoms but were 3 more than they had in other countries at that time.
The 1st Crusade in 1096 came along and the Jewish community in Worms was annihilated.  The Crusaders went through Europe to get to Palestine and on the way killed as many Jews as they could in Europe, then commenced killing both Arabs and Jews at their destination in Jerusalem because they couldn't tell the difference or they all were just in their way and were attacking the invaders.  It was also especially bad in northern France and especially in the Rhineland where Jews lived, such as in Mainz, Worms, Speyer and Cologne.  Similar attacks took place in Prague and later in Salonica where the Crusade gave rise to a messianic ferment.  They captured Jerusalem in 1099 and Jews and Karaites were massacred there.  This Crusade ended in 1099.
 The 2nd Crusade of 1147 to 1149 were hits on France and the Rhineland again.
A 3rd Crusade happened from 1189 to 1192 when England took part who led attacks on Jews, especially in York in 1190.
Then the Shepherds' Crusade took place in 1320 with many attacks on Jews in southern France and northern Spain.  All these Crusades really began the age of unmitigated suffering for medieval Jewry.  They displaced the Jewish merchants  from their former favored position and caused the economic decline of the Jews.
 However, Jews and those needing goods wound up using credit which stimulated Jewish financial operations in some countries in Europe, thus was born credit-not credit cards yet, but the concept and use of having credit.  The Crusades caused the Pope to urge that the debts of crusaders to the Jews should be remitted, and this became a regular demand on such occasions.

The Jewish community picked itself up and re-established themselves shortly afterwards and then suffered again in 1349 when they were destroyed in the Black Death outbreak by being accused of starting it.

There was expulsion in 1615, and restrictions were imposed in 1641 when they tried to live there again when the Germans opened the door to them again.

In 1689 the Jews were being massacred by the soldiers of Louis XIV.

Emancipation finally arrived with the French Revolution which lasted 10 years from 1789 to 1799.  .

 Worms was a famous center of Jewish scholarship in the Medieval Period and Rabbi Rashi studied there from 1055 to 1065. He was born in 1040 in Troyes, France and died in 1105 in Troyes.   It was closely associated with the communities of Speyer and Mainz.  Its cemetery dates from the 11th century, while its synagogue originally was built in 1034 and was close to the Rashi chapel of 1624 and the ritual bath of 1186 stood until they were destroyed in November 1938 at the time of Hitler just before WWII.  .

 The French Jews in Toulouse were slaughtered, annihilated in 1420.  Next door to Germany was Austria where in 1421 the Jews living there were expulsed.

Insecurity has been a principal feature of the Jewish experience in many lands.  This is just a mention of the persecution, massacres and expulsions that have been suffered by the Jews in Europe.  First they have been invited, then after being used, disposed of in uncivilized manners due to religious influences such as the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition and in the beginning the meetings in Constantinople about Christianity.

Our Jewish ancestors were an advanced and intelligent group of people highly in demand without a country of their own who had been reviled by Jesus who was said to be a Jew of Mary and Joseph as told in the New Testament, especially by John;   a Jew that all these people were praying to in the name of Christianity and saying that Jews had killed him.  The Jews were using credit in trading when the people they worked for of the royal families could barely add 2 plus 2.  They were hated but needed; quite a quandary for both the countries and the Jews.

Germans lived in tribes and attacked their neighbors.  "The first contacts of Germanic tribes and the Romans happened by the late 2nd century BCE, when Roman authors recount that GaulItaly and Hispania were invaded by migrating Germanic tribes. This culminated in military conflict with the armies of the Roman Republic, in particular those of the Roman Consul Gaius Marius. Six decades later, Julius Caesar invoked the threat of such attacks as one justification for his annexation of Gaul to Rome."   "The Roman, Tactus, wrote: in his Germania wrote that In their ancient songs, their only way of remembering or recording the past, they celebrate an earth-born god, Tuisco, and his son Mannus, as the origin of their race, as their founders. To Mannus they assign three sons, from whose names, they say, the coast tribes are called Ingævones; those of the interior, Herminones; all the rest, Istævones."  So they had not yet developed or borrowed a way of writing nor had they been introduced to the Roman gods. "As Rome expanded to the Rhine and Danube rivers, it incorporated many Celtic societies into the Empire. The tribal homelands to the north and east emerged collectively in the records as Germania. The peoples of this area were sometimes at war with Rome, but also engaged in complex and long-term trade relations, military alliances, and cultural exchanges with Rome as well.
Caesar's wars helped establish the term Germania."
Albert Einstein 1879-1955 born in Ulm, Germany on Danube River; forced into exile; died at age 76.  

 Throughout their time in Germany, Jews  lived precariously, with their end coming in the 1930's with the advent of Hitler. "We do not want to be the land of Goethe and Einstein," declared Berlin's Nazi newspaper, linking Goethe's cultural genius with Einstein's Jewishness.   Einstein (IQ 180...average is 100)  luckily received his education in Switzerland and worked as an engineer in Berne from 1902 to 1909.  In 1914 he was a professor of physics at Berlin University and remained their until 1933 when Nazism rose strongly.   If he hadn't left, he would have been with Jews from Stuttgart, the capital of his state, who were deported to Riga, Latvia in 1941 and be in the ghetto, where 10,600 Jews were seized, taken to pits and the forest and shot.  Luckily Einstein didn't wait for the danger to subside and moved  early enough to the USA.  He is known for his theory of relativity.  He was an active supporter of Zionism.  He was most interested in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem of which he was a trustee and where he donated the manuscripts of his theory of relativity.  He was a pacifist in WWI.  

Jews had a chance to move to Lithuania because some had been moving up to this land early on by 1321 CE.  Mostly Karaites lived there in 1398.  By 1495, 3 years after the horrid Spanish Inquisition, 10,000 Jews were living in Vilna, Grodno and Kovno.  

By 1529 they received a charter guaranteeing freedom of movement and employment and soon they monopolized foreign trade and tax-farming.  From 1495 to 1502 they were excluded from Lithuania. 
 Then another move back and we see that in 1566 to 1572 the Jewish badge was introduced and Jews were disqualified from giving evidence in courts, which meant they were 2nd class citizens-marked with the badge and without the usual rights.

Lithuania fell into Russian hands from 1795 to 1918 when Lithuania was part of the Pale of Settlement where Jews were allowed to live-but not in Russia.  During WWI of 1914-1917, 100,000 Jews were expelled or emigrated to the Russian interior.  Vilna went to Poland in 1919 which weakened the Jews of Lithuania.  When WWII started in about 1939, there were about 175,000 Jews in Lithuania.  Jews were tortured and massacred by the Germans and Lithuanians by 1943.  By 1959 there were 24,000 Jews living there.  One has to wonder why, but then again they could not all get into the USA.  By 1989 half had moved to Israel, leaving 12,312.  My paternal grandfather, born in 1870, moved to the USA by 1900.  He was killed in a horse and wagon accident in 1912.  

The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
The Holocaust by Martin Gilbert


  1. how very interesting nadene. and confirms what i'm finding out about my genealogy. my J1c3e2 mtdna is of piedmont northern italy with swiss and german ties and a another possible source of jewish bloodline is veneto where my family (bassano/denazzi) were woodwind instrument makers (and imported to king henry the 8th court as musicians) but were also known for their silkworm business. so glad you are keeping the history alive nadene when so many want to forget or pretend history away. bless you :) andre'

  2. Good for you for sticking with my article, Andre. My son commented that this sure was a long one, but as you see, I kept finding interesting facts and our genealogy is a driving force to keep on searching for facts. So your mtDNA is J1; how interesting. Now that is really interesting that it came from northern Italy. To have been in the silkworm business blows my mind! This is so synchronistic! It is so grand that our dna goes along with history. Thanks for your interesting comment.

  3. --an interesting read ;) - to me anyway especially in the light of the article you posted.
    excerpt from the article i had found:

    BIOGRAPHY: We have in fact, some reason to believe that Bassan itself was not Jeronimo's home town, and that he may have suffered exile once before in his life. The family coat of arms--on which were displayed three silkeworm moths and a mulberry tree--in itself is evidence of Jewish identity; since it implies that at some time the family had been engaged in silk farming, a trade which Jews first introduced into Italy and in which they were heavily involved for a long time. It seems unlikely, however,
    that the family were silk farmers in Bassano, since the industry was not introduced there until about 1500, by which time they were definitively musicians and instrument makers. Their origins, then may have lain elsewhere--possibly in the Kingdom of Sicily, in the Calabrian town of Catanzaro. This hypothesis is attractive for two reasons: Catanzaro was famous for its community of Jewish silk farmers, and it expelled them at the end of the fifteenth century. Such a history of exile would have made the move to England less daunting.

    i show tuscan and northern italian lineage (and sardinian) on my mother's paternal and maternal side. you and i discussed J1c3e2 at length in earlier posts a few months ago. i do have reason to believe it has a jewish root in the background and the jtest on eurogenes on gedcom reveals a small percent of askenazi jewish on the graph. perhaps this is indeed the source.
    thanks for the insights. andre'

  4. Andre, your insights help us to gain insight as well. I invite you to also read in my goldfoot blog, where I have an article on the italian connection I have and where.

  5. nadene, thanks for sending me to your genealogy blogspot. i was aware of this one and your facebook page but not that one so i'll check it out too. you and i had a good discussion on your june 13, 2013 article about jewish haplogroups. that is when i was first familiar with your articles back in october of last year so i wrote a comment a bit later on that june 2013 post and you were real helpful with your answers. i really like your posts. i want others to check them out too because you stay current but also bring the long neglected history or the corrections to the bad press in history books that so many just swallow hook, line, and sinker because of ignorance or prejudice. i look forward to what you write and though i may not comment every time i try to make sure i'm reading them because there is so much to catch up on about the topics you are posting. thanks again! andre'

  6. Thanks, Andre. Seeing you had this Italian connection, I wondered if we could have been connected but see our genes come from different places in Italy, but you never know. We move around so much, usually for business purposes. Thanks for liking my posts.