Wednesday, December 23, 2015

How Germany's Early Days Made Money Through Anti-Semitism

Nadene Goldfoot                                              
Mainz, Germany today.  In 1012, the Jews were expelled but soon returned.  They received protection then from the arch-bishop when crusaders came in 1096.  Even so, hundreds were murdered.  
The Holy Roman Empire was made up of much territory.  "The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it included the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories. The precise term "Holy Roman Empire" was not used until the 13th century."  So it really had nothing to do with the ancient Romans who burned down the Jewish 2nd Temple and Jerusalem, but consisted of the politics that followed them in the disposition  of Rome and their pagan powers.  

Kingdom of GermanyCarolingian dynastyConradine dynastyOttonian dynastyArnulfLouis IV,Conrad IHenry IOtto I

Jews were not allowed to own land anyplace.  They were labeled as Christ Killers in the Holy Roman Empire.  Jews were not allowed to follow any profession, and about the only thing they were allowed to do was to loan money.  This was because it was considered a despicable business for the Christians, who were kept from it by their church.  Jews had been traders even when living in their holy land of Judah and many had dealt with trading on the Silk Road, taking them to far corners of the earth.  When Jerusalem fell in 70 CE, Jews were not even allowed to continue trying to live in Jerusalem or its suburbs since it was burnt down by the Romans.  They couldn't come back in and refurbish their own city.  Anyway, most were taken as slaves to Rome.  From there, some lucky ones finally made their way next door to France and then of course, Germany by the 1000's.
Jews of Germany and their forced clothing for identification

Take RASHI.  This is the famous abbreviation for Rabbi Solomon Yitzhaki, son of Isaac who was born in 1040 and died in 1105.  He was a French rabbinical scholar and teacher.  He had studied in the Rhineland (Germany) but also lived in Troyes, France where he had established his own school to teach his philosophy and thoughts on Judaism.  His school received a wide reputation.  The center in the Rhineland that he lived in was in the city of Worms.  Many rabbis came to live there and to study.  The Jewish community was well established by the 11th century (1000s), so they must have arrived there in the 10th century.  Emperor Henry IV was loaned money by them.  In return, he gave them privileges most Jews did not get in 1074 and 1090 by granting them freedom in commercial dealings, security of property, and imperial protection.
1st Crusade: 1096-199 Attacked Jews in northern France and especially in the Rhineland in Mainz, Worms, Speyer, cologne, etc.  and then in Prague, later in Salonica causing messianic ferment.  Jerusalem was captured by them in 1099 and Jews and Karaites were massacred.  1147 was the start of the 2nd Crusade happening in France and the Rhineland started by a Monk, Rudolf.  
Along came the 1st Crusade and life changed forever.  Jews were slaughtered in Europe by the knights who were on their way to Palestine to kill the Muslims who had taken the Holy Land.  When they got there, they slaughtered the Jews, too, since they thought them vile along with the Muslims, and they all looked alike to them.  Then both Muslim and Jew fought together against the Crusaders.  Worms was decimated during this First Crusade.                                                                                  
3rd Crusade was in 1189 to 1192 had wide support in England where Jews were attacked.  , especially in York in 1190.  
In Heilbronn, 200 Jews were slaughtered, among them being Johanan ben Eliakim the rabbi and Rabbi Asher, the president of the community.  The city of Ulm used to have a large Jewish community and own cemetery.  The Jews there had once enjoyed certain privileges granted by the municipal law of 1274 which was in force in Ravensburg, too.
In 1320 was the shepherds' Crusade with widespread attacks on the Jews in southern France and northern Spain.  They reestablished it only to see it destroyed again in 1349 during the Black Death outbreaks where they were blamed for it.  
 By the 14th century, Jews were living in Baldern, Geislingen, Goppingen, Schwabisch Hall, Rohrbach, Hohenburg, Horb, Reutlingen, Rottweil, Stuttgart, Sulm, Tubingen, Vaihingen and Wolfegg.  The counts of Wurttemberg owed money to the Jews of Colmar and Schlettstadt.  Louis IV canceled their indebtedness in 1346.  Henry VII in 1311 did the same thing to his Jewish moneylenders and so did Louis the Bavarian in 1316 in the case of the citizens of Esslingen.  In other words, these people stiffed the bank by having the head man cancel all the debts, leaving the Jews without any compensation.
Jewish Moneylenders as depicted in Spain in 1300s. 
Lets look at what Germany was like in those days.  It was made up of separate kingdoms.  Wurttemberg was one of them located in SW Germany.  Jews had come to live there in 6 cities:.  They came to live in Bopfingen in 1241; Ulm in 1243;  Esslingen  and Oehringen in 1253;  Calw in 1284 and Weil in 1289.  Along came the knight, Rindfleisch, a Bavarian noble,  and his followers in 1298 and Jews were not only persecuted but massacred.  Rindfleisch led his men into a series of exterminatory attacks on the Jews throughout Franconia and the surrounding regions in 1298, after a Ritual Murder accusation at Rottingen.  Jews were always accused of such things in the Christian zeal to take revenge for killing Christ, as they kept saying.  Usually they would say that someone who had been murdered had been a Jew who did it needing blood to make matzos.  Knowing nothing of facts, Jews abhor blood and have kashrut laws as to how to eat meat without the blood as blood is forbidden in Judaism.  Because of Rindfleisch, 146 Jewish communities were annihilated.  In Wurttemberg alone, he had killed Jews in Creglingen, Ellwangen, Forchtenberg, Gartach, Goglingen, Ingelfingen, Kunzelsau, Leonberg, Mockmuhl, Mergentheim, Stetten, sindringen, Sontheim, Waldenburg, weinsberg, Widdern and Weikersheim.
How Jews were depicted

Bavaria was another southern German state.  Jews came to live in there during the same period as Wurttemberg. from at least the 10th century.  Major Jewish communities there were in Nuremberg, Augsburg, Regensburg, Furth, Munich, Pasau and Bamberg.  Jews were excluded from Upper Bavaria in 1276 and also suffered severely in the Rindfleisch massacres of 1298..  In the city of Armleder they suffered from persecution from 1336 to 1338 and were almost exterminated at the time of the Black Death in 1348 to 1349.  They were excluded altogether from 1551 to the 18th century.  In the early 19th century under most unfavorable conditions, many Jews left to go to the United States.  After all the horror of the Holocaust from 1939 to 1945, Jews returned and in 1990, 5,600 Jews were living in Bavaria.
King Edward I who expelled Jews from England in 1290-1655 for 365 years.  
These kingdoms did not always get along with each other.  On the night of April 19, 1316, the Bavarian party of Ulm brought in their Bavarian troops into the city of Ulm.  Ulm today is a city in the federal German state of Baden-Württemberg, situated on the River Danube. The city, whose population is estimated at almost 120,000 (2015), forms an urban district of its own and is the administrative seat of the Alb-Donau district. Ulm, founded around 850, is rich in history and traditions as a former Free Imperial City.  Free for who?  .Rumor was that a Jew helped them to sneak in.  The Austrian party, the majority, appeared  and drove out the Bavarians.  To remember the event of the Jewish treachery, the church instituted a mass, but this horrible exercise  ended  finally  6 years later.
Then the Bavarians gained possession of Ulm.  New persecutions of Jews broke out with the Jews now being charged with being the enemies of the Christians and with stealing and desecrating the host.  The host is the bread and wine used in their mass which is part of their Eucharist, and the bread represents Christ's body.  The knights almost annihilated the community of Esslingen in 1334.  Two years later, more knights persecuted the Jews in Hohenburg, Landenbach, Mergentheim, Weikersheim and Widdern.  The end of 1348 was even worse when the plague and the German ganaticism caused destruction on the Jewish communities of Baldern, bopfingen, ellwangen, Esslingen, Goppingen, Geislingen, Schwabisch Hall, Heilbronn, Hohebach, Horb, Krailsheim, Mengen, Mergentheim, Nagold, Oehringen, Ravensburg, Reutlingen, Rottweil, Stuttgart, Sulgen, Sulm, Ulm Vaihingen, Waldenburg, Weilderstadt, and Widdern.

This is how the kingdoms prospered on the lives of Jews.  The Jews of Ulm, for example, had to pay for protection with large sums to the municipal council, to the citizens, and to the counts of Helfenstein.  The money taken from the Jews became a bone of contention among the German cities, the emperor and the counts.  They all wanted money from Jews.  These inter-Gentile arguments led to renewed plundering of the Jews.

 The Jews by this time had some friends in high places, however, and some counts and rulers united against the plunderers.  Then the big man himself, the emperor, demanded his share in their plunder in 1374 and he was ignored.
Emperor and King of Bohemia Charles IV/Wenceslaus
 That caused the emperor to make war on these cities, and so he confiscated their possessions and compelled them to pay high taxes.  He was Charles IV (CzechKarel IV.GermanKarl IV.LatinCarolus IV; 14 May 1316 – 29 November 1378), born Wenceslaus, who was the second King of Bohemia from the House of Luxembourg, and the first King of Bohemia to also become Holy Roman Emperor.  The city of Ulm couldn't raise the exorbitant sums demanded by the emperor, so the Jews came forward to help them out.  One of the Jews that helped was Sacklin, son in law of Moses of Ehlingen, who was a citizen of Ulm.  The emperor declared the Jews to be under the ban in order to exact money from the few wealthy ones still living in the city.  They had to pay large sums to have the edict  revoked.

By 1385, the federation of cities declared void all promissory notes held by the Jews within its jurisdiction.  In some cases the city released the Christian debtors from paying interest on their loans while in other cases it annulled part of the debt.  In 1387 the federation issued a decree that no German or Italian merchant could have money transactions with Jews.  Emperor Wenceslaus then canceled in 1390 all debts owing to the Jews, and demanded that the citizens owning money  pay him instead!

Their excuse in treating Jews so horribly was that they said that Jews, both their body and souls,  were the property of the emperor so he could do with them as he pleased.  He therefore said that the usury of the Jews had become intolerable.  The counts of Wurttemberg felt differently.  They permitted the Jews to live in Stuttgart in 1434; Kirchheim in 1435; Tubingen in 1459; Cannstadt and Goppingen in 1462, but on definitely stated conditions and of course, upon payment of large large taxes for protection.  They couldn't let the cash cow slip through their fingers, could they.  Count Ulrich  (1433-1480) was commissioned by the emperor to protect the Jews, but at the same time to rigorously suppress their usury.  The fines imposed were to be sent to the imperial treasury, another way of milking the Jews out of the money.  So, money flowed into the coffers of the count AND of the emperor.

Again in 1498 Jews were expulsed from the land.  Count Eberhard im Bart (1459-1496) was pronounced an enemy of the Jews.  He forced Jews out from Tubingen in 1477; and again in 1495-3 years after the Spanish edict of 1492, he decreed they were to be expelled from his lands.  He followed it up with his decree of June 14, 1498 and the Jews of Ulm who happened to be wealthy and educated, had to leave by August 6th of 1498.  The Jews could not take any property with them, and the emperor demanded that the people of Ulm had to mention him in their prayers because he had delivered them  from the Jews.

The Jews living in Ravensburg was a bad one, also.  A blood accusation was brought against them caused Emperor Sigismund to burn some Jews at the stake and to expel others in 1438.  Then years later in 1448 they were again admitted in and then expelled again in 1490.  Jews living in Heilbronn by 1414 were expelled by 1469.  7 years later the city council insisted on a general expulsion even though there was an imperial order to protect the Jews.  Jews were expelled from cities scattered among the villages and then often they would return to the urban communities.

Jews therefore were living in Gmund and Reutlingen in 1433;  in Brackenheim  and Nersheim in 1434;  in in Giengen in 1486;  and in Lauterburg, Pflaumloch and Uzmemmingen in 1491.

Between the late 1400s to 1806, no Jews lived in Ulm again.  Individual Jews were permitted to enter Ulm on a temporary basis, and the citizens were warned against having any business transactions with them.

When Wurttemberg (part of the German Federal Republic today)  became a dukedom, the treatment of the Jews was the same.  All money transactions with them were forbidden.  These ordinances were renewed and enforced.
Yoseph ben Gershom Loanz aka JOSEL OF ROSHEIM 1480-1554,
German communal leader and writer.
elected in 1510 by the Alsatian communities as their rep for the German Jewry
before the secular authorities, had to intercede in time of danger.  In 1532 he tried to
stem the dangerous activities of Solomon Molcho.  In 1543 he defended the Jews against the attacks of LUTHER.  
 Not even Josel of Rosheim, a great Jewish advocate for his people,  could travel through the country.  Strict ordinances were issued regarding the Jewish commercial and religious status.  In 1536 Jews traveling through the country were under great stresses and attacks, and no attention was paid to the repeated imperial edicts for their protection.  Josel was able to regulate the convoy charges of traveling Jews, but Duke Christoph, who gave him the agreement, was so much of an enemy to the Jews that in the Reichstag of Augsburg in 1559, he advocated their expulsion from Germany.

Frederick I (1593-1608) faced the most violent opposition against establishing a Jewish mercantile association under the direction of Abraham Calorno and Maggino Gabrieli but failed miserably.  It never came about.

Eberhard Ludwig reigned (1677-1733) who had a good attitude towards Jews.  He permitted them to go to the fairs in 1706 and to trade in horses in 1707.  The Countess of Wurben got free trade for the Jews of Freudenthal in 1728 and for those of Gochsheim in 1729.
Joseph ben Issachar Susskind or Joseph Suss Oppenheimer
         Under Carl Alexander (1733-1737) Joseph Suss Oppenheimer (1698-1738) was appointed a privy factor, and so a financial councilor to the duke, and through his influence, several Jews were permitted to live in Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg.  Oppenheimer tried to consolidate the duchy's finances and free its ruler from dependence on grants from the estates.  His modern financial methods aroused much opposition and when the duke died, he was accused of embezzling state finances.

Oppenheimer's subserviency to the duke caused him the enmity of the people.  When the duke died in 1737, he was in trouble.  He was disgraced and executed in 1738 by hanging in Stuttgart, accused instead of having sexual relations with Christian women, something strictly against the law.    He refused to save his own life by accepting baptism to Christianity.  .   The next year, all Jews were mercilessly expelled but soon permitted to return. Jews had been there since 1521 and then expelled by law and came and resettled again at the end of the 1600s.   However, they were severely restricted in their Judaism as well as in their business.  People were warned against from having any dealings with them concerning money.  Court factors were treated more leniently, and important government contracts were given to them in 1759, 1761, 1764 in spite of objections from the masses.  it took until 1864 that Jews of Wurttemberg received equal rights with gentiles.  In 1933, there were 10,023 Jews living in Wurttemberg and then, the Holocaust starting strongly by 1939.  By 1990 there were only a few hundred Jews there.

Karl Eugen, Ludwig (1793-1795) and Friedricfh (1795-1797) treated Jews considerately.  These rulers were the last of the line of Catholic dukes.  Under the succeeding Protestant regime, a new era dawned for the Jews of Wurttemberg, and all of Germany.

Resource: Jewish Encyclopedia on Wurttemberg by Isidore Singer and Theodor Kroner
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia


  1. i read in old testament prophecy that the tables will turn and the nations will come to the jewish people in humility instead of the proud disdain they are guilty of in the past and now in the present.

    that will be when Messiah makes true peace and is ruling on the earth :)

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  3. Germany did help Israel a lot after 1948 and compensated them with things like a long taxi-sort of a taxi- and bus combined, called a Sheroot, I think it was. Today, I don't think they are backing them in the UN. That's where the help is needed today. All this BDS business is the worst. I wrote an article that many are reading about just this; the countries that voted against Israel in 1948 and what happened to them, etc. Germany, after what they had done to Jews in killing 6 million, has actually done very well since then with the USA's assistance. We'll see what continues to happen.