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The pogrom of 1349

On 14 July 1349 all the Jews living in Frankfurt were murdered and their houses burnt. At that time the Jews lived in the city centre south of Frankfurt cathedral. They were under the protection of the emperor and classed as "vassals of the emperor", so that the emperor received an annual payment from the Frankfurt Jews.
One month before the eradication of the Jews King Karl IV, who was residing in the city at the time, pledged his rights in the Jews (that is, the taxes due to him) to the city of Frankfurt. Two weeks after his departure, the pogrom happened on 14 July.
For a long time historians assumed that the flagellants, religious fanatics who had been roaming Europe since 1348, had attacked Frankfurt. Given the spreading plague and the claim that the Jews had poisoned wells, the flagellants were supposed to have massacred the Jews spontaneously.
Recent historical research, however, has shown that there was no question of an outbreak of spontaneous hate against the Jews: the hordes of flagellants generally appeared only after the pogroms, which took place in other German cities as well. Today it is believed that the pogrom was a carefully plotted massacre in which the king and his nobles and also the city council and guilds were involved. The king, who had promised to protect the Jews, offered no protection outside his own feudal lands if this served his interests. After the king transferred his claims against the Jews to the city of Frankfurt, the city's patricians and guilds probably decided in their own interest to settle their debts by murdering the Jews and seizing their houses.
This was the second time that the Jewish community had been wiped out after the pogrom of 1241, but this time noone was able to save themselves through baptism. It is impossible to establish the number of dead, but documents of the time report the deaths of some 60 men and women.








© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources