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RINDFLEISCH:

German nobleman of Röttingen, Franconia; persecutor of the Jews in the thirteenth century. During the civil war waged between Adolph of Nassau and Albrecht of Austria, claimants for the imperial crown of Germany, bloody persecutions of the Jews broke out. A report was spread that the Jewish inhabitants of the little town of Röttingen had desecrated a host. Rindfleisch, a nobleman of that place, pretending to have received a mission from heaven to avenge this desecration and to exterminate "the accursed race of the Jews," gathered a mob around him and burned the Jews of Röttingen at the stake (April 20, 1298). Under his leadership the mob went from town to town, killing all the Jews that fell into their power, save those who accepted Christianity. The great community of Würzburg was entirely annihilated (July 24).

The Jews of Nuremberg sought refuge in the fortress. Being attacked, they defended themselves, but, although assisted by humane Christian citizens, they were overpowered and butchered (Aug. 1). Among the victims was Mordecai ben Hillel, a pupil of Jehiel ben Asher, with his wife and children. In Bavaria the congregations of Ratisbon and Augsburg—and they alone—escaped the slaughter, owing to the protection granted them by the magistrates.

The persecutions spread from Franconia and Bavaria to Austria, and within six months about 120 congregations, numbering 100,000 Jews, were swept away. The end of the civil war, following the death of Adolph of Nassau, terminated these persecutions and delivered the Jews from further fear.

Bibliography:
  • Grätz, Gesch. vii. 252 et seq., Leipsic, 1873;
  • Jost, Gesch. vii. 255, Berlin, 1827.
D. S. Man.
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