• Isaac Simon

The Rindfleisch Movement Massacre & Cossack Riots, 1298/1648

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

On This Day in Jewish History: June 24th, 1298/1648




2 brutal massacres took place against the Jewish people on this day. .

The year 1298 was a particularly brutal year for German Jews. The Rindfleisch movement, a wave of massacres against the Jewish people, fueled the fire, becoming the first wide ranging persecution in Germany since the dawn of the 1st Crusade.


In the Spring of 1298, the Jews of Röttingen, were accused of gathering and destroying a “consecrated host” which many Christians viewed as sacrilegious. Rindfleisch, a german knight formed a mob and proceeded to burn every Rottingen Jew alive. Rindfleisch justified his actions by arguing that he received authorization from heaven to exterminate the region’s Jews as retaliation against the desecrated sacrilege. Rindfleisch and his mob of violent barbarians continued to use the authorization as a means of validating their actions. After Röttingen, they went town by town, killing every Jew under their control. Entire Jewish communities in Würzburg, Bamber, Dinkelsbühl, Nördlingen and Forchheim were demolished.


If Bogdan Chimielnicki had taken a chapter out of Rindfleisch’s playbook, nobody would be surprised. Chmielnicki, the likes of whom were mentioned in a previous post on May 25th, led the Cossacks and their peasant allies against the perceived mistreatment from the Poles and Jews in 1648. What followed was a wide ranging revolt that extended into Ukraine. Towns and villages were tattered to pieces and Jews were brutalized from every angle, tortured and killed.


In the beginning, the town of Tulchin was safe. Secured by six hundred Polish soldiers and armed Jews. Initially, when the Cossacks attacked the town, they couldn’t get past the fort’s walls. So, they negotiated with the Poles, offering them an escape from harm in exchange for their Jews. The Poles, who proceded to lift the fort’s gate for the Cossacks, were subsequently killed as well.


Tulchin’s Jews were presented with the classic medieval choice: death or conversion. OTD, a thousand Jews chose to die Jewish than “live” as converted Christians.



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