Accused of Ritual Murder
accusations against Jews were common in the Middle Ages and persisted
into modern times.
In 1171, the Jews of Blois, in central France, were falsely
accused of having crucified a Christian child during the Passover
holidays and having thrown his body into the Loire River. This
accusation was one of the first in Medieval Europe, but by no
means the last. Over the following centuries such accusations
led to the deaths of many innocent Jews.
the year 4931
evil appeared in France, too, and great destruction in the
city of Blois, in which at that time there lived about forty
Jews. It happened on that evil day, Thursday, toward evening,
that the terror came upon us. A Jew rode up to water his
horse; a common soldier -- may his name be blotted out of
the book of life -- was also there watering the horse of
his master. The Jew bore on his chest an untanned hide,
but one of the corners had become loose and was sticking
out of his coat. When, in the gloom, the soldier's horse
saw the white side of the hide, it was frightened and sprang
back, and it could not be brought to water.
The Christian servant hastened back to his master and said:
"Hear, my lord, what a certain Jew did. As I rode behind
him toward the river in order to give your horses a drink,
I saw him throw a
little Christian child, whom the Jews have killed, into
the water. When I saw this, I was horrified and hastened
back quickly for fear he might kill me too. Even the horse
under me was so frightened by the splash of the water when
he threw the child in that it would not drink." The soldier
knew that his master would rejoice at the fall of the Jews,
because he hated a certain Jewess, influential in the city.
The master told the story to the ruler of the city, who
had all the Jews of Blois thrown into jail. The soldier
was given a trial by ordeal -- he was thrown into water,
for if he floated it meant he had to be telling the truth.
He floated. The Jews of Blois were moved from jail to a
As they were led forth they were told: "Save your lives.
Leave your religion and turn to us." They mistreated them,
beat them, and tortured them, hoping that they would exchange
their glorious religion for something worthless, but they
refused. Rather did they encourage each other and say to
one another: "Persist in the religion of the Almighty!"
When the Jews refused to convert, the house was burned with
all of them inside, but the chronicler says that the bodies
of the victims were not harmed and remained intact even
There were about thirty-two holy souls who offered themselves
as a sacrifice to their Creator; and God
smelled the sweet savor, him whom He has chosen does
He cause to come nigh unto Him.