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1340 – 1410 HASDAI BEN JUDAH CRESCAS (Spain)
Rabbi, rationalist philosopher, poet, and statesman. Crescas was a student of Nissim Ben Reuben (RaN) Gerondi (c. 1310–1376) . His, Or Adonai(Light of the Lord) was part of a major work he wanted to write ( Ner Elohim) as a reaction to Maimonides, but he only succeeded in writing the first part. He also wrote Bittul Ikkarei ha-Notzerim(Refutation of the Christian Principles) as part of his efforts to fight against Christian pressure to convert. In 1390 he was appointed as the judge of all the Jews of the Kingdom of Aragon. During the anti-Jewish riots of 1391 he tried his best to protect the Jewish community, unfortunately his only son was murdered in Barcelona during the riots.
1343 April 19, WACHENHEIM (Germany)
A pre-Easter massacre that soon spread to surrounding communities.
1348 – 1349 THE BLACK PLAGUE (Europe)
One third of Europe’s population died from the Black Death (Bubonic plague). Though many Jews were among the dead, they were accused by local church leaders and tortured to confess that they had poisoned the wells (Chillon) in order to kill Christians. During the next few years – despite the protests of Pope Clement VI – over 60 large and 150 small Jewish communities were destroyed as a direct result of these accusations. These included untold atrocities in cities such as Basel, Cologne, Strasbourg, Worms, Zurich and others. The plague, which originated in China, was spread for the most part by rats which came aboard ships from Asia to European ports. It is estimated that 25 million people perished within three years.
1348 June, NORTHERN SPAIN
Black Plague massacres began in Barcelona and Cervera.
1348 September 21, PLAGUE RIOTS SPREAD TO SWITZERLAND
Bern, Chillon, Zurich. In the Castle of Chillon on Lake Geneva, Jews under torture admitted to being given poison to place in wells around Venice.
1348 September 26, POPE CLEMENT VI
Issued a Bull contradicting the libel against the Jews. In it he stated that the Jews were suffering just like the rest of Europe. Other rulers issued similar denunciations, but to little effect.
1348 November 22, RIOTS REACHED BAVARIA AND SWABIA (Germany)
Jews in eighty towns including Augsberg, Munich and Wurzburg were attacked.
1349 January, – August, ATROCITIES (Germany)
Spread from city to city up the Rhine; cities included Strasbourg, Worms and Cologne.
1349 January 16, BASEL (Switzerland)
The guilds brought up charges against the Jews accusing them of poisoning the wells. Despite an attempted defense by the town council, 600 Jews together with the rabbi were burned to death. One hundred and forty children were taken from their parents and forcible baptized. The victims were left unburied, the cemetery destroyed and the synagogue turned into a church. The remaining Jews were expelled and not readmitted until 1869.
1349 January 22, SPEYER (Germany)
The Jewish community was destroyed. The Jewish inhabitants were either killed, converted or fled to Heidelberg. All their property – including the Jewish cemetery – was confiscated.
1349 February 14, ST. VALENTINES DAY (Strasbourg)
Earlier that month, a riot ensued in the town after corn prices fell. The Jews were accused of a conspiracy. The mayor and some members of the city council had voted against the action and were removed from office by the tradesmen. The entire Jewish population (2000) was dragged to the cemetery and burned to death. Only those who accepted Christianity were allowed to live. The new council voted that Jews could not return for 100 years and their property and possessions were divided amongst the burghers. Within six months Emperor Charles IV pardoned the town council for the murders. Twenty years later, Jews were re-admitted.
1349 February 22, ZURICH (Switzerland)
Although the town council initally tried to protect the Jews of the town, they were forced to give in to the mob, resulting in the murder of many of the Jewish inhabitants.
1349 March 1, (10 Adar I 5109) WORMS (GERMANY)
Riots broke out in the town. Many Jews fled to Heidelberg, others in desperation set fire to their homes or were murdered. An estimated 420 people died that day. Their property was seized by the town.
1349 March 21, ERFURT (Germany)
After a mob marched into the Jewish quarter carrying a flag with a cross, the Jews tried to defend themselves. Over a hundred Jews were killed and much of the ghetto burned.
1349 August 23, COLOGNE (Germany)
As the riots began, many of the residents took shelter in the synagogue. When it was attacked as well, the Jews inside set fire to it rather then be taken by the mob outside. Most of those who had not taken refuge in the synagogue were also murdered. Their property was confiscated by the Church, with the municipality and the Count of Juelich each fighting over their share.
1349 August 24, MAYENCE AND BRESLAU (Germany)
After a mob marched into the Jewish quarter of Mayence carrying a flag with a cross, three hundred young Jews tried to defend themselves. Although as many as 200 of the attackers were killed, they soon overcame the defenders. Rather then be converted, the Jews set their houses on fire. 6,000 Jews died and another 4,000 died in Breslau.
1349 September 29, ALBERT II (Austria)
After an attack on the Jews at Krems, he forcibly ended the riots. Austria was thus one of the few places of relative security in Europe.
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