The Butcher's Tale: Murder and Anti-Semitism in a German Town - Book Report/Review Example

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Name 14th November 2011 The Butcher's Tale: Murder and Anti-Semitism in a German Town The tale narrated by Helmut Walser smith is a compelling analysis of German anti-Semitism in action. The book is centered on case of a young man named Ernst Winter who lived in Konitz, a small town in West Prussia…
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The Butchers Tale: Murder and Anti-Semitism in a German Town
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Download file to see previous pages The book shows how the whole town gradually started believing that Ernst had been murdered and dismembered by the Jews as a part of their rituals. The author spares no detail of the murder and describes the discovery of parts in gory details. However motive is to focus the attention on anti-Semitism rather than details of the murder. “Blood libel” is an accusation which has been levied against the Jews since the twelfth century. This accusation claims that Jews murder the children of Christians in order to use their blood in religious rituals. These charges have been repeatedly declared as falsehood both by the Church as well as the Jews. However the Christian masses have believed in them since the middle ages and Jews all over the world have been accused of ritual murders at one point of time or the. These charges were also levied and supported by the anti-Semitic press. Over time the nature in which murder was claimed to have taken place changed and people also included sexual context into these murders. Many books have been written on these topics which discuss the evidence for and against the ritualistic murder by the Jews. In the case described in the book Christians charged several Jews with murder and the foremost amongst them were the Kosher Butchers of the town. The historical context has been laid out by the author in the longest chapter of the book. The most interesting part of the book has been the analysis of anti-Semitism, nationalism, racism and private malice which existed against the Jews in and around the town of Konitz. He analyses how many people were jealous of the success of Jews and considered them to have taken away what rightfully belonged to the German people. He also explains this jealousy and malice existed in many locales of Germany; however the convergence of these forces along with the murder of the young man resulted in the waves of violence which took place. The waves of violence claimed no lives but caused major loss to property and business. Most of the business which was affected belonged to Jews. Author describes in great detail how subdued anger against the Jews came out during these protests. It was only due to the presence of Prussian troops that loss of life was prevented. If the troops were not active or partial the incident might have assumed far greater and deadly proportions. Smith has presented detailed research in order to find the reasons for this anti-Jewish mob violence. In the testimonies which were published in newspapers; the most detailed testimonies were given by those who worked in Jewish households. Smith claims that class conflict, personal malevolence and professional competition did play a role in this but the biggest role was played by the journalists who came from Berlin. Anti-Semitic journalists who arrived in the town as soon as the case began kept the pot boiling by fabricating evidence and reporting every new revelation. Even the most dubious of witnesses were allowed to give testimonies by these journalists. All this played to the darkest fears of the population and made the Jews even more guilt in their eyes. Thus Smith claims that an organized sort of modern anti-Semitic politics played a very important role in flaring up the passions and causing the waves of viol ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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