Judenburg (Part 3)

Tishrei 3, 5777

October 5, 2016


Palestinian terror

According to the statistics provided by hakolyehudi, between Rosh Hashana 2015 and 2016, there were:

7550 Palestinian terror attacks targeting Israeli men, women, and children.

40 Israelis were murdered by terrorists.

650 Israelis were wounded by terrorists.

And the New Year has not started any better. In the last 24 hours:

*a 7-year-old boy was wounded by “rocks” near Kiryat Arba.

*an IDF soldier was wounded by a grenade thrown at soldiers at Al-Khader.

*a Border policeman was wounded by an IED at Abu Dis.

More than 20 “rock” and Molotov attacks took place throughout Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem.

The stupid comment of the day

John Kerry: “I want to be clear that we are not giving up on the Syrian people and we are not abandoning the pursuit of peace.”

John Kerry and Barack Obama gave up on Syria more than 200,000 dead Syrians ago when Obama pulled back on a coordinated strike with the French against Assad. We are not abandoning the pursuit of peace? With whom? Assad doesn’t want peace. Russia doesn’t want peace. Iran doesn’t want peace. And Hezbollah doesn’t want peace.

Exactly whom is the U.S. going to pursue peace with?

Meanwhile the Russian scorched-earth bombing campaign goes on, reducing Aleppo to rubble, one neighborhood at a time.

The latest stupid fauxtilla

A ship from Sweden loaded with 13 women “human rights” activists is about to be intercepted as it nears the Gaza coast. As usual, the ship will be towed to here in Ashdod. This will be nothing new to several of the people on board who have been intercepted and towed before . . . yawn . . .

An all-time record

August was the busiest month in the history of Ben-Gurion Airport with 2,178,087 passengers flying in or out. In order, the five most ‘traveled to’ destinations were:

1. Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris (90,118)

2. Ataturk airport in Istanbul (80,573)

3. Heraklion airport in Crete, Greece (77,483)

4. Antalya airport in Turkey (74,305)

5. JFK in New York (73,408)




From 3 days ago:

As regular readers of israelstreet know, there were no blogs during most of September as your humble servant and my wife made our way through Europe. What you did not know was that the trip took us through 17 countries from Lisbon, Portugal to Russia via trains, buses, ferries, and ships.

In many ways, it was an exhilarating journey, but in others it was utterly depressing, especially as we encountered the desolate remains of Jewry all over the continent culminating in a visit to Auschwitz and Birkenau. For the next few days I will share with you, dear reader, some of what we encountered–often by chance.

Judenburg (Part 1)

Judenburg (Part 2)


Following our experiences  in Lisbon and Barcelona, we headed north for fresh air to the mountainous, windswept country of Andorra which is home to a Jewish population of around 125–and a small synagogue that opened in 1997. After some hiking, we headed across France to the southern alpine city of Chambery, once the capital of the independent, medieval duchy of Savoy.

There was scant snow on the mountains last month.

There was scant snow on the mountains last month.

The medieval castle at Chambery–the home of the House of Savoy :


We came into Chambery by train on a cloudy, cool afternoon. With its curving streets, flowery marketplace, and lively outdoor restaurants, Chambery is charming–as long as you don’t think about its sordid past.

For it was from Chambery that one of the most villainous frauds of the Middle Ages came, one that led directly to the murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews. It is a fraud that continues to be perpetrated today by Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO.

In the Middle Ages, Chambery was at first a haven for Jews as a place of refuge after being expelled from France in 1182 and again in 1306. By the mid-1300s, the city had a flourishing Jewish population with its own Rabbi and synagogue.

But in 1348, the bubonic plague began to devastate central Europe, and, as always, the Christians looked for a scapegoat. That scapegoat quickly became the Jewish community and its Rabbi Peyret. After a series of confessions produced through torture, Rabbi Peyret was accused of poisoning the wells of Chambery and sending out his emissaries to poison the wells of other Christian towns and villages in the region and beyond.

The idea was that drinking the poisoned water caused the plague.

A number of Jews were arrested in Chambery and put on trial while other Jews in the city “for their own safety” were placed in the castle. Of course, the trial ended with the Jews being found guilty at which point a mob from the town overpowered the soldiers at the castle, dragged out many of the Jews, and butchered them in the street. Others were burned alive.

The “poisoned well” fraud quickly spread through the region with horrific results. The entire Jewish community of Basel was burned at the stake. A year later the entire Jewish communities of Brussels and Antwerp were exterminated.

A “flowery” drawing from 1349 showing Jews of Flanders being burned at the stake because of poisoning wells:


Drawing in Belgian manuscript Antiquitates Flandriae, dated 1349, now housed in the Royal Library of Belgium (ms 13076/77)

According to historians (see for example, Will Durant’s famed “The Renaissance”), 510 Jewish communities in central Europe were wiped off the map during the mid-1300s and their Jewish residents slaughtered.

From the Jewish History Source Book, we have the following account about what happened at Strasbourg, about 295 miles north of Chambery.

“THE JEWS ARE BURNT” Strasbourg, February 14, 1349

On Saturday–that was St. Valentine’s Day–they burnt the Jews on a wooden platform in their cemetery. There were about two thousand people of them. Those who wanted to baptize themselves were spared. [Some say that about a thousand accepted baptism.] Many small children were taken out of the fire and baptized against the will of their fathers and mothers. And everything that was owed to the Jews was cancelled, and the Jews had to surrender all pledges and notes that they had taken for debts.

The council, however, took the cash that the Jews possessed and divided it among the working-men proportionately. The money was indeed the thing that killed the Jews. If they had been poor and if the feudal lords had not been in debt to them, they would not have been burnt. After this wealth was divided among the artisans; some gave their share to the Cathedral or to the Church on the advice of their confessors.

Thus were the Jews burnt at Strasbourg, and in the same year in all the cities of the Rhine, whether Free Cities or Imperial Cities or cities belonging to the lords. In some towns they burnt the Jews after a trial, in others, without a trial. In some cities the Jews themselves set fire to their houses and cremated themselves.

In sum, it is virtually impossible to go to any place in Europe where a Jewish community did not once flourish–only to be wiped out.

Chambery is the story of Lisbon and the story of Barcelona and the story of Judenburg, and it is the story of Europe.

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