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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 10Jews in Early Modern Poland$
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Gershon David Hundert

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774310

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774310.001.0001

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The Accusation of Ritual Murder in Poland, 1500‒1800

The Accusation of Ritual Murder in Poland, 1500‒1800

(p.99) The Accusation of Ritual Murder in Poland, 1500‒1800
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 10

Zenon Guldon

Jacek Wijaczka

, Jolanta Kisler-Goldstein
Liverpool University Press

This chapter describes the occurrences of accusations of ritual murder against Jews between 1500 and 1800 in the territories of Poland. In that period, these lands constituted the ‘main centre and reserve of world Jewry’. The marked increase in ritual murder trials in the mid-eighteenth century forced the Jewish Council of Four Lands to send a representative to the Apostolic See in 1758. Both Benedict XI and Clement XIII took the side of the Jews, defending them against the unjust accusations. In 1776, the Sejm prohibited the use of torture; this resolution was of great significance for future ritual murder trials. There are relatively few primary sources for ritual murder trials from this period. The sources are, first of all, trial records and court sentences concerning accusations of ritual murder. Much more information about such accusations against Jews and the ritual murder trials can be found in antisemitic literature. Numerous works of this kind contributed to the widespread belief that Jews do, indeed, use Christian blood for ritual purposes.

Keywords:   ritual murder, Jews, Poland, ritual murder trials, Jewish Council of Four Lands, antisemitic literature

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