Ariel Toaff - Blood Passover
European jews ans ritual murder
This book courageously faces one of the most controversial topics in the history of the Jews of Europe, one which has always served as a war-horse of anti-Semitism: the accusation, leveled against the Jews for centuries, of abducting and killing Christian children to use their blood in Jewish Passover rites. Where Italy is concerned, nearly all the ritual murder trials were held in the north-eastern regions, characterized by large settlements of German-origin Jews (Ashkenazim). The most famous case of this kind occurred in Trent, Italy, in 1475, as a result of which many local Jews were indicted and sentenced to death for the murder of the boy who was to become known as “Simon of Trent”, and was venerated as a Saint for several centuries, until only a few decades ago. An unprejudiced rereading of the original trial records, however, together with the records of several other trials, viewed within the overall European context and supplemented by an exact knowledge of the relevant Hebrew texts, throws new light on the ritual and therapeutic significance of blood in Jewish culture, leading the author of the present study to the reluctant conclusion that, particularly where Ashkenazi Jewry was concerned, the "Blood Libel" accusation was not always an invention.