Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Antisemitism the Tsarist Way - The Blood Libel Trial

The Russian Empire's antisemitism was just as morally reprehensible as antisemitism in other parts of Europe.  But it had some unique features, in particular it was often rather short of Jews suitable to persecute.  When it did engage in active persecution it took some strange forms.  This podcast is about a book covering the trial of a particularly incongruous victim.  He was a successful manager and fairly unobservant Jew who would not have attracted much attention.  His misfortune was to be the Jew who happened to live closest to the place the body of a murdered Russian boy. 

He had been stabbed multiple times and this somehow put some people in mind of the pervasive notion going back to the Middle Ages that Jews required the blood of Christian children for their religious ceremonies.  There was, needles to say, not a scrap of evidence against the unfortunate Jew.  The way the trial unfolded reveals a lot about the state of Russia at the time.  A fascinating discussion that is well worth downloading.

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