Ibn Warraq: Jews and the Crusades (Part 9)
Posted by Robert on February 5, 2013 6:34 AM
The Crusaders “moved onto Metz, where twenty-two Jews perished”.  This roving band of Crusaders then returned to Cologne where they discovered that Emich had left, and so “proceeded down the Rhine, spending from 24 to 27 June in massacring the Jews at Neuss, Wevelinghofen, Eller and Xanten. They they dispersed, some returning home, others probably merging with the army of Godfrey of Bouillon”. 
A certain Volkmar, about whom we know very little, also set out for the Rhineland with a band of over ten thousand men to join Peter the Hermit, in April 1096. They arrived in Prague at the end of May, and on June 30 began massacring the Jews in the city despite the protests of Bishop Cosmas. The victims numbered several thousand.  They proceeded to Hungary but the Hungarians did not approve of their behaviour and attacked Volkmar and his men, many of whom were killed. We have no knowledge of what happened to Volkmar himself. 
The third of the murderous triumvirate, Gottschalk, left with a large company of crusaders for the Rhineland and Bavaria soon after Volkmar’s departure in April. On the way they paused at Ratisbon to massacre the Jews there. But on Gottschalk and his men’s arrival in Hungary the tables were turned as the Hungarians did not appreciate the Crusaders’ pillaging and looting. King Coloman of Hungary did not trust them, and eventually had his army massacre them to a man. The Hungarians dealt in similar fashion with Emich and his army which was utterly routed in a fierce battle at Wiesselburg.
It is worth remarking at this point that several noblemen and bishops tried to protect the Jews, occasionally risking their own lives, though many may have been bribed, and others were hoping to save the Jews so as to see them eventually baptised. The common people also showed, on occasion, some compassion and pity for the plight of the Jews and gave them shelter as in Cologne. Some Christian chroniclers condemned the massacres in no uncertain terms, as for example this anonymous Saxon writer , “…the enemy of mankind lost no time sowing tares among the wheat, raising up false prophets, mingling untrue brothers and licentious women with the army of Christ. By their hypocrisy, by their lies, by their impious corruptions, they caused dissension in the army of the Lord….They decided to avenge Christ upon the pagans and the Jews. This is why they killed 900 Jews in the city of Mainz without sparing the women and children….Indeed, it was pitiful to see the great and many heaps of bodies that were carried out of the city of Mainz on carts…”.
But then again we find many Christian accounts of the massacres that clearly approve of what befell “the impious Jews” who were “truly enemies of the Church”, as in those written by the monk Bernhold and the chronicler Fruitolf. 
 Runciman, op.cit., p. 139.
 Ibid., p. 140.
 Léon Poliakov. The History of Anti-Semitism. Vol.I, From the Time of Christ to the Court Jews. Trans. Richard Howard. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003 [Original Edn. in French Calmann-Lévy, Paris, 1955], p. 45.
 Runciman., p. 140.
 Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores, [MGH, SS.] edd. G.H.Pertz, T.Mommsen et al, (Hanover: Reichsinstitut für ältere deutsche Geschichteskunde, 1826- ) Vol. 6, Annales sax. p. 729.
 See MGH, SS Vol.5, p.464; Vol.6, p.208; quoted in Léon Poliakov. The History of Anti-Semitism. Vol.I, From the Time of Christ to the Court Jews. Trans. Richard Howard. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003 [Original Edn. in French Calmann-Lévy, Paris, 1955], p. 51.
 Dom Martin Bouquet, Recueil des historiens des Gaules et de la France, Paris 1752, [also 1865] Vol. 14, p.642, quoted by Poliakov The History of Anti-Semitism. Vol.I, From the Time of Christ to the Court Jews. Trans. Richard Howard. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003 [Original Edn. in French Calmann-Lévy, Paris, 1955], p. 48.
To be continued.
Article printed from Jihad Watch: http://www.jihadwatch.org/2013/02/ibn-warraq-jews-and-the-crusades-part-9.htmlURLs in this post: