Hermann Leberecht Strack.

The Jew and human sacrifice; human blood and Jewish ritual, an historical and sociological inquiry online

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Strack,


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The Jew


and human sacrifice




THE JEW AND HUMAN SACRIFICE



The Jew '

AND

Human Sacrifice

[Human Blood and Jewish Rituai]



An Historical and Sociological Inquiry

BY,

y

HERMANN L. STRACK, d.d., n.u.

(Rsgius Profeiior of Theology at Berlin University)



[Translatfd from thf %th edition With (orrfctiom, new Pre/act
and additions b'f the author\



NEW YORK
THE BLOCH PUBLISHING CO.

Loadon : Cope and Fciiwick



The English iramka'mi by Henry 'Blatuhamp, B.^., tx-icholar of Qhr'ut's
College, Cambridge

Entered at Stationers' Hall by Cope and Tenwic\
Qopyright in ^imerica by the Block 'Publishing Qo.



CONTENTS



PAGE

From the Preface to the first Three editions 7

From the Preface to the Fourth edition 9

Preface to the Re-written Re-modelled work (5th-8th

editions) 12

Preface to the English Translation 17

I. Introduction — Bibliography 18

II. Human Sacrifice — "Blood Ritual" 30

III. Human Blood Serves to Ratify the given word . . 43

IV. The Blood of other Persons used for Healing

Purposes 60

V. Human Blood Cures Leprosy 62

VI. Utilisation of One's own blood 66

VII. Blood of Executed Persons : Hangman's Rope . . 70

VIII. Corpses and Parts of Corpses 77

IX. Animal Blood 85

X. Waste and Evacuations of Human and Animal

Bodies 88

XT. The Blood Superstition as a Cause of Crime . . 89

XII. Blood Superstition Among Criminals and its

Consequences 105

XIII. Superstition among Dements : Crimes Owing to

Religious Mania 118

XIV. What does the Jewish Religious Law say about
the partaking of Blood and the utilisation of

portions of Corpses 123



vi Contents



PAGE



XV. Popular Therapeutics of Blood Superstition

within the Jewish people 132

XVI. Is the use of Christian Blood required or allowed

for any rite whatever of the Jewish I'eligion ? . . 147

XVII. The Austrian Professor and Canon Aug. Rohling . 155

XVIII. The Pretended Evidence of History for Jewish

Ritual Murder 169

XIX. Contradiction of the "Blood Accusation" by

pious Jews as well as Christians 236

XX. About the Origin of the "Blood Accusation" . . 275

INDEX 287



ABBREVIATIONS IN BOOK TITLES
Be = Berlin Iv = Leipsic



FROM THE PREFACE TO THE FIRST THREE

EDITIONS

Every year, especially about Easter- time, there is
a revival of the accusation that the Jews, or, if not all
the Jews, certain Jews, make use of the blood of
Christians for purposes of ritual. The charge is bound
to be often repeated, so long as the replies to it are
limited to the contradiction and exposure of the

falsity of the reasons brought forward That

is why I discuss the accusation in connection with the
significance of blood as regards religious belief, and par-
ticularly as regards the superstitions of humanity at
large.

I expressed my opinion on the question, whether
the Jews use Christian blood for ritual purposes, as far
back as 1882, the year of the Tisza-Eszlar trial, in the
Evangelische Kirchen-Zeitung (12th August, No. 32).

Further investigations (apropos of the

Bernstein case, v.p. 144 sq.) convinced me more than
two years ago, that, whilst I was correct in my nega-
tive "answer to the charge, it was possible, and even
necessary, to base it upon a deeper foundation. I am
now compelled to publish the results of my fresh
researches by the renewal of the controversy about
ritual murder in consequence of the assassination of
an eight year old girl in Corfu during the night of the
12th to 13th April this year (v.p. S13 sq.) ... I have
made it my special business to let the facts speak for
themselves, and have almost confined



viii Preface

myself to quoting, without alteration, the actual state-
ments in the sources of information I have utilised :
so anybody who wishes can arrive at an unbiassed
judgment for himself.

The facts I have had to bring forward are, for the
greater part, of a very loathsome kind. But, in order
to cure the terrible disease of superstition, we must
first of all know the disease. . . . My exhortation to
our Christian priesthood, to our whole Christian
people is: Up and gird yourself for battle, not only
against unbelief, but also against superstition ! When
German Christendom, free from superstition, stands
firm in true belief in the crucified Saviour, risen from
the dead, the question, so far as concerns Germany,
whether Christian blood is ritually employed by
Jews, will be exploded and futile, for more reasons
than one.
2 July, 1891. H. L. Strack.



FROM THE PREFACE TO THE FOURTH

EDITION

I have occasion to be thankful for the success of
this volume. Most of the journals which used
formerly to talk about "Jewish blood-ritual" and
"Jewish ritual murder," have been for several
months gradually exchanging those phrases for
"Jewish blood-murder," "Jewish blood-supersti-
tion," avoiding direct reference to ritual. However,
they still try to prove to their readers, that blood-
murder and cases of blood-superstition are peculiar to
Judaism, and so they keep alive the idea that there
must be something ritual behind it all.

Still, the charge against the Jews of using human
blood is considerably less effective than it was up till
now. Accordingly, those persons who formerly em-
ployed it with great success as a means of getting up
an agitation, have abundantly emptied the vials of
their wrath over me, who, if I have not yet killed it,
have yet deadened its effect a great deal. In particu-
lar, O. Bachler (of the Staatsburger-Zeitung) , Balla (of
Das Volk), and E. Bauer (of the Neue Deutsche
Zeitung), have dared shamelessly to calumniate me as
a scholar, as a man and as a Christian, although they
knew the truth, or could have ascertained it without
any trouble. Nor did it suffice them to utter the
falsehood that Prof. Strack was hardly acquainted
with the elements of Hebrew grammar, and only
knew about the Talmud what the Rabbis had stuffed
him with; they had actually the effrontery to pre-



X Preface

sume that I was receiving monej^ from Jewish
quarters for my writings. Attempts are even made
to alienate from me the trust of my students, to
influence whom, for the benefit of our Evangelical
Church and our German fatherland, is both a heart-
felt need and a consolation to me in a life full of cares.
Were I descended from Abraham on my father's or
my mother's side, I should not have to blush. How-
ever, as it has been tried to fasten suspicion on me in
that respect also, I here affirm that all my ancestors
were of pure "Christian-German" descent, the men
mostly clergymen or teachers

In order to render the calumniations of myself
and the continuance of the blood-accusation extremely
impressive, the three persons named (together with
Carl Paasch and Normann-Schumann), after exalting
the Osservatore Cattolico, a paper which appears in
Milan, to the dignity of a " universal organ of the
Vatican," sent the stuff that suited their purposes to
Milan, and transferred it thence into their papers!
As the statements had been published in such a
"highly esteemed foreign journal," readers must be
at once convinced of their truth ! . . . .

If, on the discovery of a crime, distinct external
indications do not point to the perpetrator, inquiries
must be made into the possible motive for the deed.
Avarice, lust, revenge, jealousy, are motives known
to every coroner, and about which, in any given case,
he inquires in due course. But he ought likewise not
to omit to ask whether the motive might not have
been a superstitious one. On pp. 89 sq. I have given
numerous examples proving that blood-superstition
has often been a cause of crime. An accurate know-
ledge of superstitions will not seldom lead to the
discovery of the criminal, and in other cases prevent
following up a false scent. I may therefore recom-
mend this work to the attention of lawyers.



Preface xi

It is yet more requisite for clergymen and teachers
to pay heed to the truths propounded in this book.
He who has had the good fortune to grow up in a
God-fearing family, very often learns nothing about
either the ])arbarity and vices or the superstitions of
other social strata, and therefore readily believes it

to be all harmless or even denies its existence I

have now therefore pointed out, even more emphati-
cally than in the original edition, that superstition,
especially the '' blood- superstition,'' is even nowadays
very wide- spread, and that it has had in the past, as it
has in the present, deplorable, yes and horrible, con-
sequences.

18th Oct., 1892. H. L. Strack.



PREFACE TO THE RE-WRITTEN RE-MODELLED
WORK (5th— 8th EDITIONS)

Untruth does not become truth by frequent
repetition. But as long as it is repeated, it is a duty
incumbent on him who claims to be a champion of
truth, knowledge, and justice, to be continually ex-
posing the falsehood of his opponents' assertions, and
to state the real truth of the matter. Silence cannot
be refuted, and the endeavour to kill the defender
of truth by its adoption is only too general. If then
the protagonist of truth were actually silent and did
not show his power at all, how much more would not
conclusions be drawn therefrom against the cause
championed by him ! For my part I shall not keep
silent, so long as I can still wield the sword of mind,
and I am also taking measures that my words may be
known to those whom they are intended to influence.

I had indeed hoped, after my exposure of the
" blood-falsehood " in 1892, to be able to devote myself
entirely to different duties: what an enormous task
the last decades have imposed upon those investiga-
tors of the Old Testament who, rightly, consider the
essence of the old faith reconcilable with serious
scientific work 1 and how important it is to show that a
knowledge of Jewish literature can be acquired not
only by Jewish scholars, but also by at least a few
Christians ! And my hope seemed to be well-founded,
since Aug. Rohling thought it best to answer by
silence my crushing attack on him (ch. 17) ! Whilst
those who had till then calumniated me, viz., Bach-



PREij'ACE xiii

ler, Balla, and 13auer, made, so far as I was aware, no
further attempt to besmirch my good name.
Albertario's Ossermtore Cattolico {y. pp. 170 seq.) had
whimperingly appealed for help in the Neue Deutsche
Zeitung,^ and got none, because the few German
scholars, who had till then assumed the possibility of
ritual murders, recognised that they would put their
honour in the pillory if they attempted to give such
assistance. Bauer's Neue Deutsche Zeitung collapsed
in Leipsic, and the Volk, unfit for the struggle of life
in Berlin, fled into a corner. Abbe David Albertario
was condemned in 1898 to three years' loss of liberty
on account of revolutionary disturbances. Carl
Paasch, the author of " Eine jiidisch-deutsche Ges-
andtschaft und ihre Heifer," L. 1891 (965 pp.) was
recognised, also by a Court of Law, as being no longer
responsible for his actions. Robert Normann-Schu-
mann, who tried to press himself upon me in 1885,
and who, later on, taking pay simultaneously both
from Anti-semites and Jews, deceived both of them,
thought it advisable, when he was prosecuted for
lese-majeste, and feared the discovery of other inci-

* 15 Oct. 1892, No. 241 : " The following appeal from tbe editor of
the Osservatore Cattolico in Milan reaches us, with the request to
publish it:— 'As soon as Prof. H. Strack shall have published the
brochure announced by him, we intend to reply to it by a compre-
hensive refutation. Thanks to the kindness of some readers and
the ardour which our co-workers have displayed in this campaign,
we already possess considerable material for proving the existence
of Jewish ritual murder — in cases, which can be attested by wit-
nesses who are still Jiving (Alb. refers, e.g., to the Eisleben case!
y.p. 218). Nevertheless it would be very useful if readers
in foreign parts, by contributing fresh evidence, were to prove their
interest in these highly-important polemics. In all cases they may
certainly rely upon the strictest discretion ( !). We know that there
are still in private libraries and other collections important MSS.
on the subject, which should no longer be withheld from publicity.
Any contribution, any suggestion, any explanation is welcome. . . .
We also beg all Christian editors to make this appeal known.' "

The Neue Deutsche Zeitung, the Staatshurger-Zeitung, Berlin, 16
Oct., No. 485, the Neue Preussische Zeitung (at that time still the
organ of the ill-reputed Freiherr v. Haminerstein), 18 Oct., No.
487, and other papers did their best to circulate the appeal.



xiv Preface

dents in his career, to go and live quietly in hiding
in free Switzerland. Paulus Meyer {v.'p. 1^8 and yjp.
224 sq.) who was hired to traduce me, had to undergo
severe terms of imprisonment owing to libels and
insults he had uttered. 0. Bachler alone was in a
position publicly to continue to deviate consciously
from the truth {v. p. 218).

My hope, however, proved to be mistaken. The
"blood-accusation" appeared such an effective
means of exciting the populace that the anti-semites
were constantly tempted to make misuse of the word.
At the end of March, 1899, a favourable opportunity
was afforded by the murder of Agnes Hruza, at Polna
{v-jj]). 228 sq.). It did not matter to the un-Christian
people, who called themselves Christians, whether
the murderer were discovered or the suspicion
resting on Hilsner were seriously probed ; but
Dr. Baxa, who was nominally counsel for the
murdered girl's mother, was to assume and prove
ritual murder. But he only proved his disgraceful
ignorance. For example, according to an abstract of
the shorthand report, which reached me a few days
ago, he made, besides other falsehoods, the following
statement : " And I ask whether Dr. Auredni6ek
(Hilsner's counsel) knows the declaration of the
Rabbi Vital, that the coming of the Messiah will be
hastened by the blood of sacrificed Gentile virgins, or
whether he knows it is stated in the first book of the
Sohar, that the fourth, the best palace shall be in-
habited by those who have killed Akums, i.e.,
Christians; whether he knows the assertion of the
Rabbi Eliken (read: 'Elieser'), that all Gentile
nations are mere brute beasts."*

* Baxa got this rubbish out of Rohliug's " Polemik u. Menschenop-
fer," Paderborn, 1883, 58, 72, 75; Cf. in my book p. 157, pp. 161
sq. As to the description of Gentiles as beasts v. J. Kopp, " Zur
Judenfrage," 107-118; Bloch, " Acten " I., 253-263. That the
expression " Akum " is entirely an invention of the critics is shown
in my " Einleitung in den Talmud," 4th Edition, Leipsic 1908, p.
51.



Preface xv

The unrest caused by this trial, especially in
Austria and South Germany, has compelled me to
postpone the revised edition of my " Einleitung in den
Talmud," which has been out of print for a long
time, and to expose anew the "blood-falsehood." My
book in its present form will be convincing to all who
have not, out of racial hatred, made up their minds
to maintain the truth of the "blood-accusation"
against the Jews, despite all refutation. It is in great
part a new book. Most of the contents of chapters
18—20 have been re-w^ritten ; it was important to show
that history affords us no evidence of " Jewish ritual-
murder," and that the most eminent Popes and tem-
poral rulers have emphatically declared against the
"blood-charge," that no single Pope has counten-
anced it. The first part, too, has been considerably
augmented. I am certain that now, besides ecclesi-
astics, teachers, and state attorneys, even professional
Folklorists W'ill be able to learn and get stimulus from
it.

I have had to include in my purview very varied
domains of human knowledge, and the procuring of
the material has cost much time and labour; e.g., in
order to be in a position to make a trustworthy state-
ment with regard to J. E. Veith's oath {py. 245 sq.), I
had to write some fifteen letters. I am the more
heartily grateful to Professors Dr. Ludwig Freytag,
Dr. Otto Hirschfeld, Dr. med. J. L. Pagel, who are all
in Berlin, and others, in that they have answered
several questions of mine, and have suggested many
improvements in this work. To this expression of
thanks I add the request that those who are in a
position to complete, to corroborate, or to confirm by
their own experience the statements here made
public, may not shrink from the trou])le of sending
me in that connection as precisely accurate a com-
munication as may be possible. Even a paragraph



xvi Preface

that appears unimportant in itself may acquire value
by its context.

My publicly entering the lists on behalf of my
conviction, and particularly my refutation of the
calumnies against the Jewish religion,^ has procured
me not only abuse in the daily Press, but also serious
material damage. But I am none the less assured
that it is my duty to go on as before. During the last
months, I had to contend against the feelings of pain
and disgust occasioned by all the horrors and deeds
of horror, about which I had to write even more in the
fifth edition than in the preceding. But I then
reflected that the esteem in which both the Christian
religion and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ are
held among the Jews, had suffered severely, owing
to the aforesaid calumnies, and especially owing to
the "blood-accusation " against them. I knew it to
be my sacred duty as a Christian theologian to do
everything in my power to compass the conviction in
Israel that Jesus does not desire falsehood but truth,
not hatred but love : He makes them just who truly
believe in Him, and He is worthy that mankind
should bend their knees in His name.

May my fight against untruthfulness and super-
stition at any rate help towards the furthering of
peace and a purer knowledge of God upon earth !

Gross-Lichterfelde, nr. Berlin, 18 Feb., 1900.

* 1 emphasise the word "religion," and refer to my brochure, "Die
Juden dtirfen sie 'Verbrecher von Religionswegen' genannt
werden?" L. 1893 (30 pp.) J. C. Hiurichs. I add with satisfaction
that several German courts of justice later on gave decisions in
accord with my demand in the pamphlet, and above all, the spread-
ing of the "Talmud-campaign" in Bavaria has been made
punishable at law.



PREFACE TO THE ENGLISH TRANSLATION



This translation, which is the worlv of Mr. H. F. E.
Blanchamp, is in many respects superior to the
German original. I have not only cancelled many
paragraphs of only temporary or local importance,
but carefully revised the whole, and added a good
deal of new material — vide especially chapters xviii
and XX. So I hope my book will make its way in
English-speaking lands, and help to discredit the pro-
pagation of the abominable blood-accusation. The
work of remodelling went greatly against the grain,
but "to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it
not, to him it is sin " (James iv, 17).

I am not a " Philo-semite " in the now generally
accepted sense of the word. I have even been
slandered as an " Anti-semite." As a Christian
theologian, I wish simply to serve the truth, for the
sake of my Lord, who is "the way, the truth, and the
life."

Hermann L. Strack.

Grosslichterfelde West, near Berlin,
March 7th, 1909.



I INTRODUCTION



BIBLIOGRAPHY

The exceeding importance of blood in life has
doubtless been evident to mankind from remotest
times, seeing that it was inculcated by frequently
recurring experiences, e.g., in butchering and in hunt-
ing. Man himself has a feeling of weakness after
losing much blood, and if he loses more than a certain
quantity of blood, life itself ceases.

The knowledge of this high value of blood gave
rise, firstly, to bloody sacrifices (a living being is the
greatest sacrifice), especially human sacrifices (Ch.
2) ; secondly, to symbolical* acts (Ch. 3) ; thirdly, to
the conviction that extraordinary effects are procured
by blood, particularly the human, but also animal
blood (Chas. 4-7, 9). Closely connected with this con-
viction is the other, that wonderful powers belong to
the human body, also to the corpse, and its parts
(Ch. 8) ; especially to the body of one who has died a
violent death, e.g. of an executed person and a suicide
(Ch. 7) ; and, further, to that of an innocent human
being, e.g., a little child, especially an unborn, and a
virgin (Chas. 11-12). Therewith is connected the use
of the bodies, bodily parts and evacuations of animals
for healing and other purposes (Ch. 10). Another first
element, especially when there is blood adhering, is
the fatal knife or sword.

To what results, often hideously outrageous to

* Cf. J. B. Friedreich, "Die Symbolik und Mythologie der Natur,"
Wiirzburg, 1859, 676-684; P. Cassel, "Die Symbolik des Blutes
und Der arme Heinrich von Hartmann von Aue," Be. 1882 (265).



Bibliography 19

present-day reasoning and feelings of decorum, such
ideas have led, is shown in the " Curieuse, Neue . . .
iTauss-Apothec, Wie man durch seine eigne bey sich
habende Mittel, als dem Blut, dem Urin, Hinter-und
Ohren-Dreck, Speichel und andren natiirlichen
geringen Mitteln, seine Gesundheit erhalten, fast alle
selbst vor incurabel gehaltene Kranckheiten ....
heilen, und sein Leben, vermittelst Gottes Gnade . . .
conserviren moge und konne .... Von einem Lieb-
haber der Medicin. Frankfurth am Mayn, 1699"
(316), p. 33:—

" Der Mensch, das Ehenbild, ist Gott selbst angenehm,
Hat vierundzwanzig Stilck zu7' Arzenei hequem,
Bein,^ Mark,^ die HirnschaV' samt derselhen Moos'^ ist gut,
Das Fleisch^ und Fett,^ die Haut,'^ Haar,^ Harn,^ Hirn,'^^

Herz^^ und Blut,^^
Die Gall,^^ die Milch,^'^ der Kot,^^ der Schweiss^^ und auch

der Stein,^''
Das gelhe Schmalz,^^ so in den Ohren 'pflegt zu sein,
Die 'Ndgel,^'^ Syeichel,'^^ audi die Nachgehurt^^ ist gut,
Der Uelm,^'^ der Samen^^ und menstruo si sokes'^ Blut."*

Much of the contents of the book forms even now
matter for popular belief in most parts of Germany,
Cf. especially:
A. WuTTKE, " Der Deutsche Volksaherglaule der Gegen-

wart'' Third Edition, by E. H. Meyer. Be. 1900

(536).
E. L. RocHHOLz, " Deutscher Glaube und Branch im

Spiegel der heidnischen Vorzeit, I. (Deutscher Un-

sterblichkeit s glaube. y Be., 1867 (335).

* Roughly translated as follows :

" Now man, God's likeness, pleasing to His sight.
Hath four and twenty items for med'cine suited quite.
Bone, marrow, skull, and eke its pulp are good,
The flesh and fat, the skin, hair, urine, brain, heart, blood,
The gall, the milk, the dung, the sweat, and eke the stone,
The yellow wax, which in the ears doth find a home,
The nails, the spittle, and the after-birth are good,
The caul, the semen, and the menstrual blood."



20 The Jew and Human Sacrifice

U. Jahn, " Zauber mit Menschenblut und anderen Teilen

des menschlichen Korpers ' ' (in " V erhandlungen der

Berliner anthropologischen Gesellschaft," 1888, 130-

UO).
M. R. Buck, " Medicinischer Volksglauben und Volksa-

hei'glauhen aus Schwaben." Ravensberg, 1865 (72).
Flugel, " Volksmedizin und Aberglaube im Franken-

walde." Munich, 1863 (81).
G. Lammert, " Volksmedizin und medizinischer A ber-

glaube in Bay em und den angrenzenden Bezirken."

Wilrzburg, 1869 (274).
M. HoFLER, " Volksmedizin und Aberglaube in Oberbay-

erns Gegenwart und Vergangenlieit." Munich, 1888.

A new edition in 18V 3 (244). " I^cls Jahr im ober-

bayerischen Volksleben mit besonderer Berucksichti-

gung der Volksmedicin." Munich, 1899 (48), 4°.
V. FossEL, " Volksmedicin und 7nedicinischer Aberglaube

in SteiermarkV Graz, 1886 (172).
J. GoLDSCHMiDT, '' Skizzcn aus der Mappe eines Arztes.

Volksmedicin im Nordwestlichen Deutschland"

(Oldenburg). Bremen, 1854 (157).
L. Strackerjan, "Aberglaube und Sagen aus dem Her-

zogthum Oldenburg.'' Two vols. Oldenburg, 1867

(422 and 366).
'{]. Jahn, " Hexenwesen und Zauberei in Pommern."

Breslau, 1886 (196).
W. J. A. V. Tettau and J. D. H. Temme, " Die Volkssagen

Ostpreussens, Litthauens und Westpreussens." Be.,

1837 (255-286: " Meinungen und Gebrduche.'' )
M. ToppEN, " Aberglauben aus Masuren.^'' Dantzig, 1867

(168).
H. Frischbier, " Hexenspruch und Zauberbann. Ein

Beitrag zur Geschichte des A berglaubens in der Pro-

vinzP reus sen.'' Be., 1870(167).
E. Lemke, " Volksthilmliches in Ostpreussen." Three


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