The Blood Libel and Ritual Murder Accusation 

The blood libel is the allegation that Jews ritually murdered non-Jews, especially Christians, to obtain blood to make Passover bread. It was a complex of deliberate lies, trumped up accusations, and popular beliefs about the murder-lust of the Jews and their bloodthirstiness, based on the conception that Jews hated Christianity and humankind in general. It was combined with the delusion that Jews were in some way not human and had to have recourse to special remedies and subterfuges to appear, at least outwardly, like other men. The blood libel led to trials and massacres of Jews.

Gabriel Wilensky

Did Jews Commit Ritual Murder?

It is astonishing how some people hold on to the preposterous notion that Jews committed ritual murder. Even in recent times, this ancient unfounded accusation prevalent in medieval Christian lands has morphed into modern environments and lexicon. These days Israelis—as proxies for “The Jew”—are being falsely accused of harvesting the organs of Palestinian boys or victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

“The blood libel and ritual murder accusation would be exploited all the way to the time of the Holocaust, in which Nazi antisemitic propagandists would use the imagery of Jews allegedly extracting blood from Christian boys to point to the Jews’ supposed blood lust.”

The accusation of ritual murder began in medieval England when a Christian boy disappeared. The local population, already predisposed to blaming Jews for all the ills of the world, was quick to blame the Jews of kidnapping the boy to extract his blood to make Passover bread. The facts that Jewish Law strictly prohibits the consumption of blood, and that it was never proven that Jews did this other than through bogus confessions extracted by using torture, did not deter Christians everywhere in Europe from believing and perpetuating this accusation. Over the course of the following centuries, every time a Christian boy disappeared or his body was found, Jews were accused of having ritually murdered him to extract his blood. Ultimately, this accusation was an extension of the accusation that the Jews had killed Jesus.

The blood libel and ritual murder accusation would be exploited all the way to the time of the Holocaust, in which Nazi antisemitic propagandists would use the imagery of Jews allegedly extracting blood from Christian boys to point to the Jews’ supposed blood lust. The Nazis had no difficulty in persuading the Christian German population that the Jews were blood-sucking parasites bent on taking the life away from the German volk, as the German people had been hearing these stories from their parents, teachers and priests all their lives.

Even after the Holocaust, there were pogroms against Jewish survivors in Poland in which the blood libel was regurgitated by the local Catholic population. A particularly notable example of this was the assault on the Jewish survivors in the Polish town of Kielce, where an outbreak of anti-Jewish violence resulted in a pogrom in which thirty-seven Polish Jews were murdered out of about two hundred survivors who had returned home after World War II. As the International Emergency Conference to Combat Antisemitism discovered, that type of incident had “something of a religious character about them.”

Even in modern times, in 2020 this canard has not disappeared. The Italian painter Giovanni Gasparro recently unveiled a work depicting the antisemitic blood libel
in a painting titled “The Martyrdom of St. Simon of Trento for Jewish ritual murder” showing several grinning Jews as they collect blood from body of a Christian child.

Grab Your Copy Today!

Six Million Crucifixions

Traces the history of antisemitism in Christianity and the role that played in making possible the Holocaust.

Want to stay informed about the topic?
Subscribe below.

11 + 1 =

Defining “Non-Aryan”: Cutting Through the Fog

For the layman, sometimes it’s hard to know what things actually mean. After all, one cannot be an expert on everything, so we must rely on others whom…

Why did the Holocaust start?

Quite often people ask: why did the Holocaust start? There are many reasons for the Holocaust, just like there are usually several reasons for any genocide. The…

Opening the Gates of Hell

On January 27, 1945 the Red Army advancing in Poland arrived in a sleepy town called Oswiecim. Next to it, they found Hell. As they crossed the gates of Auschwitz-Birkenau,…

Concentration Camps

When the Nazis took power in Germany in 1933 they began a systematic campaign to eliminate political opposition, which was later expanded to include all the people the party…

Appeasement and Nietzsche’s Eternal Return

Sometimes it seems as if Nietzsche was right, and History does indeed return to the same things over and over again in an endless pattern. The variable may…

Bolshevism is the mortal enemy of the Church

The Bolshevik Revolution was a watershed event that brought down the Romanovs and a long tradition of Tsarist rule in Russia. …

The Shoah

The Shoah can be a perplexing event. After all, what could have possibly motivated and driven so many people to commit such atrocious acts, and in such numbers, as those committed…

Official Church Publications: What Did the Church Have to Say?

Before the Second World War erupted the Holy See published the encyclical “With burning anxiety”, written largely by Cardinal Secretary…

The Divided Nations: A Look at the United Nations

A cursory look at the history of the world reveals an unending stream of blood. The greed for power, intolerance and the utter disregard for the…

About “We Remember – A Reflection on the Shoah”: Are We Remembering?

An article on Jewish Review, titled “Conference explores Catholic teachings from Holocaust” discusses the declaration We…