History of the Jews

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Arthur Szyk , Visual History of Nations, Israel (1948), New Canaan

The article gives a short summary of more than 1200 articles in Wikipedia on the narrow topic of the history of the Jews , with 9336 articles in the category “Jewish history” , 9477 articles in the category “Israel” (as of 05/2020) and 24,851 articles which have to do with the topic in the broadest sense, are sorted into the category "Judaism" . It contains lists of articles on the history of Jews in countries, cities, towns, and specific topics.

Jews are a people originally named after the tribe and later kingdom of Judah . For a long time they lived largely scattered around the world outside of Eretz Israel . The Jewish people saw themselves as such for over 2000 years and were also understood as such from outside, although a Jewish state did not exist in this period until 1948. The history of the Jews is marked by oppression, persecution, murder and expulsion as well as by tolerance, peaceful coexistence and equality. It includes the history of the Jews in the Diaspora and the establishment of the State of Israel .

History of the Jewish People in Biblical Times

Dead Sea Scrolls when discovered in 1947
Model of the Second Temple

The story of the Jews begins after the accounts of the Torah ( Hebrew תּוֹרָה, "Instruction"), the five books of Moses, with the covenant that God made with Abraham ( Gen 12  LUT ). The Jewish tradition sees Abraham as the founder of monotheism , the belief in a single, invisible God. God continues this covenant with Abraham's son Isaac and his son Jacob , who has been called Yisrael since the wrestling match on the east bank of the river Jabbok ( Gen 32  LUT ) . Jacob had twelve sons who are considered the ancestors of the twelve tribes of Israel ( Israelites ). These move from Canaan , today's Palestine or Israel, to Egypt, where their descendants are enslaved by the Pharaoh . The Hebrews led by Moshe (Moses) are freed from this slavery by God, who reveals the written and oral Torah to them on Mount Sinai .

The 2nd book of Moses (שִׁמוֹת Shemot; Exodus), the 3rd book of Moses (וַיִּקְרׇא Wajikra; Leviticus) and the 4th book of Moses (בְמִדְבַּר Bemidbar; Numbers) of the Torah represent the actual salvation history of the people of Israel from the Exodus from Egypt and Revelation of YHWH's Ten Commandments on Sinai up to the conquest of the land . The Torah no longer reports the conquest itself; that follows in the book of Joshua , which continues the story. In the Book of Judges , the time after the conquest until shortly before the beginning of the royal period under Saul (approx. 1050 BC) is described. This is followed by the books of kings , the chronicles and other writings up to the books of the Maccabees (104 BC).

The Kingdom of David and Solomon

The first King Saul was followed by King David and his son King Solomon , who established an independent kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital. The tradition reports of a split in this Davidic-Solomonic empire of Israel after Solomon into the two small states of Israel and Judah - which probably also means that there had been no unity before. According to biblical information ( 1 Kings 6,1  EU ), the construction of the first permanent temple of Solomon began in the fourth year of his reign (957 BC).

Zerubbabel Temple

A few decades after the Jews returned to Jerusalem from their exile in Babylon, the Zerubbabelian Temple (second temple) was built and opened in 515 BC. BC completed. It was named after Zerubbabel , the governor of the province of Judah at the time of the Persian king Dareios I (6th century BC). The history of Judaism in Iraq began with the Babylonian exile in the sixth century BC (586 BC). During the Hellenistic period (336–30 BC), Hellenistic Judaism developed in the Jewish diaspora . As ancient anti-Semitism is anti-Semitism in the era of the ancient history of Israel (about 1300 v. Chr. To 135 n. Chr.), Respectively. Under Herod began from 21 BC. A complete redesign of the temple, which has since been called the Herodian temple. The temple was destroyed during the conquest of Jerusalem (70 AD) in the Jewish War . About 1.1 million Jews lost their lives in this war. Another 97,000 were taken into slavery. For the Romans, the capture of Jerusalem meant the strategic triumph over Judea , which was completed with the capture of the mountain fortress of Masada (73 AD).


The origin, age and historical evaluability of the oldest materials in the Torah are disputed. According to today's research consensus, the Torah was written around 1200 BC. BC, but was only used from around 450 BC. Written down in BC. To what extent the oral tradition remained unchanged during these 750 years is open. The science of history therefore doubts the historicity of this representation.

M17 M17 O34
M17 G1 D21
Z1 T14
A1 B1


The first non-biblical confirmation is the "Israel stele" of Pharaoh Merenptah (around 1210 BC), on which a tribe or people in Canaan called Ysrjr is mentioned.

The Dead Sea Scrolls, mostly discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven rock caves, comprise around 15,000 fragments from around 850 scrolls from ancient Judaism, which were written by at least 500 different scribes between 250 BC. And 40 AD were labeled. Among them are about 200 texts of the later Tanach , which is composed of the three parts Torah (“instruction”), Nevi'im ( Hebrew נְבִיאִים"Prophets") and Ketuvim ( Hebrew כְּתוּבִים "Writings"), the oldest known Bible manuscripts to date.

History of the Jews in Late Antiquity

Jewish slaves and Roman spoils of war from the destroyed Jerusalem temple are brought to
Rome in a triumphal procession after the conquest of Jerusalem (70 AD) (original depiction on the Arch of Titus in Rome, erected at the end of the 1st century AD)

At the turn of the times, around eight million Jews lived worldwide, a quarter of them in Judea and one million each in Babylonia, Egypt, Syria and Asia Minor. Important Jewish communities also formed around this time in central and southern Italy and in European garrison towns such as Corduba (Córdoba), Massilia (Marseille), Londinium (London), Augusta Treverorum (Trier) or Colonia Agrippina (Cologne). The history of the Jews in late antiquity spans the period from the end of the 1st century to the conquest of Palestine by the Arabs in the 7th century. At least since the conversion of the Jewish kingdom into a Roman province in the 1st century AD under Tiberius , the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus under Emperor Vespasian and the Hadrianic re-establishment with the name Aelia Capitolina , the Jews finally dispersed and settled as a regionally tangible and cohesive people in large part within the Roman Empire . Late antiquity saw the canonization of the Tanach , the Hebrew Bible , and the collection and writing of the various Jewish teaching traditions in both Talmudim and numerous responses . This “classical” epoch of Jewish history, led by the rabbis , was determined by the dispersal of Jews in the Persian and Roman Empire , the rise of Christianity to the state religion of this empire (391 AD) and other factors.

Another significant proportion of the Jews lived in the Persian Empire , where the intellectual focus was in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages with the academies of Sura and Pumbedita in Babylonia , then part of the Sassanid Empire .

History of the Jews in the Middle Ages

Judensau sculpture at Regensburg Cathedral
Depiction of the extermination of Deggendorf Jews in Schedel's world chronicle of 1493

The periodization of the Jewish Middle Ages does not coincide with the otherwise customary temporal delimitation of the Middle Ages in Western historiography from the migration of the peoples to Columbus. The Judaist Kurt Schubert defines the Jewish Middle Ages as follows:

“If you want to give a reasonably themed dating of the Jewish Middle Ages, it was about 7-17-18. Century, from the Islamization of the Orient to the beginning of the emancipation movement in Europe, which can either begin with Baruch Spinoza or Moses Mendelssohn. "

The Judaist Karl Erich Grözinger sets a similar time frame:

“The modern age as an independent cultural epoch of Judaism has only gradually emerged in science. That is why the end of the Jewish Middle Ages in historiography was in some cases only shifted to the middle or the end of the 18th century. "

The Jewish communities of Central Europe emerged from the 8th to 10th centuries. In Austria this process can only be started towards the end of the 12th century, although the country had been visited by Jewish merchants centuries earlier. In the 10th century Spain and Germany started their own Talmud reception . The Jews living as wards of the rulers isolated in their own residential areas, surrounded by them by Christianity hostile dominated population. The Radhanites were Jewish merchants who, from the 8th to the 11th centuries, ensured trade relations between the warring Christian countries of the West and the Islamic world and beyond to India and China. They thus contributed to an economic upswing in the West, which had fallen back economically since the end of the Western Roman Empire . The Carolingian era in particular was characterized by the openness of Christian circles towards Judaism. Jews could be active in long-distance and slave trade through letters of privilege. The royal and imperial privileges were supervised by a "Jew Master" who had to ensure the strict observance of the letters of protection issued to the Jews; Violations were punished with heavy fines. This status changed with the growing independence of many cities and the formation of urban constitutions that emphasized the (Christian) guild principle.

In the 12th century, Jewish merchants were increasingly driven out of international trade . The Jews - a minority in medieval feudal society  - were burdened with ever higher protective tariffs and special taxes. In England, for example, Johann Ohneland raised high taxes from the Jewish communities, which in 1210 brought him 66,000 marks. The brutality with which these taxes were collected also affected the debtors of the Jewish moneylenders. Further taxes were charged to the cities, further sources of income were the forest rights as well as fines and extortion up to torture.

The animal metaphor " Judensau " refers to a common motif of anti-Judaist Christian art that was created in the High Middle Ages . It was intended to mock, marginalize and humiliate Jews, since the pig is considered unclean in Judaism ( Hebrew טמא tame ) applies andis subject toa religious food taboo. Mocking pictures with the Judaism motif have been documented since the early 13th century and canstill be seenon stone reliefs and sculptures at around 30 churches and other buildings, especially in Germany .

Since the plague pandemic occurred in 1348/49, the persecution of the Jews at the time of the Black Death overshadowed her life. They began in Switzerland in 1348 on charges of well poisoning by the Jews. In 85 of 350 cities with Jewish inhabitants, murder was carried out, as in the Jewish pogrom in Strasbourg in 1349 , and Jews were expelled almost everywhere. In Alsace, with 29 places, half of all Jewish settlements were wiped out, in the Middle Rhine around 85 of 133 settlements. The remaining followers of Judaism also spread to other parts of Europe in the High Middle Ages , in the late Middle Ages , in the course of the plague pogroms and the expulsion, for example from France, especially to Eastern Europe, further to the Islamic world and then to Eretz Israel during the expulsion from Spain in 1492 . In Spain, Jews were officially persecuted from 1391 and had to choose between execution and forced baptism . The persecutions became particularly sharp when, with the introduction of the Inquisition in Spain in 1480 under Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, not only the Jews were targeted, but also those who had converted to Christianity purely outwardly. to save their lives, but who secretly kept clinging to their old beliefs. After the edict of expulsion, 50,000 to 100,000 Jews emigrated to Portugal in order to avoid forced conversion.

From the beginning of the 15th century, the increasingly deeper separation into Sephardic and Ashkenazi Judaism became increasingly noticeable in the following centuries .

History of the Jews in Modern Times

Napoleon Bonaparte restores the cult of the Israelites. May 30, 1806.

The history of the Jews in modern times ranges from the Jewish Enlightenment to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. After the Protestant Reformation , some countries in Europe became more tolerant of Jews. The first signs were in England, where the Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell offered Jews immigration from 1650. In the 18th century developed from the natural law , the human rights . Since the French Revolution in 1789, the Jews in Europe have gradually been legally equated.

The Haskala was a movement that arose in Berlin and Königsberg in the 1770s and 1780s and spread from there to Eastern Europe. It was based on the ideas of the European Enlightenment and advocated tolerance and an equal position for Jews in European societies. The last phase of the Haskalah ended in Russia around 1881 with the rise of Jewish nationalism.

Since the middle of the 19th century, the situation of the Jewish population in Eastern Europe deteriorated rapidly. There were numerous pogroms in Russia , which reached their peak towards the end of the century and flared up again and again until the Russian Revolution in 1917. Between 1890 and the end of World War I, around two million Jews emigrated from Russia to the United States as a result of the pogroms. The expulsion of Jews from Arab and Islamic countries comprised over 1.1 million Jews, mainly of Sephardic and Mizrachian origin, from Arab and Muslim countries from 1948 to the 1970s, and this continues to a lesser extent to this day.

Jews as contributors to the modern world

Promenade of the 197 Jewish Nobel Prize winners in Rishon LeZion (Israel, as of 2017), including twelve Israeli Nobel Prize winners
Albert Einstein , 1921, photograph by Ferdinand Schmutzer

A total of 57 physicians of Jewish descent received the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology (as of 2017). German-Jewish history must not be restricted to the history of persecution and extermination. In the course of history, the Jews were not only objects, persecuted and victims, but also subjects, that is, active citizens and creative designers of culture, economy and history in Central Europe. The Jews belonged to the core of the new economic and educated middle class of the 19th and early 20th centuries. This applies to Jewish entrepreneurs, bankers, scientists, artists, publishers and journalists who were among the elite and prominence of the German Empire and the Weimar Republic . By 1933, a third of the German Nobel Prize winners were of Jewish origin. In this way, German Jewry made an important contribution to Germany's way into modernity. Germany is the home of the Jewish Enlightenment ( Haskala ). The goal of the Haskala was acculturation , not assimilation . It was both a matter of introducing the Jewish society to the language and culture of the environment and an understanding of religion that met the requirements of the Enlightenment . In Germany the foundations for the modern science of Judaism were laid and the Jewish reform movements ( Liberal Judaism ) were born.

Through their economic activity, the Jews made an important contribution to the development of German cities. In the high Middle Ages, they had civil rights in numerous cities, so they did not belong to a legally excluded group. The emergence of Jewish ghettos is a phenomenon of the 15th century. Since the 17th century, a new Jewish upper class has developed with the “ court Jews ”. They provided the princes of the emerging absolutism with capital, army supplies and luxury goods, making them independent of the approvals of the estates. The hatred of the estates was therefore directed against many of these court Jews.

Human rights became a hallmark of the secularized nation state , first in the USA with the Bill of Rights 1776, then in France after the French Revolution of 1789. On September 27, 1791, the French National Assembly proclaimed the equality of all French Jews. In the German areas under French influence by Napoleon Bonaparte , the Jews were emancipated without reservation, for example in the Grand Duchy of Berg , and in the Kingdom of Westphalia and in the areas on the left bank of the Rhine .

Zionism made a new form of Jewish identity possible . He promoted the union of Jews in a Jewish national movement with the political goal of founding a Jewish nation state in Palestine. However, only a small minority of German Jews joined it at the end of the 19th century. Zionism became publicly known primarily through the book “ Der Judenstaat ” published in 1896 by Theodor Herzl (1860–1904) .

Influence of anti-Semitism on the history of the Jews

Anti-Semitism is the oldest religious, cultural, social and political prejudice . From antiquity through the Middle Ages to the modern age, a negative image of the Jews was solidified, charged with anti-Jewish myths and clichés. A minority has been stigmatized and marginalized through stigmatization . Jews have always been associated with power and influence. Complex social conditions are reduced to the supposedly conscious work of "the Jews". Other conspiracy theories are structurally compatible with anti-Semitic models of world explanation. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) presented according to a survey from 2014 in more than 100 countries (4161578905 adults) found that 26% of them worldwide - are anti-Semitic - over one billion people. 35% of people have never heard of the Holocaust. 41% believe Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country. 74% of people in the Middle East, Turkey, and North Africa are anti-Semitic - the highest regional percentage in the world. Of the people who hold anti-Semitic views, 70% have never met a Jewish person.

One of the original propagists was the historian in the Benedictine monastery of St Albans , Matthäus Paris (around 1200–1259), who propagated legends of ritual murder and other anti-Semitic theses in his writings . For example, he established a polemical relationship between the circumcision of boys and the alleged forgery of coins by Jews by circumcising the edges of the coin or circulated a predecessor thesis of the “Jewish World Conspiracy that the Jews were behind the Mongol invasion in order to destroy Christianity . He is also the author of an early form of the legend of the Eternal Jew .

Old and New Testament

The designation “Old Testament” (OT) goes back to the talk of the “old” and “new” covenants in the Letter to the Hebrews (a book of the “New Testament” ). It was often seen as the replacement of God's covenant with Israel by the “new” people of God - the church - so that “old” was interpreted as “out of date” or “outdated”. This was associated with the “theological expropriation” of Judaism in substitution theology . In order to avoid this traditional devaluation, nowadays more and more Christians, theologians and churches refer to the Tanach or the OT First Testament or the Hebrew Bible . In doing so, they distance themselves from Christian anti-Judaism and emphasize the common basis of both religions. For centuries, anti-Judaistic prejudices dominated the interpretation of the New Testament, as described under Anti-Judaism in the New Testament . Since 1945 this has been increasingly criticized theologically (see Churches and Judaism after 1945 ).

Murder of god

Martin Luther, On the Jews and their lies ; Title page, Wittenberg 1543

The expression God murderer (also: Christ murderer ) denotes in church history an alleged irrevocable collective guilt of the Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth . "No other story ever told by humans has unleashed such a degree of hatred, persecution and murder against a people as the story about Judas' betrayal of Jesus", the writer Amos Oz sums up in his book Judas . This charge of guilt is a central stereotype of Christian anti-Judaism . With this, the church established the religious “rejection” and “disinheritance” of Judaism ( substitution theology ) since the 2nd century and justified the social discrimination , oppression and persecution of Jewish minorities in the Middle Ages and in the early modern period . The image of the Jews anchored in popular piety as the “people of the murderers of God” contributed significantly to the fact that hostility towards Jews became a “cultural code” in the history of Europe . The accusation of the murder of God favored the modern anti-Semitism that had arisen since around 1800 , contributed to “acute forms of complicity” of the major churches with the National Socialist persecution of Jews and made it possible for the Holocaust to be carried out predominantly by Christian baptized perpetrators.

Desecration of the host

Host sacrilege from Sternberg, 1492 , fictional representation by Diebold Schilling 1513. The priest Peter Däne sells hosts consecrated to the Jew Eleazar, which are pierced by the Jews and begin to bleed. (Excerpt)

Between the 13th and 16th centuries, the Roman Catholic Church described the alleged abuse of consecrated hosts as host sacrilege or desecration . The accused, mostly Jews, were alleged to have procured consecrated hosts and cut them up or otherwise desecrated them in order to mock the torture of Jesus Christ at the crucifixion. Correspondingly stereotyped allegations led to lawsuits with a predetermined outcome. After a confession extorted through embarrassing questioning, the accused were mostly sentenced to execution and burned at the stake. As a result of such host-molesting trials, all local Jews were often expropriated and driven from cities and entire regions. This was also the case with the alleged desecration of the Hosts by Jews from Pulkau, which triggered a wave of Pulkau persecution in 1338. They were the first long and supraregional excesses that produced violence against Jews in Austrian areas.

Luther's anti-Jewish sermons

Martin Luther believed that Jews and Gentiles caused Christ's death equally and together. They have become instruments of the grace of God realized therein. Therefore, Luther's accusation of murdering God resigned. In 1520 Luther also rejected the anti-Jewish sermons that were common during the Passion . He formulated a new passion hymn, which should replace the anti-Jewish improperies of the Catholic Good Friday liturgy . It was introduced in Wittenberg in 1544, according to his anti-Jewish writings . However, he took up all the anti-Judaist stereotypes of the time in order to induce all Protestant princes to expel the Jews from their territories. He called for their synagogues, schools and houses to be demolished, for physical forced labor to be demolished and for rabbis to be banned from practicing their religion and making money, including the death penalty, for those who continued to teach.

The Roman Catholic Church and the Evangelical Church gradually officially recognized this anti-Judaist stereotype and others as a mistake and guilt and moved away from it. For example, the Catholic traditionalists like the Pius Brotherhood or the Orthodox Churches (with exceptions) hold on to it.

Ritual murder legend

Ritual murder legend; Martyrdom of Simon of Trent; Sculpture by Daniel Mauch (1477–1540), Chiesa San Pietro, Trento

The Christian ritual murder legend, according to which Jews supposedly needed the blood of Christian children for their matzos at Passover and for various magical or medicinal purposes, first appeared in 1144 in Norwich, England, and gradually spread throughout Europe until the 20th century. It outlasted the Age of Enlightenment and experienced a new upswing in Central and Eastern Europe from 1800 to 1914 , parallel to anti-Semitism . Corresponding charges usually ended in massacres for those accused, their families and communities. The Vatican canonized the murdered or declared them martyrs. In 2006, the ritual murder legend reappeared in a modernized form when Mehmut Toptaş claimed in Millî Gazete (Turkey) that Israel was targeting child murder in order to harvest organs from the victims and trade them with them.

"Jewish World Conspiracy"

Nazi propaganda poster (Polish): “The fate of women under the Jewish-Bolshevik knot”.

Legends of a secret striving for world domination by “the Jews” have been handed down since medieval anti-Judaism and were intensified racially in modern anti-Semitism . For National Socialism , “World Jewry” was the “world enemy” that the “ Aryan master race ” had to destroy for its own survival. The term "world Jewry" denotes an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory according to which "the Jews" seek or possess world domination . It was spread in numerous writings in France, Italy, Russia and Germany. The humanitarian association B'nai B'rith founded in the USA in 1843 , the Alliance Israélite Universelle (founded in Paris in 1860 as a charity), the World Zionist Organization (founded in 1897 as the Jewish national movement) or, after the Second World War, the Jewish Claims Conference , the claims Representing Holocaust victims for compensation and restitution are named when the construct of "world Jewry" is invoked, although the organizations mentioned only pursue humanitarian goals that have nothing to do with conspiracy legends. A first Russian-language version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion , a fictional anti-Semitic pamphlet, appeared in the Russian Empire in 1903 . After the First World War , the text was increasingly circulated internationally, although the minutes had already been exposed as a forgery in the London Times in 1921 . The edition from the 1920s by the car manufacturer Henry Ford in the United States , which alone sponsored a print run of 500,000 copies, and the German editions by Gottfried zur Beek and Theodor Fritsch became particularly well known .

Fairy tale of Jewish Bolshevism

Training booklet from the Nazi leadership of the Wehrmacht , 1944

Jewish Bolshevism is a slogan used for anti-communist and anti-Semitic agitation that originated in Russia and spread to the rest of Europe and North America after the First World War. It is true that there were relatively many Jews in the early communist movement in Eastern Europe, especially in Russia. However, the Jews owed nothing to the Russian Empire, except slander, persecution and extermination. The pogroms of 1881/82 and 1903 were the highlights of the late Tsarist era. As a result of the Hitler-Stalin Pact concluded in August 1939 , Jews were extradited to Hitler's Germany, including German-Jewish refugees who had escaped the Nazi terror and were in the Soviet Union sought protection. Further highlights of the wave of communist persecution against the Jews of Eastern Europe were the years 1952/53. The persecutions dragged on until the end of the Brezhnev - Ulbricht - Honecker era.

Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor

Picture for the "Blood Protection Act" (1935)

The law for the protection of German blood and German honor , passed on September 15, 1935, prohibited marriage and extramarital sex between Jews and non-Jews. It was intended to serve the so-called “keeping German blood clean”, a central component of the National Socialist racial ideology . Violations of the law were described as " racial disgrace " and threatened with imprisonment and penitentiary . With the Nuremberg Laws, the National Socialists institutionalized their anti-Semitic and racist ideology on a legal basis. Something similar happened in Italy and the Slovak state .

"Jewish Parasite"

The "Jewish Parasite" is a metaphor that belongs to the group of anti-Semitic stereotypes . This is based on the idea that the Jews of the Diaspora are incapable of forming their own state and are therefore parasitically attacked and exploited by states and peoples . The metaphor has appeared since the 18th century and can subsequently be found in both the left and the right political spectrum. The identification of Jews with parasites as pests of the people is very common during National Socialism. It served the dehumanization and ultimately the extermination of Jewish people. The stereotype has partly persisted to this day. Similarly, the term was Jewish mimicry used anti-Semitic, the Jews assumed to conceal its also assumed racial otherness, by extending through mimicry adjust the peoples among whom they live, merely external, but stay inside and biologically immutable Jewish.

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

Graffiti in Catalonia by the BDS group at the Autonomous University of Barcelona , 2015

On July 9, 2005, 171 Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) issued an appeal to found a campaign by Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS; German “Boycott, Disinvestments and Sanctions”). The BDS is a transnational political campaign or social movement that wants to isolate the State of Israel economically, culturally and politically in order to implement the goals agreed by the BDS in 2005: Israel must end the occupation and settlement of territories by the Palestinians , grant them full equality in Israel and enable their refugees and their descendants to return to their former home and property. Since then, many solidarity groups and celebrities around the world have supported the call to carry out consumption boycotts and investment withdrawals against Israelis and persons, companies and institutions who trade with Israel, and to induce governments to impose sanctions and embargoes on Israel. The academic boycott is an integral part of this struggle. In Germany , BDS groups can be found mainly in Berlin, Bonn and Stuttgart. Some BDS representatives deny Israel's right to exist and want to abolish this state. On May 16, 2019, the German Bundestag condemned the BDS movement, which is said to no longer receive public money. In the four-party motion, all anti-Semitic statements and attacks were condemned "which are formulated as alleged criticism of the policy of the State of Israel, but which are in fact an expression of hatred of Jewish people and their religion". During an event at the European Parliament on 26 September 2019, a new study by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs , titled "Behind the Mask" ( English Behind the mask pictured), in the 80 examples of shocking sometimes anti-Semitic remarks and caricatures leading BDS activists are listed.


The Anonymous - or Guy Fawkes - Mask is one of the symbols of the Darknet.

In recent times the Internet has become the most important medium for spreading anti-Semitic attitudes. Monika Schwarz-Friesel differentiates “that anti-Semitism cannot be equated with xenophobia because Jews are not foreigners, but Germans”, and describes it as a “cultural heritage” of the West and as “post-Holocaust anti-Semitism”, which is based on the repression of shame and guilt relates to Auschwitz. He is establishing himself on YouTube , Facebook , Twitter and in fan communities. The deep web in particular plays a pioneering role here, a part of the world wide web that cannot be found when researching using normal search engines. In this digital parallel world, postings can be placed anonymously, for example in 4chan or 8kun (formerly 8chan ). There, hate speech, prejudice and conspiracy theories can solidify and spread without being contradicted. This includes the darknet , a peer-to-peer - overlay network , establish its participants their interconnections manually. The Darknet has a higher degree of "security" because an attacker or secret services and police cannot easily access the network - or, ideally, they do not know anything about the existence of the network. Even gaming platforms , messenger services , streaming media or imageboards be misused to spread anti-Semitism, racism and right, as in the attack in Hall in 2019 or the attack in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh 2018 . These lead to uncertainty and fears in the Jewish communities and a restricted life in public space. The earlier, more religiously determined causes of anti-Semitism are increasingly taking a back seat and are being replaced by Israel- related anti -Semitism . Here the Jews living in the diaspora are assigned collective guilt for the politics of the Israeli government and Israel's right to exist is called into question. Neo-Nazis are increasingly penetrating “Zoom” video conferences of rabbis in Germany. The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, criticizes the fact that right-wing extremists are ruthlessly exploiting the Corona crisis to spread their brown poison. In France and many other countries, too, there are increasing problems with anti-Semitic interference from Zoom conferences.

Corona virus

Felix Klein , the anti-Semitism commissioner of the German federal government, warned at the end of March 2020 of mass anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli agitation and related conspiracy theories on the Internet in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic . The crisis provides a breeding ground for accusations from individual groups of people. "Crudest anti-Semitism" breaks the ground. It is absurdly claimed that the pandemic was triggered by a failed bio-weapons test by the Mossad . There is also talk of Jewish profits from a possible vaccine, weapons developed by Israel and a Jewish attempt to reduce the world's population. Klein called for anti-Semitic defamations to be reported to the platform operators. In addition, anti-Semitic caricatures appeared online, such as that of a Jew on a Trojan horse who smuggled the virus into a city. It was alleged that the virus had been produced by "the Zionists " in Israeli laboratories, and it was asked to deliberately infect Jews with the pathogen.

Judaism under Islamic rule

Massacre of the Banu Quraiza in the year 627 by order of Saʿd ibn Muʿādh with the consent and supervision of Muhammad. Illustration by Muhammad Rafi Bazil , 19th century, British Library

In the Koran , in the Hadith and in Islamic law there is on the one hand the ambivalent designation Ahl al-kitāb ( Arabic أهل الكتاب) which means that God has given the Jews (and Christians) "a place by our side" ( Sura 3 : 64, Sura 29 : 46). The holy scriptures explicitly allow Muslims to maintain good neighborly, economic and marital relations with Jews. There is also a Jew among the wives of Muhammad . Reference should be made to the common constitution of Medina , in the second part of the treaty also various Jewish tribes are included in the alliance. In the Middle Ages, many Muslim societies in Andalusia or in the Ottoman Empire had friendly relations with Jews and granted them protection.

On the other hand, in the Koran the Jews are accused of having broken the covenant with Allah and the Muslims : "... and because they broke their obligations, we have cursed them" ( Sura 5 : 13; also 4:46; 4: 155). In addition, the Jews are considered to be fraudulent, “... and (because they) took interest when it was forbidden to them, and fraudulently deprived people of their property. For the unbelievers among them we have prepared (in the hereafter) a painful punishment ” - Sura 4 : 161; Sura 2 : 100; Sura 9 : 34. In Sura 9 : 29 is called to fight against these "infidels" until the jizyah paid (a special tax). This underpinned the massacres of Jews, as in the Muslim parts of Spain (1010-1013), where an estimated 2,000 Jews were murdered in Cordoba . More than 6,000 Jews were massacred in Fez in 1033 and around 4,000 Jews were killed in the Muslim riots in Granada in 1066 . There were also violent expulsions such as 1016 in Kairouan , 1145 in Tunis or 1232 in Marrakech .

Allegations of ritual murder first appeared in the Islamic world around 1840 as a result of the Damascus affair .

At the end of the 1920s, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammed Amin al-Husseini (1893–1974) initiated a relatively intensive collaboration between Islamist and nationalist circles. During the Second World War, the Grand Mufti openly made himself available for National Socialist propaganda and made inflammatory speeches against Jews on the radio. As early as 1938, translations of the anti-Semitic forgery of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion were circulated at conferences of the Muslim Brotherhood . In Turkey , the Millî Görüş movement followed, followed by the Palestinian Hamas , as can be seen from its 1988 charter, Hezbollah , al-Qaida , and finally the state ideology in the Islamic Republic of Iran with its founder Ayatollah Khomeini . President Mahmoud Ahmadineschād publicly called for the annihilation of the State of Israel in 2005 and publicly denied the mass extermination of Jews in World War II in 2006. The argumentation patterns in the context of the Middle East conflict are not only a rejection of the State of Israel, but also imply a hatred of all Jews, which is referred to as "Islamized anti-Semitism".


With regard to the currents of faith in Islam, few differences between Sunnis and Shiites have so far been ascertained on the question of anti-Semitic attitudes towards Jews . By contrast, anti-Semitic attitudes are far less widespread among Alevis than among Sunnis and Shiites. A survey of teachers at 21 Berlin schools in eight districts carried out on behalf of the American Jewish Committee Berlin (AJC) in 2015/16 showed growing Salafist influences and hostility towards Jews among students with Turkish and Arab migrant backgrounds. The hatred against Jews is a central component of the Salafist ideology.

Expulsion of Jews from Arab countries

Yemeni Jews in an Israeli refugee camp (Ma'abarot) in Rosh HaAyin , 1950.

The number of Jewish residents in Arab countries was over a million in 1948. Since the middle of the 20th century, Jews in Arab countries have been persecuted, murdered at regular intervals, taxed and subjected to restrictions, discrimination and humiliation, which has led to a permanent mass exodus. The number fell in the following ten years by almost half to 560,050. In 2014 the number had dropped to 28,797. The resulting loss of property is estimated at more than $ 350 billion. Since 1947, over 1,000 UN resolutions on the Arab-Israeli conflict have been passed. More than 170 of them deal with the fate of the 750,000 Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Not a single one deals with the fate of the million Jewish refugees from Arab countries and Iran and their descendants.

History of the Jews in the Diaspora

Beit Hatefutsot , main entrance to the Museum of the History of the Jewish Diaspora in Ramat Aviv ( Tel Aviv district ).
Clothing of the Jews in medieval France

The diaspora ( ancient Greek διασπορά "dispersion") is a term that was originally applied exclusively to Jews who lived outside the Holy Land. The word is a coining of the Septuagint Deut. 28,64 ( Dtn. 28,64  LXX ) “you shall be a diaspora in all kingdoms on earth”, whereby diaspora was chosen as a euphemism for “horror” or “shame”. In Hebrew, the term Galut ( Hebrew גלות"Exile") in use. Only in the 20th century as an analogy to the Greek term was Diaspora the word Tefutsot ( Hebrew תפוצות) educated. It is understood to mean emigration or flight to Jewish communities outside Palestine. Political, religious or economic aspects are cited as the cause of the emergence of the diaspora. The beginning of the diaspora is described with the establishment of Jewish communities in Babylonia , which occurred as a result of the conquest of Judah by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar (Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur II.) In 587/86 BC. BC originated. Important centers of Jewish communities were subsequently in Egypt, in Kyrenaica (part of today's Libya), North Africa, Cyprus, Syria, Asia Minor, with the offshore islands of Chios and Samos, and finally in Greece and Rome, until the expulsion or emigration worldwide spread. The Jewish diaspora in Germany, Austria and Switzerland follows in their own sub-chapters.

Golden Diaspora

Jewish soldiers who were on the side of the troops of Muhammad IX. fighting in the
battle of La Higueruela against John II (Castile) in 1431.

After the collapsed Visigothic rule , under which the Jews were suppressed, an Arab occupying power came to the Iberian Peninsula in the 8th century. The Jews find a home in the Islamic civilization of Moorish Spain called al-Andalus . Like Christians, they had to pay a poll tax, but they were able to live their faith free from the restraints usually found in Europe. Jewish scientists, poets, and philosophers began writing in Arabic for the first time in their history. Jewish doctors, merchants, diplomats and interpreters - widely traveled, linguistically gifted and cosmopolitan - enjoyed a high reputation. The most famous scholar of this time was Moses Ben-Maimon, called Maimonides  - the most important Jewish thinker of the Middle Ages. The peaceful coexistence of Jews, Muslims and Christians lasted for over six centuries and is called the golden diaspora . This encounters opposition from numerous contemporary historians who call this a “multicultural myth”, since in the Islamic world there could be no question of equal rights for people of different faiths because it is simply not provided for in Islamic law ( Sharia ). For example, a pogrom against Jews in Cordoba is reported in 1011. In Fez in 1033 over 6000 Jews were massacred. Another major persecution occurred on December 30, 1066 with the Granada massacre , in which 1,500 families were killed. There were also violent expulsions such as 1016 in Kairouan , 1145 in Tunis or 1232 in Marrakech .

Inquisition in Spain and Portugal

Only the victory of the “ Catholic kingsFerdinand II of Aragon and his wife Isabella of Castile in Granada and the reconquest of Spain ended this supposed heyday. Initially, thousands of Muslims - especially the intellectual elite - were expelled. Then, in the spring of 1492, the fate of the Jews took its course with the Alhambra Edict . In this edict the Jews were asked to leave Spain and all Spanish possessions within three months, unless they converted to Christianity. The edict provided the initial spark for a hitherto unprecedented persecution of Jews under the direction of the Inquisition . More than 100,000 Spanish Jews made their way into exile in 1492 because of the previously unheard of ethnic cleansing in Spain. Some first went to Portugal, but from there they were also expelled in 1497. The Ottoman Empire accepted most of the Jews from Spain and from Portugal after 1580 without any conditions. They fled to Marseille, Tangier and Algiers, to Smyrna, Istanbul and Saloniki, which became the center of Sephardic Jewry. In memory of their Spanish homeland, they still call themselves “ Sephardim ” today . They took their language, the Ladino , their traditions and their songs with them.

Poland becomes the homeland of the Jews

Since the establishment of the Kingdom of Poland in the 10th century, Poland has been one of the most tolerant states in Europe towards Jews. With the statute of Kalisch issued by Duke Bolesław the Pious of Poland (1224 / 27–1279) in 1264 and its confirmation and expansion by King Casimir the Great with the statute of Wiślica in 1334, the Jews were granted extensive rights and Poland became home for one of the largest and most vital Jewish communities in the world. Before the outbreak of World War II there were around 3,350,000 Jews in Poland. In 2018 there were only 4,500 Jews living in Poland, 0.01% of the population. According to a survey by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), 48% of the population are anti-Semitic: 58% of those over 50, 36% of those aged 18 to 34. (As of 2019). As the data on hate crimes, which are only incompletely determined by the Polish police every year, show that between 2015 and 2020 at least 100 violent crimes against Jews were committed in Poland each year.


The Hasidism in Eastern European Jewry emerged after the pogroms against the Jews during the Khmelnytsky uprising led by the Zaporozhye Cossacks Bohdan Khmelnytsky in 1648 than were destroyed in Eastern Europe more than 700 Jewish communities. According to legend, Israel ben Eliezer (around 1700–1760), known as Baal Shem Tov (“Master of the Good Name”), is the founder of Eastern European Hasidism. Within a few decades, Hasidism spread to Jewish communities in Poland-Lithuania , Austria-Hungary and Germany . Since the Shoah , the Hasidic communities have been concentrated in New York City and Jerusalem , as well as in centers such as Antwerp , London , Manchester and Montreal . Baal Shem Tov and his successors emphasized the value of traditional study of the Torah and the oral transmission, the Talmud and its commentaries. In addition, the mystical tradition of Kabbalah gained considerable influence. Beyond this study, the personal and communal religious experience is paramount in Hasidism.

Persecution in the German Confederation

Jewish emigrants from Russia are welcomed by their relatives in the USA. 1901

The Hepp-Hepp riots of 1819 began in Würzburg . They are in response to the grant in 1813 legal equality of Jews by the adoption of the Bavarian Jews edict by the state parliament of Bavaria . Trending press reports made the Würzburg riots known throughout Germany and seemed like a call for imitation. They sparked a wave of violent riots against Jews in many cities of the German Confederation , including Prague , Graz and Vienna , as well as in Amsterdam , Copenhagen , Helsinki , Krakow and smaller towns in Russian Poland .

Pogroms in Russia

"Stop the cruel suppression of Russian Jews", Roosevelt demanded from
Nicholas II in 1904 .

Despite 2000 years of Jewish history in Russia , 1881 marked a turning point. Pogroms and restrictive edicts as well as administrative pressure led to mass emigration. Between 1881 and 1914 about two million of the more than five million Jews living in the Russian Pale of Settlement left the country, many of them emigrating to the USA. The historian Orlando Figes assumes a further 1200 pogroms with 150,000 deaths between 1919 and 1920. During the Katyn massacre , members of the Soviet People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) shot 14,587  Polish prisoners on orders from Stalin , most of them officers , including at least 800 Polish-Jewish officers and a further 400 Polish-Jewish doctors Forest near Katyn .


Graffiti by neo-Nazis near the Ponte di Nona bridge in Rome , 2008: “The Shoah must go on”.

1,359,100 Jews live on the European continent, which corresponds to 0.166% of the total population of 818,470,000 inhabitants. 1,077,500 Jews live in the European Union, which corresponds to 0.21% of the EU population (511,340,000).

Worldwide, 7.909 million Jews live in the Diaspora (in Israel 6,769,776 [74.1% as of December 31, 2019]), most of them in the United States (6,925,475, 1.74%), followed by France ( 453,000, 0.68%), Canada (390,500, 1.06%), Great Britain (290,000, 0.44%), Argentina (180,000, 0.4%) and Russia (172,000, 0.12%); In Germany, the Jewish population is 0.14% (as of 2018). The proportion of Jews in the world population (7,527,593,000) is 0.194%. (For comparison: the proportion of Muslims in the world population is 20.577%, the proportion of Christians 32.5%; see also: World Religions ).

In 1939 the number of Jews worldwide was 16,728,000 (0.68%), in 1945 around 11,000,000 and increased again to 14,606,000 by 2018. In the same period, the world population has tripled.

State laws are binding

Dina de-malchuta dina ( Aramaic דִּינָא דְּמַלְכוּתָא דִּינָא“The law of kingship / kingdom / country is law”) is a Talmudic principle and has retained its validity in the Jewish diaspora to this day. It stipulates that Jews are fundamentally obliged to respect and obey the laws of the country in which they live. This also means that in certain cases the national laws are even preferable to the legal principles of Halacha .

History of the Jews in Germany

Spread of the Jews in the German Empire, ca.1895
Jewish soldiers in the German army celebrate Yom Kippur on September 23, 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War . The Feuchtwanger Collection, Israel Museum , Jerusalem .

1700 years ago, Jewish life was first documented in what is now Germany. Thus, the true to the Cologne decision given city council decree of Emperor Constantine the year 321, the Jews, the appointment to the " curia " allowed as frühester evidence of the existence of a Jewish community in the city of Cologne . This anniversary is to be celebrated in 2021.

German-Jewish historiography in Germany is dominated by the local category. The history of the Jews in Germany is that of an ethnic and denominational minority in the German-speaking area of ​​Central Europe. One of the oldest Jewish communities is that in Mainz (first half of the 10th century). From this central community, further communities were formed in Trier (1066), Worms (1084) and Speyer (1090), the ShUM cities ( Hebrew שו״מ, after the first Hebrew letters of the three city names Spira , Warmaisa , and Magenza ). In Regensburg , which was important for trade with the east, 981 Jews are attested as residents. Despite numerous persecutions, as in the rest of Central Europe, the Jewish presence in the German-speaking area was hardly ever interrupted in the following centuries. Numerous famous writers, physicians and musicians enriched the cultural landscape. During this time they experienced both tolerance and anti-Judaist violence.

First World War

In the First World War (1914–1918) the German Jews wanted to prove their patriotism , as they had done before in the campaign by Prussia and Austria against Denmark in 1864, in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 and in the Franco-German War of 1870/71, where about 14,000 Soldiers of Jewish faith on the Prussian-German side stood in the field. But anti-Semitic agitation and propaganda later made them scapegoats for the lost First World War.

John CG Röhl , who with his numerous publications - especially his biographies based on intensive study of files - about Wilhelm II (1859-1941) is one of the best experts on the last emperor, is of the opinion that anti-Semitic attitudes and anti-Semitism in the worldview of Wilhelm II held a very important position. Wilhelm II is an example of the development of large parts of the bourgeois and military elites of the imperial era from ordinary to eliminatory anti-Semitism during the Weimar period . In a letter dated December 2, 1919 to his former wing adjutant August von Mackensen , he criticized - referring to his abdication - the participation of German Jews - such as the (U) SPD politician Kurt Eisner in Bavaria - in the November revolution of 1918:

“The deepest and meanest disgrace that a people has ever done in history, the Germans have perpetrated on themselves. Incited and seduced by the tribe of Judah, whom they hated and who enjoyed hospitality with them! That was his thanks! No German ever forgets that, and don't rest until these parasites have been eradicated and exterminated from German soil! This toadstool on the German oak tree! "

- Hostility towards Jews and anti-Semitism among Kaiser Wilhelm II. Scientific services of the German Bundestag, November 30, 2007.
Reich Association of Jewish Frontline Soldiers, 1920

In his exile in particular, Wilhelm II developed his resentment towards Jews, which had already existed during his reign - but only privately expressed - towards his anti-Semitism aimed at physical annihilation. In a letter to an American friend Poultney Bigelow on August 15, 1927, Wilhelm II's anti-Semitism is also made clear:

“The Hebrew race is my arch enemy at home as well as abroad; are what they are and always have been: forging lies and masterminds of unrest, revolution and subversion by spreading wickedness with the help of their poisoned, caustic, satirical spirit. Once the world awakens, they must be given the punishment they deserve. "

- Hostility towards Jews and anti-Semitism among Kaiser Wilhelm II. Scientific services of the German Bundestag, November 30, 2007.

In the same year he wrote to the same addressee:

“'The press, Jews and mosquitoes' (...) are 'a plague from which humanity has to free itself one way or another'. He added with his own hand: 'I think the best would be gas.' "

- Hostility towards Jews and anti-Semitism among Kaiser Wilhelm II. Scientific services of the German Bundestag, November 30, 2007.

The results of the so-called Jewish census ordered by the state on November 1, 1916 to prove the conscripted Jews in the army were kept secret until the end of the war. This increased the resentment against Jewish war participants considerably. The Reich Association of Jewish Frontline Soldiers was founded in February 1919 on the initiative of Leo Löwenstein . Its aim was to ward off anti-Semitism in Germany, citing the fact that around 85,000 German Jews fought in World War I, of which around 12,000 were killed.

In 1940 Wilhelm II claimed that Jews and Freemasons had started wars of annihilation against Germany in 1914 and 1939 in order to establish a “Jewish world empire” backed by British and American gold.

Second World War

Desecration of a synagogue in Brest (France) by setting up an armed forces brothel , 1940

A total of 1,406,000 soldiers or resistance fighters of Jewish faith fought against the German Wehrmacht during the Second World War (1939–1945) , including 550,000 from the USA, of which an estimated 11,000 Jews died or were reported missing, from the USSR 500,000 with 200,000 fallen, Poland 190,000, England 62,000, France 48,000, Jews from Palestine 30,000, Canada 16,000, Greece 13,000, Yugoslavia 12,000, South Africa 10,000, Czechoslovakia 8,000, Belgium 7,000 and Australia 3,000. ( Estimates of the total number of deaths in World War II as a result of direct warfare are between 50 and 56 million. Estimates, which include crimes and the consequences of the war, range up to 80 million. In addition, there are around 30 million Asians , including 23 million ethnic, who were murdered by the Japanese Chinese).

attack on Poland

During the attack on Poland in September 1939, 120,000 Polish citizens of Jewish descent took part in the battles against the Germans and Soviets as members of the Polish army . It is believed that 32,216 Jewish soldiers and officers died and 61,000 were captured by the Germans throughout World War II ; the majority did not survive. Around 200,000 Jews fled from the Germans to Soviet-occupied eastern Poland, increasing their number there from 1.2 to 1.4 million. By the end of 1939 about 90,000 Jews and Poles had been expelled from the annexed areas to the Generalgouvernement , by 1945 a total of 900,000. About 10,000 Jews managed to flee to Japan via Lithuania on the Trans-Siberian Railway , where they mostly survived in the Japanese-occupied Shanghai ghetto . The remaining Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.

Russian campaign

House of the Ghetto Fighters in Kibbutz Lochamej HaGeta'ot, first museum in Israel built in 1949 to commemorate the Holocaust victims and the Jewish resistance.

During the Russian campaign (Operation Barbarossa, 1941), the Jewish soldiers of the Red Army were distinguished by their extraordinary loyalty to the Soviet Union. Of the 500,000 Jews who served in the Soviet Army during World War II, about 200,000 died in combat.

Resistance groups

The Jewish partisan groups against the German occupation included the Bielski partisans , who ran a large “family camp ” in the eastern part of Poland (today: Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus ) and which comprised over 1200 people in the summer of 1944, as well as the Parczew- Partisans in southeastern Poland and the Fareinigte Partisaner Organisatzije (United Partisan Organization ), which initiated an uprising in the Vilnius ghetto in Lithuania and later carried out sabotage and guerrilla operations. Thirty-two Jews from the Mandate for Palestine were trained by the British and dropped behind enemy lines to resist. In the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising , two groups of partisans, the right-wing Jewish Military Association (Żydowski Związek Wojskowy, ŻZW) and the left-wing Jewish fighting organization (Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa, ŻOB), led the uprising separately. In total, the fighting in the Warsaw ghetto claimed 12,000 victims. Another 30,000 people were shot after the fighting and 7,000 were transported to extermination camps. There were also armed uprisings in Cracow, Czestochowa, Vilnius, Lemberg, Bialystok and Tuczyn (Volhynia) and in almost a hundred ghettos in Poland, Lithuania, Belarus and the Ukraine. The Buchenwald International Military Organization (IMO) of prisoners in the Buchenwald concentration camp , which was formed at the end of 1943, was the armed arm of the International Camp Committee (ILK) in Buchenwald. It consisted of eleven national task forces and had weapons that were to be used for protection in the event of the imminent destruction of the camp. She was part of the resistance in Buchenwald concentration camp . An Armée Juive (Jewish Army) and more than twenty autonomous operational formations in the Resistance were formed in occupied France. The greatest success of this Jewish resistance in France is that over seventy percent of French Jews were able to survive the terror of the German occupation and the repressive measures of the Vichy regime . 72,000 Jewish children alone were saved. In the broadest sense, the Jewish Brigade belongs to the resistance groups. She was a fighting unit in the British Army during the Second World War that fought on the side of the Allies against the Axis powers . The brigade was composed of volunteers from the area of ​​the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine . Of the approximately 30,000 Jewish volunteers from Palestine who served in the British Army during World War II, over 700 were killed in service.

post war period

The New Synagogue (Berlin) , (not re-inaugurated as a synagogue)

After the Second World War, around 15,000 Jews remained in the Federal Republic of Germany, who gradually rebuilt the Jewish community. In the GDR, the number of Jews registered in the communities shrank to around 1,500 until the Wall was built in 1961. Towards the end of the Cold War (1989), around 400 Jews lived in the GDR and around 29,000 in the Federal Republic of Germany. In the period from 1991 to 2015, around 230,000 Jews immigrated to Germany from the CIS (successor states of the Soviet Union) and some emigrated again. As of 2015, 117,000 Jews live in Germany, 99,695 are members of the Jewish communities in Germany. Without immigrants from the CIS, the number of members would have dropped to 17,902 by the year 2000. Estimates speak of up to 200,000 Jews in Germany, 80% of whom are of Russian origin.

Increasing anti-Semitism

According to figures published by the Federal Ministry of the Interior since 2001, an average of 1,690, i.e. four to five anti-Semitic crimes per day, were committed up to 2009 . According to the criminal police registration statistics, a total of 11,786 anti-Jewish crimes have been recorded nationwide since 2010, 327 of which are violent. In eastern German federal states, the number of anti-Semitic crimes from 2010 to 2018 was well above the national average. The number of crimes per 100,000 inhabitants was lowest in the southern federal states. After a significant increase in 2014, anti-Semitic crimes fell from 1,596 to 1,366 in 2015 and rose again to 1,468 in 2016. In 2017, 1504 crimes were counted, 1799 in 2018 and 2032 in 2019. According to the police, 93 percent of them were right-wing motivated.

Logo of the campaign "Together against anti-Semitism"

Due to the increasing incidents of hatred of Jews, the German Bundestag unanimously called on the future federal government on January 18, 2018 to appoint an independent anti-Semitism commissioner . Felix Klein has held the post since May 1, 2018 . In 2018, anti-Semitic crimes increased by 20% to 1,800. Regarding anti-Semitism among immigrants , the demand was made that calls for anti-Semitic hatred in the event of possible deportations should be viewed as a “particularly serious interest in deportation ”, while at the same time increasing awareness-raising about National Socialism in integration courses. The anti-Semitism officer succeeds the coordinator of the European Commission to combat anti-Semitism, Katharina von Schnurbein , who has been appointed since December 2015 . On May 25, 2019, the anti-Semitism commissioner of the German federal government, Felix Klein, advised Jews against wearing the kippah anywhere in Germany . He justified this with the "increasing social disinhibition and brutality", which represent a fatal breeding ground for anti-Semitism. About 90 percent of the crimes can be attributed to the right-wing extremist environment. In the case of Muslim perpetrators, it is mostly people who have lived in Germany for a long time. “Many of them watch Arab channels that convey a fatal image of Israel and Jews.” On November 9, 2019, Efraim Yehoud-Desel launched the “Together against anti-Semitism” campaign.

In 1947, the US military government (OMGUS) found in a survey in its zone of occupation that around 40 percent of the German population were resolute anti-Semites and only 20 percent were largely free from resentments.

Vigil against anti-Semitism after the attack in Halle, Hanover, October 10, 2019

In a representative survey published by the World Jewish Congress at the beginning of October 2019 , 1000 participants in Germany were asked about anti-Semitism in mid-July 2019, i.e. before the attack on the synagogue in Halle on October 9, 2019. According to the survey, 27 percent of all Germans and 18 percent anti-Semitic thoughts of a population group categorized as “elite”, 41 percent believe that Jews talked too much about the Holocaust. Anti-Semitic stereotypes are also widespread among university graduates with an annual income of at least 100,000 euros. 28 percent of them claim that Jews have too much power in the economy, 26 percent attest Jews “too much power in world politics”. 12 percent of all respondents believe that Jews are responsible for most of the wars worldwide. 11 percent say the Jews have no right to their own state of Israel. In the opinion of the respondents, the far right-wing extremists (39%), right-wing politicians and parties (36%), Muslim extremists (33%) and Muslim immigrants (18%) are responsible for anti-Semitism in Germany, but left-wing extremists and left-wing parties and politicians only 3%.

Desecration at the Jewish cemetery in Shumen (Bulgaria), 2010

Anti-Semitism officers have been appointed in numerous federal states .

The desecration of Jewish cemeteries is a particularly reprehensible expression of anti-Semitism. During the National Socialist era, over 80 percent of the 1700 or so Jewish resting places were desecrated. Since 1945, Jewish cemeteries have been desecrated in Germany more than 2000 times. However, desecrations of cemeteries take place worldwide. A permanent rest of the dead corresponds to one of the most fundamental Jewish beliefs of the Halacha . Their disturbance causes deep emotional distress in the Jewish community.


Holocaust memorial in Berlin . In 2016, 42 property damage was found in places of memory of the Shoah in Berlin alone - three times as many as in the previous year.
List of the Jewish population in Europe prepared for the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942. The more than 300,000 Jews murdered between 1933 and then are not recorded.

The Shoah was the National Socialist genocide of 5.6 to 6.3 million European Jews , including 2.7 million Jews from Poland, 2.1 million Jews from the Soviet Union, 565,000 Jews from Hungary and 300,000 Jews from Romania. 1.5 million children were among those murdered. The extermination was initiated during the Reichspogromnacht from November 9th to 10th, 1938. After the German attack on Poland in 1939, around 10,000 Polish Jews fled to neutral Lithuania. The escape route then led over 10,000 km from Lithuania with the trans-Siberian railway to Nakhodka and by ship to Tsuruga (Japan). Germans and their helpers carried out the extermination of Jews systematically from 1941 to 1945, and from 1942 also with industrial methods, with the aim of exterminating all Jews in the German sphere of influence. Only a few thousand Jews managed to escape to Shanghai via various shipping routes , since the city was the only place of refuge besides the Comoros that took in Jewish refugees.

In 1941, the Babi Yar Gorge was the scene of the largest of all massacres of Jewish men, women and children in World War II , with more than 51,000 dead, carried out under the responsibility of the Wehrmacht Army .

At that time, two thirds of all European Jews were murdered. This crime against humanity was based on the anti-Semitism propagated by the state and the corresponding racist legislation of the Nazi regime . The Nazis set up around 42,500 camps during the Third Reich. In detail, 980 concentration camps were counted, including extermination camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau , Treblinka or Majdanek , 30,000 labor camps including their often numerous branch offices, 1150 Jewish ghettos , including the largest ghetto in Warsaw with 450,000 Jews, 1000 prisoner of war camps and no fewer than 500 forced brothels and Wehrmacht brothels . For Berlin alone, a number of 3,000 forced labor camps and so-called “ Jewish houses ” was determined.

In 1925 563,733 people declared themselves to be members of the Jewish religious community, that was 0.9% of the total population of the German Reich. According to the June 16, 1933 census, their number had decreased to 499,682. The number of Jews murdered during National Socialism in the German Reich in the 1933 borders is given as 160,000. 340,000 Jews fled in time, were expelled or emigrated. About 95,000 fled to the USA from the German Reich and Austria. Most of those who made it to European countries that were captured by German troops during the war did not escape subsequent deportations .

History of the Jews in Austria

Anti-Semitic relief on Judenplatz in Vienna, which refers to the murderous expulsion of the Jews in 1421 and which in Latin hailed the killing of the Jews as a “cleansing of dirt and evil”.

The Jews on the floor of modern Austria is the first time in the Roman detectable. At the beginning of the 10th century, the Raffelstetten customs regulations were the first to mention Jews in this area as traders. In Vienna, Burgenland and eastern Lower Austria, centuries of history tell of the existence of Jewish communities. There were large Jewish minorities in almost all crown lands of Austria-Hungary , especially in Galicia and Bukovina . After the legal equality of the Jews and due to industrialization , many Jews emigrated from the more rural areas to the cities of the monarchy. At the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th century, Jews were not prevented from advancing to high positions. The Wiener Gesera was the planned annihilation of the Jewish communities in the Duchy of Austria in 1421 on the orders of Duke Albrecht V by forced baptism, expulsion and execution by burning. Vienna went as ארהה-דמים ( Hebrew Ir ha-damim), as the “city of blood” in Jewish historiography.

With Joseph II's tolerance patents , emancipation also began for the traditionally ghettoized Jews of the Habsburg monarchy, at that time around 1.5 million. In the March Revolution of 1848 academics, including many educated Jews, were mostly committed to liberalism.

After Austria was "annexed" to the National Socialist German Reich , around two thirds of Austrian Jews fled the Nazi dictatorship and around 65,000 were murdered. Only a few survived the Nazi terror, even fewer returned. After 1945, small Jewish communities were re-established in the largest cities. Today, mainly due to immigration from the former Soviet Union, between 8,000 and 15,000 Jews live in Austria - today, as then, mostly in Vienna.

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in Austria is rising steadily; 465 cases were reported in 2015, 477 cases in 2016 and 503 cases in 2017, although a higher number of unreported cases (unreported cases) can be assumed. The IKG Vienna recorded 550 anti-Jewish incidents in 2019, around four fifths of them in the capital Vienna - an increase of 9.5 percent.

History of the Jews in Switzerland

The first Jews came to what is now Switzerland with the Romans. The presence of Jews in Basel is documented in 1213 when the local bishop ordered the return of a pledge that he had deposited with a Jewish moneylender. Numerous Jewish communities were founded during the 13th century; the most important were in Bern, Zurich and Lucerne. During this time they were subjected to increasing persecution, often following the model of the ritual murder legend . In the Old Confederation, Jews lived in the Common Rulership of Baden under an “expensive” special statute from the early 17th century, the last time passed by the Diet of 1776. The residence of the Jews was limited to the two villages of Endingen and Lengnau . Although Helvetic pushed the idea of ​​emancipation forward, it did not implement it. Only with the partial revision of the Federal Constitution of 1866 Jews in Switzerland was the freedom granted and the full exercise of civil rights. During World War II , Switzerland took in around 51,000 civilian refugees, around 20,000 of whom were Jews. At the same time, at least 30,000 people were turned away at the Swiss border, including many Jews. For many thousands, the escape ended at the Swiss diplomatic missions abroad when they found out that they had no prospect of an entry permit. Many refugees were forcibly expelled from the country and some were handed over directly to their persecutors. Around 18,000 to 20,000 Jews live in Switzerland today.

Switzerland does not keep any official statistics on anti-Semitic crime.

History of the State of Israel

Memorial plaque in memory of the passengers of the Exodus on the left side of the passage to bridge 3 of the St. Pauli Landungsbrücken in the port of Hamburg .
Hagana ship called Jewish State ("Jewish State") in the port of Haifa , 1947

The history of the State of Israel did not begin with its founding in 1948. It was preceded by efforts by thought leaders of Zionism (especially Theodor Herzl ) over a period of more than 100 years to allow Jews to return to Eretz Israel and later a sovereign one Wanted to create a nation state with its own territory for the Jews. Organized immigration of Russian Jews began around 1880 with the Chibbat Zion movement, a forerunner organization of Zionism. In the next few decades, up to around 1930, hundreds of thousands of Jews emigrated to Palestine in the first four Aliyots from the Tsarist Empire and the Soviet Union .

The UN Partition Plan for Palestine was adopted on November 29, 1947 by the UN General Assembly as Resolution 181 (II). 33 states voted for the resolution, including the USSR , the USA and France . 13 voted against, including the six Arab member states plus Greece , India and Turkey . 10 abstained, including Great Britain and the Republic of China . The resolution was intended to resolve the conflict between Arab and Jewish residents of the British Mandate Palestine, which was triggered on July 24, 1920 by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine ( Arabic الانتداب البريطاني على فلسطين; Hebrew המנדט הבריטי מטעם חבר הלאומים על פלשתינה (א"י)) had come about. This League of Nations mandate contained the Balfour Declaration of 2 November 1917 and was a Class A Mandate of the League of Nations , which after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War at the San Remo Conference in the UK has been transferred. The UN resolution included the termination of the British mandate and provided for Palestine to be divided into a state for Jews and one for Arabs, with Jerusalem (including Bethlehem ) being placed under international control as a corpus separatum .

The President of Parliament Yosef Sprinzak speaks to the
inaugural assembly on February 14, 1949; in the picture below is David Ben-Gurion , who was appointed the first Prime Minister of the State of Israel on February 25, 1949.

On May 14, 1948, the last British forces withdrew from Palestine and David Ben-Gurion read the Israeli declaration of independence . The only representative democracy to date with a parliamentary system of government emerged in the Middle East . The Knesset ( Hebrew כנסת Assembly ) met for the first time on February 14, 1949. It is a unicameral parliament located in Givat Ram ( Jerusalem ). It consists of 120 members who are elected for a legislative period of four years according to proportional representation with a threshold of 3.25 percent. The election for the 21st Knesset took place on April 9, 2019 and the establishment on April 30.

On the very night of the founding, Egypt , Saudi Arabia , Jordan , Lebanon , Iraq and Syria , all of the six Arab member states that voted against the UN resolution, declared war on the young state. In the first few years between 1948 and 1952 alone, over 600,000 Jewish immigrants came to Israel, doubling the total population. As a result, there were several wars, such as the Sinai War , the Six Day War , the Yom Kippur War or the Lebanon War in 1982 , the Second Gulf War and the Lebanon War in 2006 . Then there were the First Intifada and the Second Intifada .

After Mikhail Gorbachev took office and the perestroika he initiated , the exit regulations were relaxed. In 1989 the mass immigration of Jewish people from the Soviet Union began . In total, over a million people immigrated to Israel from successor states of the former Soviet Union by 2003.

USB stick from M-Systems that was sold to SanDisk at the end of 2006 for 1.6 billion US dollars .

Start-up nation

Due to the large number of start-up companies, Israel is known as a “start-up nation”. IT giants such as Apple , Cisco Systems , Google , Intel , Microsoft and IBM have research centers there. Lockheed Martin, IBM, Deutsche Telekom and Oracle have settled in the Gav Yam Negev Advanced Technologies Park in Be'er Scheva . The USB stick was invented in Israel, drip irrigation in agriculture and the most successful Intel processors, just to name the most famous products. Intel alone employs over 10,000 people in Israel and plans to invest a further US $ 10 billion in its 5 Israeli locations over the next few years. The gross domestic product is 370 billion US $ (as of 2018). In the ranking of the 20 most powerful countries according to the Best Countries Ranking 2019, Israel ranks seventh - on a par with Japan. See also Economy of Israel .

Actual nuclear power

It is certain that Israel since 1967 at the latest nuclear bombs has, furthermore about neutron bombs , hydrogen bombs , both land-based as well as cruise missiles from fighter jets and submarines can be used. According to US data, Israel has 200 nuclear weapons according to Colin Powell and 300 according to Jimmy Carter . According to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) published in June 2019, Israel has around 80 to 90 nuclear warheads, including around 30 gravity bombs (B 61 bomb) that can be dropped by fighter jets and around 50 warheads that are ballistically off the ground to be fired.

Middle East conflict

A poster of the Middle East peace movement : The Israeli and Palestinian flags, in between the word “peace”, in Arabic ( Salām ) above and in Hebrew ( shalom ) below .

As a solution to the Middle East conflict - in addition to a one-state solution and a three - state solution - a two-state solution is being discussed, which provides “two states for two ethnic groups”. An independent state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel west of the Jordan is sought. The scope of this dispute resolution proposal is provided by the UN resolutions on 'peaceful settlement of the Palestinian question "( English " Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine " ) dating back to the year 1974th Many attempts to implement a two-state solution have so far been unsuccessful. The construction of settlements is controversial: While Israel regards the settlements as legal, the UN considers the settlements to be illegal according to the 4th Geneva Convention . Shalom Achshaw ( Hebrew שלום עכשיו, German  Peace Now , English Peace Now ) is an extra-parliamentary peace movement . However, the non-recognition of Israel's right to exist by the Arab states and Iran also stands in the way of a peaceful solution. The Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty of 1979 and the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty of 1994 can be seen as the first concrete results of efforts to normalize relations between Israel and the Arab states. A recognition of Israel's right place in August 2020 through the readiness of the United Arab Emirates to resume with Israel diplomatic relations and a peace treaty between Israel and the United Arab Emirates to complete what was welcomed by the Palestinians, Iran and Turkey to violent rejection. So far, however, there has been no recognition of Israel's right to exist by other Arab states.

Linked timetable

Jahreszahlen im jüdischen Kalender Immigration nach Israel Jüdische Diaspora Israel Jerusalemer Tempel Schoftim (Parascha) Melachim Der salomonische Tempel Der zweite Tempel Zugot Tannaim Amoraim Savoraim Geonim Rischonim Acharonim Alija Israel Holocaust Jüdische Diaspora Spanische Inquisition Vertreibung der Juden aus dem römischen Kaiserreich Umsiedlung durch die Assyrer Babylonisches Exil Der zweite Tempel Biblische Geschichte Chronologie in der Tora Gregorianischer Kalender Geschichte der Juden (Neuzeit)Chronology of Israel de.png
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List of articles on the history of the Jews

By topics / lists

Jewish history (late antiquity)
history of the Jews (Middle Ages)
history of the Jews (modern times)


History of the Jews in Germany


See also

Shoes on the Danube Bank ”, memorial in Budapest in memory of the pogroms against Jews by Arrow Cross members in Hungary.
Portal: Judaism  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the subject of Judaism
Portal: Israel and Palestine  - Overview of Wikipedia content on Israel and Palestine

Web links

Commons : History of the Jews  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Commons : Jews in the Diaspora  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files


Overall representations

  • Heinrich Graetz : History of the Jews. From the oldest times to the present. Revised from the sources. 11 volumes, 1853–1875.
  • Heinrich Graetz: History of the Jews. From the oldest times to the present. Revised from the sources. 11 volumes, 1853–1875, digital library , volume 44, electronic resource CD-ROM, Directmedia Publishing Berlin 2002/2004, ISBN 3-89853-444-8 .
  • Abraham Geiger : Judaism and its history . Schletter, Breslau 1865–1871.
    • Vol. 1: Until the destruction of the second temple . 1865.
    • Vol. 2: From the destruction of the second temple to the end of the twelfth century . 1865.
    • Vol. 3: From the beginning of the thirteenth to the end of the sixteenth century . 1871.
  • Simon Dubnow : World History of the Jewish People . 10 volumes, Jüdischer Verlag, Berlin 1925–1929.
    • Vol. 1: The oldest history of the Jewish people. From the emergence of the people of Israel to the end of Persian rule in Judea . 1925.
    • Vol. 2: The ancient history of the Jewish people. From the beginning of the Greek rule in Judea to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans . 1925.
    • Vol. 3: From the fall of Judea to the disintegration of the autonomous centers in the East . 1926.
    • Vol. 4: The earlier Middle Ages. From the beginnings of the occidental diaspora to the end of the crusades . 1926.
    • Vol. 5: The late Middle Ages. From the XIII. until the XV. Century . 1927.
    • Vol. 6: The modern age. First period. The XVI. and the first half of the XVII. Century . 1927.
    • Vol. 7: The modern age. Second period. The second half of the XVII. and the XVIII. Century . 1928.
    • Vol. 8: The Age of First Emancipation (1789-1815). 1928.
    • Vol. 9: The Age of First Reaction and Second Emancipation (1815–1881). 1929.
    • Vol. 10: The Age of the Second Reaction (1880-1914). Along with epilogue (1914–1928). 1929.

Individual epochs

Individual countries


Individual evidence

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