Jews Defying Forced Conversion

These persecutions, repeated throughout first decades and then centuries, gave rise to outstanding displays of bravery among a people made largely cowed and skittish from those pressures. In the year 1349 a Jew pressured to baptize during the last storm against the Jews set his own house ablaze and, with his two children in his arms, shouted that he wanted to die as a devout Jew. In the year 1390 a Jew fell to his knees in front of the mayor and asked to be burned, for he had sinned against God by leaving his Jewish faith and having been seduced to baptism. As he did not stop pleading, his wish was granted and he was publicly burned on the 20th of September!

Source: Schwab, G. Der Bodensee nebst dem Rheinthale von St. Luziensteig bis Rheinegg. 1840, p. 178f.

Commentary: One can only imagine the desperation of people who had first been forced to convert by the sword and then forced to live a lie - pretending to follow a faith that they did not believe in. Sadly, this seems to have made no impression on their “Christian” contemporaries - for further pogroms in Constance followed in the subsequent generations.

As a final note, in light of these and the many other stories like this from German history and folklore, it is probably accurate to say that the Holocaust merely represented an aberration in its industrial scale, not in its nature (and thus cannot be dismissed as “bird shit” like members of a certain fascist party have claimed). Germans were all too ready to murder their Jewish countrymen throughout much of the country’s history.

From: Two Thousand Years of Slander - Jews in German Folklore