06 June 2010

Spain: Anti-Jewish riots began today in 1391

On this day, June 6, in 1391, anti-Jewish riots began in Seville, instigated by Ferrand Martiniz, and soon spread across the country, decimating the Jewish populations of major communities and resulting in mass forced conversions to Catholicism and massacres of those who refused.

Some 10,000 Jews are estimated to have been murdered, many more forcibly converted. Some communities were complete destroyed, such as the 400-year-old Barcelona community, others were re-established in some way. While thousands of individuals went underground and maintained secret Jewish lives, other families and individuals left for other geographic areas.

This was a precursor to the later Inquisition and the 1492 exile.

Click here to learn what else happened this day in Jewish history. Here are some important facts - the list goes through 2010!

1242: Two dozen wagonloads of Talmudic volumes and 200 other rabbinic manuscripts were burned at Paris.1247: Pope Innocent IV contacts the king of Navarre. In a dispatch he requested the king compel Christian debtors to pay off their debt to Jewish lenders.

1506: Birthdate of King John III of Portugal. Persecution of Marranos and Conversos intensified during his reign with the arrival of the Inquisition. On the other hand he met with David Reubeini in 1525 and the two negotiated over the possibility of the King supplying this adventurer with as many as eight ships to use in a fight against the Moslem leader, Selim I. Since much of the life of Reubeni is shrouded in myth and half truths, we cannot be sure as to the reason the negotiations failed.1539: The Inquisition was introduced into Mexico.

1808: Birthdate of Jacob Raphael De Cordova, Texas land agent and colonizer. A native of Jamaica, he settled in Philadelphia in the 1820’s with his father before moving to Texas in 1839. Jacob and his brother Phineas De Cordova operated one of the largest land agencies in Texas. Jacob was one of three men who helped lay out Waco in 1848. He passed away in 1868.

1855: Isaac Kaatz, Gottlieb Milhelm and Anton First were arrested today on charges of having been involved in the theft of eight cows from a farm belong to Colonel Lewis Morris. The three carcasses found in the possession of the accused all bore a mark indicating that they were Kosher.

1859: In Australia, Queensland is established as a separate colony from New South Wales. By 1865, there were enough Jews living in the Queensland city of Brisbane that a congregation was formed that held services in a local Masonic hall until 1886 when a sanctuary with a seating capacity of 400. In 1879, the Jews of Toowoomba, Queensland, built a synagogue which, as the community shrunk in size, was only used on the High Holidays.

1875: Birthdate of Novelist Thomas Mann. Mann was not Jewish but in 1905 he married Katia Pringsheim, daughter of prominent family of Jewish intellectuals. They had six children. Mann left Nazi German in 1933, four years after having won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He lived in the United States for many years. He died in Switzerland in 1955, never having lived in his native land again.

1894: Governor Davis H. Waite ordered the Colorado state militia to protect and support the miners engaged in the Cripple Creek miners' strike. Famed financier Bernard Baruch was one of those who got his start in the “strike it rich” world of Cripple Creek. Arriving from the east, Baruch bought shares of stock in the San Francisco mine. During the day he worked as a “mucker” and at night he played at the roulette wheel in a local gambling joint where he was so successful that he was barred by the owners. Baruch took his winnings and headed back to New York where he gained fame and fortune. Sam Butcher, a Hungarian Jew, was one of the few Jews who actually made money in industrial mining in Cripple Creek. Because many of his fellow miners were blatant anti-Semites, Butcher “took pains to conceal his identity” until he had gained financial success. Sam and Bertha Flax were one of the first, if not the first Jewish couple to marry in Cripple Creek. They tied the knot in 1909. Sam was not much of a miner but he would prove be a successful restaurant owner in Denver, Colorado.

For more, visit This Day in Jewish History.

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