On This Day
1096 – First Crusade: Around 800 Jews are massacred in Worms, Germany.
The Worms massacre was the murder of at least 800 Jews from Worms, Germany, at the hands of crusaders under Count Emicho in May 1096.
The massacre at Worms was one of a number of attacks against Jewish communities perpetrated during the First Crusade (1096–1099). Followers of Count Emicho arrived at Worms on May 18, 1096. Soon after his arrival, a rumour spread that the Jews had boiled a Christian alive, and used his corpse to contaminate water to poison the town’s wells. The local populace later joined forces with Emicho and launched a savage attack on the town’s Jews, who had been given sanctuary in Bishop Adalbert’s palace, though others chose to remain outside its walls. They were the first to be massacred.
After eight days, Emicho’s army, assisted by local burghers broke in and slaughtered those seeking asylum there. The Jews were in the midst of reciting the Hallel prayer for Rosh Chodesh Sivan.
In all, from 800 to 1,000 Jews were killed, with the exception of some who committed suicide and a few who were forcibly baptised. One, Simchah ben Yitzchak ha-Cohen, stabbed the bishop’s nephew while being baptised and was consequently killed. One of the most famous victims was Minna of Worms.
Born On This Day
1852 – Gertrude Käsebier, American photographer (d. 1934)
Gertrude Käsebier (May 18, 1852 – October 12, 1934) was an American photographer. She was known for her images of motherhood, her portraits of Native Americans, and her promotion of photography as a career for women.
If war had not intruded, he might have stuck to comedy sketches. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor he enlisted in the Navy and served as an officer in the Pacific. There, he received the writer’s most precious gift, free time, and wrote what became his first published novel, the radio satire “Aurora Dawn.”
Herman Wouk (/woʊk/ WOHK; May 27, 1915 – May 17, 2019) was an American author best known for historical fiction such as The Caine Mutiny (1951) which won the Pulitzer Prize. Other major works include The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, historical novels about World War II, and non-fiction such as This Is My God, an explanation of Judaism from a Modern Orthodox perspective, written for Jewish and non-Jewish audiences. His books have been translated into 27 languages. The Washington Post called Wouk, who cherished his privacy, “the reclusive dean of American historical novelists.” Historians, novelists, publishers, and critics who gathered at the Library of Congress in 1995 to mark Wouk’s 80th birthday described him as an American Tolstoy.
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