PULKAU, small town in Lower Austria; it became notorious in the 14th century as the scene of a *Host desecration libel, which was followed by a wave of massacres of the Jews. A bleeding Host was allegedly found concealed in front of a Jew's house on Easter Sunday, April 12, 1338, the day following the last day of Passover. Rumors spread that the Host had performed miracles; crowds came to venerate it, and on April 23 they burned the Jews at the stake and plundered their property. The disorders spread, and Jews were massacred in 27 localities as far away as *Jindrichuv Hradec (Neuhaus) in Bohemia, *Trebic (Trebitsch) in Moravia, and St. Poelten. Duke *Albert II expressed his doubts about the accusation and asked Pope Benedict XII for an investigation. The pope ordered the bishop of Passau to conduct an inquiry, but its results are unknown. A church called Zum Heiligen Blut ("The Holy Blood") was built on the site; decorated with representations of the alleged occurrence, it attracted many worshi pers throughout the years. The pictures were later painted over. The site where the Jews were burned is well marked. At the time of the massacres, Jewish books were confiscated; possibly some of the parchment manuscripts confiscated in 1338 were utilized for binding city records in 1622 and 1623.
J.E. Scherer, Rechtsverhaeltnisse der Juden, 2 (1968), 363–9; Germania Judaica, 2 (1968), 665–7.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.