Rindfleisch was a German knight and instigator of the massacre of thousands of Jews in 146 localities in southern and central Germany in 1298. The background for the slaughter was a series of blood libels in Mainz (1281, 1283), Munich (1285), Oberwesel (1287), and the accusation of Desecration of the Host in Paris in 1290.
On April 20, 1298, in the small Franconian town of Roettingen, 21 Jews were attacked and massacred by a mob led by Rindfleisch, who urged revenge for alleged Desecration of the Host. Rindfleisch subsequently went from town to town, followed by a plunder-hungry mob, exhorting the burghers to annihilate the Jews.
A wave of massacres swept through Franconia, Swabia, Hesse, *Thuringia, and finally Heilbronn (Oct. 19, 1298). The protector of the Jews, Emperor Albert I of Austria, was preoccupied with warfare, and only after vanquishing his rival, Adolf of Nassau, did he proclaim a Landfriede (“peace of the land”), warning against further attacks. This proclamation was barely heeded, and Jews continued to be massacred at Gotha (1303), Renchen (1301) and Weissensee (1303).
The Jewry of Augsburg was saved through the steadfast protection of the municipality, as was that of Regensburg. In Nuremberg, 728 Jews were slaughtered when a mob stormed the castle in which they had sought to defend themselves with the aid of the garrison. Among the victims of Nuremberg were Mordecai b. Hillel, his wife, and children. The council thereafter banished 20 persons in perpetuity. A number of kinot andseliḥot were composed in commemoration of the tragedy, which was most fully recorded in S. Salfeld’s Das Martyrologium des Nuernberger Memorbuchs (1898).
Graetz, Gesch, 7 (c. 19004), 232ff.; Graetz, Hist, 4 (1894), 35–37; Dubnow, Weltgesch, 5 (1927), 175–6; S. Bernfeld, Sefer ha-Dema'ot, 2 (1924), 33–39; Germ Jud, 2 (1968), index. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: F. Lotter, in: Zeitschrift fuer historische Forschung, 15 (1988), 385–422.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.