Page 89 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 54

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The Fate of the Jewish
Book during the Nazi
Jewish books often shared
the persecu­
tions inflicted upon Jews, the “People of the Book.” The first re­
corded persecution of the Jewish book probably occurred about
2,100 years ago. Antiochus IV, King of Syria, in his zeal to Helle-
nize the Jews, ordered the Torah Scrolls to be torn to pieces and
set on fire (I Macc. 1:56). Later, during the destruction of the Sec­
ond Temple, Torah Scrolls and other Hebrew manuscripts were
destroyed. The same happened during the Bar Kokhba uprising.
In the Middle Ages, the burning ofJewish books often preceded
the extermination of “Jewish heretics.” In 1242, twenty-four cart­
loads of Talmud manuscripts were publicly burned in Paris, and in
1288, ten Jewish martyrs and their books were burned in Troyes.
Jewish books were publicly burned in Spain on various occasions;
for example, in 1263, in Barcelona. Christian kings and ecclesiasti­
cal authorities in several countries ordered the burning of the Tal­
mud and other Hebrew books. Thus, Pope Clement IV issued a
bull decreeing the confiscation and destruction of the Talmud. In
1299, Jewish books were destroyed in England, and in 1415, after
the famous dispute in Tortosa, Pope Benedict XIII condemned
copies of the Talmud. An order including also the books of the
Kabbalah and other Hebrew works was issued by Emperor Maxi­
milian I in 1510. The last large-scale persecution of Jewish books
prior to the Nazi period occurred 200 years ago. After a disputa­
tion between the Jews and the adherents of Jacob Frank, Dem-
bowski, Catholic bishop of Kamenetz Podolski (Ukraine), ordered