See a short explanation of the Jewish calendar
A short note about April: Many of the worst massacres in Jewish history took place
around Pesach (Passover). They were part of the infamous blood libels and ritual
murder accusations in which Jews were charged with using Christian blood for the
making of Matzos. Others were due to the instigation of local priests on Easter Sunday.
Orleans: The third Synod (council) of Orleans declared that Jews aren't
permitted to be seen during Passion Week (the week before Easter) because "their
appearance is an insult to Christianity."
Alexander Salmon, a Jewish British trader, landed in Tahiti while on a trip to
the south seas. He met and fell in love with the beautiful 20 year old princess of the
Teva clan, Princess Arrioehau. According to Tahitian law it was illegal to marry a
foreigner. Queen Pomare IV abrogated the law by royal decree for 3 days by which time
Salmon was given the title Ariitaimai and they married.
In pre-state Israel, NILI (Hebrew initials for Netzah Israel Lo Yeshaker - Samuel I,
15:29) was organized by Avshalom Feinberg and Aaron Aaronson to spy against the Turks for
the British. Based in Zichron Yaakov, and locally run by Aaron's sister Sarah, NILI passed
messages regarding Turkish troop maneuvers around the Haifa area. In 1917 the Turks broke
the spy ring. Sarah, after being tortured for three days managed to commit suicide. Most
of the other members were captured and killed.
1882: The blood libel in Tisza Eszlar, Hungary, begins when a servant girl
was missing. Although not the slightest evidence was found that Jews were even
remotely involved, the young son (11 years old) of the janitor of the synagogue
was interrogated whereby he described full details of the "murder."
The Jews were then accused of having the girl kidnapped for ritual murder.
Fifteen persons were brought to trial despite the protests of Lajos Kossuth (non
Jewish leader of the Hungarian Independence Movement) and the fact that the
girl's body was found in the river. A year later all of them were acquitted.
1890: Nathan Birnbaum, in his journal Selbstemanzipation coins the term
Zionism. Birnbaum's idea was to change the philanthropic approach of the time to
a more activist or political one.
1899: In Polna, Bohemia, twenty-two year old Leopold Hilsner is arrested for
allegedly murdering a Christian girl. It soon developed into a ritual murder
accusation. Although no evidence linking him and the murdered girl was ever
presented, Hilsner was forced to sign a confession and was sentenced to death.
Through the intervention of T.G. Masaryk (later to be president of
Czechoslovakia) his sentence was commuted to life. In 1916 he was grated an
Imperial pardon and set free.
1918: Chaim Weizmann, heading the Zionist Commission, arrives in Eretz-Israel
to assist the British Mandate. The commission (Vaad HaTzirim) was mandated by
the British Government to be the liaison between the Military administration and
the Yishuv. It was also empowered to coordinate relief efforts and make
recommendations regarding the future development of the country.
1925: Hebrew University is opened in Jerusalem by Lord Balfour on Mount
Scopus. Its first chancellor was Dr. Judah Magnes.
1933: Germany embarks on an anti-Jewish boycott.
1738 Joseph Oppenheimer is hanged. Oppenheimer, the finance minister was
arrested after the sudden death of Prince Karl of Wurttemberg. He was offered a
pardon on condition of agreeing to be baptized. Although not a practicing Jew,
he refused and was placed in a cage in the center of Stuttgart declaring "I
will die as a Jew; I am suffering violence and injustice." He died while
shouting Shema Yisrael.
Although he was anti-Jewish and a persecutor of the Marranos, Emperor Charles
V is convinced by Josel of Rosheim to condemn the ritual murder accusations.
1285: Philip the Fair (France) begins his policy of using Jews solely for his
1909: Hashomer, the first Jewish self-defense organization is founded to
protect Jewish settlements in pre-state Israel. Many of its members were recent
arrivals from Russia who had organized self-defense organizations in Russia
during the progroms five years earlier. Its founders included Itzhak ben Zvi,
Israel Giladi, Israel Shohat and Alexander Zeid. It was eventually absorbed into
1917: In Russia, Jews are granted full rights.
1920: On this date began two days of anti-Jewish riots in Jerusalem. Five
Jews are killed and two hundred and eleven wounded. Vladimir Jabotinsky and
others were arrested for organizing a self-defense league.
1933: In Germany, Civil Service Law prohibited Jews from holding public
1533: Pope Clement VII, in an effort to stop the Inquisitions, acts against
New Christians in Portugal, and issues the Bulla de Perdao, essentially a pardon
for all past offenses. Unfortunately the pope died a few years later and the
Inquisition was officially established.
1775: Pope Pious VI, partly in reaction to the reformation issues the Editto
sopra gli ebrei. This proclamation of Pious VI reinstituted all former
anti-Jewish legislation. The forty-four clauses included prohibition of
possessing Talmudic writings, erection of gravestones, forbidding Jews from
passing the night outside the ghetto, under pain of death, and more. The
regulations were in effect until the arrival of Napoleon army 25 years later.
1919 PINSK ( Poland) - 35 well-known Jews are executed. They were taken from
a legitimate business meeting of the Jewish Cooperative and accused of being
Jewish Bolshevists. Others also arrested were told to dig their own graves and
1848: In every part of Germany excluding Bavaria, Jews are granted civil
rights. As a result, Gabriel Riesser (a Jew, and an advocate for Jewish
emancipation) was elected vice-president of the Frankfurt Vor Parliament, and
became a member of the National Assembly. It must be noted that for the most
part these freedoms existed only on paper and were not enforced.
1917: The United States declares war on Germany. Approximately 250,000 Jewish
soldiers (20% of whom were volunteers) served in the U.S. army - roughly 5.7% of
the servicemen, while they were only 3.25% of the general population
1486 FIRST PRAYER BOOK (Siddur) is printed in Italy by Soncino. This was the
only time that the Siddur was published during the 15th. For the most part hand
copied manuscripts ( of which there were plenty) were used.
1933: The term Nichtarier ("non-Aryan") becomes a legal
classification in Germany. This made it "legal" to discharge Jews from
their position in the universities, hospitals, and legal professions.
1484: Local farmers of Arles, France, led by the town's monks attack the Jewish
section of the town .A number of people were killed and 50 men were forced to
1917 The Jewish Welfare Board is established to provide for the social and
religious requirements of Jewish soldiers. After the war, it expanded to care
for community needs and initiated Jewish Community Centers and Young Men's and
Women's Hebrew Associations.
1096: In Trier, Germany, after being attacked my a mob and threatened with
death, Bishop Egelbert offers to save all Jews who are willing to be baptized.
Most chose to drown themselves instead.
1882: A pogrom in Podalia, Russia leaves 40 dead 170 wounded, and 1,250
dwellings destroyed. Fifteen thousand Jews were reduced to total poverty.
1649: The largest Auto De Fe in the New World is held with 109 victims in
Mexico. All but one of them are accused of Judaizing, Thirteen were burned alive
and 57 in effigy. This for the most part ended the prominence of crypto-Jews in
1909: Tel Aviv, the first modern Jewish city, is founded on the sand dunes
north of Jaffa with the building of 60 houses. The actual name Tel Aviv was
given only the next year (Hill of Spring) and was taken from a Babylonian city
(Ezekiel 3:15) and used by Nahum Sokolow as the title for his translation of
Herzl's book Altneuland.
1912: The Technikum, later to be known as the Techinion is founded in Haifa,
Israel. Later that year the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden, which established
the Haifa Technion, faced a strike by both teachers and students when they tried
to institute German as the school's language instead of Hebrew. The American
co-trustees agreed with the strikers and the Society left Eretz-Israel after the
First World War.
1955 USA – after almost two years of testing and opposition Jonas Salk in
the presence of 700 scientists is recognized for discover a vaccine for the
prevention of poliomyelitis. ). His work together with Albert Sabin, who later
developed an oral vaccine, drove this paralyzing disease from much of the world.
In recognition he received Presidential Citation and the Congressional Medal for
1464 Prior to his death, John of Capistrano calls for a crusade against the
Turks. Such a crusade was started in Cracow, but never left the city. Over
thirty Jews were killed and their homes plundered. The crusade later expanded to
include Posen and the surrounding area.
1891: In Corfu (island in the Mediterranean), a few days before Passover,
Sarda the local Jewish tailor's daughter is found dead. Although obviously,
Jewish the rumors spread that she was really Christian and was killed for ritual
purposed and the local community is attacked.
1948: 77 people, mostly doctors and nurses on their way Hasassah hospital on
Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, are murdered by Arabs. British troops stations close by
refuse to "interfere".
1859: In Galatz, Rumania, Jews are accused of taking blood from a Christian
child (for the baking of matzos) though not of killing him. Fifteen
"culprits" are arrested. The next day a mob broke into the synagogue,
killing some of the worshippers, destroying some fifty scrolls and demolishing
the synagogue. The fifteen were soon released with no convictions, yet the
government refused to allow the synagogue to be rebuilt for nearly twenty years.
1865: U.S. President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) is assassinated. Lincoln was
the first president to deal with national Jewish problems including the
appointment of Jewish Chaplains in the U.S. Army and his involvement with the
expulsion order of Ulysses S. Grant (see December 1862).
1870: In London, the United Synagogue is set up by Nathan Adler and Lionel
Cahn. It united the Ashkenazic synagogues of London for charities and civic
1944 During the years From July 1941 until July 1944, approximately 100,000
people (mainly Jews) are murdered in the forests of the resort town, Ponary,
Lithuania. As the Russians approached a group of 70 Jews and 10 Russians were
given the task of burning all the bodies to cover up the mass murder. Realizing
that at the end of their work they too would be killed they (over a period of
three months) dug a tunnel 30 meters long with spoons. On the night of April 15
they escaped. Only 13 reached safety alive.
1293: Rabbi Meir of Rothenberg dies. The last of the Tosophists, he was the
leading Rabbi in Germany. Convinced that there was no future in Germany, he
agreed to lead a large contingent of families to Eretz-Israel. While waiting for
the other families, he was seized by the Bishop of Basel. The Emperor ordered
him held in prison as a lesson to any of "his Jews" who would try to
leave Germany and thus cause him a financial loss. He refused to be ransomed,
saying that it would serve as an impetus for further extortion's. He died in a
prison near Colmar, and his body was held there until it was ransomed some years
1871 North German Confederation extends the constitution over the entire
federation. This ostensibly removed all limitation on civic and citizens rights.
1916 France and Britain divide up the Middle East in the Sykes-Picot
Agreement. France was assured of Syria and the Mousl, with English control of
Northern Arabia and Central Mesopotamia. Pre-state Israel was divided with
France controlling the Galilee, Britain the Haifa area and the rest of the
country under international control.
1222: Deacon Robert of Reading (England) is burned for converting to Judaism,
setting the precedent for the burning of heretics.
1559: CREMONA ( Italy) : Sixtus Senesis, an apostate Jew, now a Dominican,
tried to convince the local Spanish governor to burn the Talmud. The governor
demanded witnesses before he would give the order. Vitttorio Eliano the
converted grandson of Elias Levita and one Joshua dei Cantori bore witness that
the Talmud was full of lies about Christianity. A few days later approximately
10,000 books were burned. The Zohar was not touched since the Pope and the
catholic church was interested in its publication believing that it would
supplant the Talmud and make it easier to convert the Jews. Ironically it was
Eliano himself who wrote the preface to the Cremora Zohar.
1750: Frederick II of Prussia issues a general patent to the Jews limiting
them to commerce and industry. Jews were no longer a dependent of the king but
rather of the State. Jews on one hand were encouraged to be part of the state
and its economy. On the other, they were still second class citizens and divided
into two classes - privileged and protected. An "enlightened monarch,"
he wrote his Political Testament (published in 1752) in which he described Jews
as dangerous, superstitious and backward.
1797: In Eastern Poland, after falling to Prussia in the third partition of
Poland in 1793, the government enacts "The Regulation" which removed a
number of regulations regarding occupations and domicile restrictions for Jews.
This still left many of the old regulations in place, including that of not
being able to marry under the age of 25 and then only upon proof of a fixed
1848: The gates of the Rome Ghetto are pulled down. Although Pope Pius IX
seemed to be in favor of considering the removal of the ghetto, Ciceruacchio, a
popular leader, led a group who tore down the gates Passover eve. The Jews in
the ghetto at first thought they were being attacked and hid in their houses.
1915: The Zion Mule Corps leaves for Gallipoli. Commanded by Colonel Henry
Patterson and organized by Trumpeldor and Jabotinsky, they were a Jewish
auxiliary unit of the British Army. The British were not interested in giving
them the ability to fight, so they were assigned to provide provisions to the
front lines. Although later the same year they were forced to retreat in the
disastrous Gallipoli campaign, they performed with distinction and later became
the nucleus for the Jewish Legion (1917).
1389: A priest of Prague, hit with a few grains of sand by small Jewish boys
playing in the street, insists that the Jewish community purposely plotted
against him. Thousands were slaughtered, the synagogue and the cemetery were
destroyed, and homes were pillaged. King Wenceslaus insisted that the
responsibility rested with the Jews for venturing outside during Holy Week.
April 19th is one of the blackest days on the Jewish calendar. From the 11th
(1014) through the 20th (1903) century, this date is remembered for the
atrocities which took place . Below are a few:
1014: In 1013, the Civil War in Spain breaks out between Arabs and Berbers.
This resulted in the first Jewish massacre in Cordoba in April 1014, and the
subsequent decline of the community both in population and importance.
1283: In Mayence (Mainz), Germany, as a result of a ritual murder accusation
(blood libel), thirty-six Jews are slain.
1343: A massacre in Wachenheim, Germany which began before Easter, soon
spreads to surrounding communities.
1506: During a service at St. Dominics Church in Lisbon, Portugal, some of
the people thought they saw a vision on one of the statues. Outside, a newly
converted Jew-turned-Christian raises doubts about the "miracle." He
was literally torn to pieces and then burnt. The crowd led by two Dominican
monks proceeded to ransack Jewish houses and kill any Jews they could find.
During the next few days, countrymen hearing about the massacre came to Lisbon
to join in. Over two thousand Jews were killed during these three days (April
1566: Pope Pious V, three months into his reign , rejects the lenience's of
his predecessor and reinstates all the restrictions of Paul IV. These included
being forced to wear a special cap, the prohibitions against owning real estate
and practicing medicine on Christians. Communities are not allowed to have more
than one synagogue and Jews are confined to a cramped ghetto.
1903: Riots break out after a Christian child is found murdered in Kishinev
(Bessarabia). The mobs are incited by Pavolachi Krusheven, the editor of the
anti-Semitic Newspaper Bessarabetz and the vice governor Ustrugov. Vyacheslav
Von Plehev, the Minister of Interior supposedly gave orders not to stop the
rioters. The Jews are accused of ritual murder. During the three days of
rioting, 47 Jews are killed, 92 severely wounded , 500 slightly wounded and over
700 houses destroyed. Despite a world outcry, only two men are sentenced to
seven and five years in prison, and twenty-two are sentenced for one or two
years. This pogrom was instrumental in convincing tens of thousands of Russian
Jews to leave to the West and to Eretz-Israel. The child was later discovered to
have been killed by a relative.
Rindfleish, German knight, accused the local Jews of profaning the host. He
then incited the Burgher and local populace to join in the killing. Twenty one
Jews were murdered The killing soon spread to a hundred and forty communities in
Bavaria and Austria. In all tens of thousands of Jews were either killed or
1615: Led by Dr. Chemnitz, the guilds of Worms "non-violently"
force the Jews from the city.
1657 ASSER LEVY
After a battle of almost two years Asser Levy one of the original 23 settlers
is allowed to serve on guard duty ( “watch and ward”). Levy who was the
ritual slaughterer of the town opened his slaughterhouse on what is now wall
street. He further petitioned to be allowed the rights as a Burgher or
freeperson on the town, which he received albeit reluctantly by the burgomasters
of New Amsterdam. .
1939: On Hitler's fiftieth birthday, all Catholic churches in Greater Germany
hoist the swastika in celebration.
629: Emperor Heraclius marches into Jerusalem at the head of his army.
1499: The New Christians, including those who had been forcibly baptized, are
forbidden to leave Portugal.
1936: The beginning of the 36-39 riots start on this date in pre-state
Israel. Arab headquarters called for a general strike and a rebellion against
the Mandate and in an effort to prevent Jewish immigration. Initially 80 Jews
are murdered and 308 wounded. By fall of '39, over one hundred Jews had been
killed in Arab attacks. The official Zionist policy at the time was Havlagah
1593: In Amsterdam, the first group of Marranos led by Jacob Tirado arrives. This
group was the first Jews to settle in Amsterdam after the Spanish Expulsion.
Moses Uri Halevi soon joined them and helped arrange for prayer services.
1615: Louis XIII decreed that all Jews must leave the country within one
month on pain of death. This decree became the basis for the infamous Code Noir
the Black Code which forbade Jews to live in French colonies in the New world
including in 1724 the colony of Louisiana.
1288: A Christian body is placed in the house of the richest Jew of Troyes,
France. The resulting tribunal condemned fourteen of the city's wealthiest men
and women to be burned at the stake.
1898: Spanish American War Begins with the sinking of the USS Maine. Fifteen
Jews serving on the battleship are killed. Five thousand Jews served in the
American Army, a ratio of 20% more than the general population. The first person
of Colonel Roosevelt's Rough Riders to reach the top of San Juan Hill was also a
Jew, Irving Peixotto.
1905: Easter in Bielostok and Zhitomir - Jews are attacked by the Black
Hundreds (League of the Russian People), an unofficial pro-Czarist terrorist
force. This time the Jews tried to defended themselves. In Zhitomir, Police
prevented Jewish self-defense organizations from protecting their property .
After two days, 15 Jews and one non-Jewish student who had volunteered were
killed. The Governor did nothing to stop the mobs until a number of Jews broke
into his office and threatened him. The hostilities ceased almost immediately.
1920: The Supreme Council of the Peace Conference at San Remo assigns the
British Government the Mandate over Palestine, directing her to establish a
national home for the Jewish people as presented in the Balfour Declaration.
1881 Chancellor Bismarck of Germany accepts an anti-Semitic petition
demanding, among other things, a ban on Jewish immigration. The petition bore no
less than two hundred and fifty-five thousand signatures.
1655 The West India Company refuses to accept Peter Stuyvesant's request to
ban the settling of Jews in New Amsterdam. In a letter, the company referred to
the "large amounts of capitol which they have invested in the shares of
this company." Therefore, "these people (Portuguese Jews) may travel
and trade... live and remain there provided the poor shall not become a burden
to the company or the community."
1655: In England, Mennasseh ben Israel is invited to London by Oliver
Cromwell to negotiate the resettlement of the Jews. William Prynne succeeded in
officially postponing it for a couple of years.
1938: In Germany, all Jewish assets over five thousand reichsmark ($2,000)
per person are confiscated. This eventually led to the seizure of all Jewish
711 TARIK - a Moslem general attacks the south of Spain in what would be known as Jebel Tarik or Gibralter. He soon defeated Roderic, last of the Visigoth
kings, at the Battle of Xeres. Tarik was helped by both the Jews and the rebel
Prince Witiza. After each city was conquered ( Cordova, Granada, Malaga,) the
Jews were often given positions of safeguarding Moslem interests.
1913: Leo Frank, the only white man to be convicted on the testimony of a
Negro until the 1960's is convicted of murdering Mary Phagan. Though there was
little evidence against, Tom Watson, the editor of the Jeffersonian, used the
fact that Frank was a Jew to convict him before the public. Later (1915) Georgia
Governor John Slater, believing that the trial had been unfair, commuted the
sentence to life imprisonment.
1881: In Kherson, Elizabethgrad, a tavern dispute on blood libels spawns
massive outbreaks against the Jews (often joined by the soldiers) in Odessa and
Kiev. In all, over a hundred and sixty riots occurred in southern Russia.
Ignatiev, the Minister of the Interior, insisted that the Jews caused the
pogroms. General Drenbien refused to endanger his troops "for a few
1945: Dachau, the first of the S.S.-organized camps is captured by the US army. It
was founded in March 1933. Dachau was infamous for its pseudo-scientific
experiments by German doctors and scientists. The exact number of those who died
there is unknown. The number is estimated to run more than 40,000. The Americans
later used it as a prison camp for Nazi war criminals.
1492: The Edict of Expulsion (Spain)for all Jews is passed. Since professing that
Jews were not under the jurisdiction of the Inquisition, the Church decided to
level a ritual murder accusation against them in Granada and was thus able to
call for the expulsion of both Jews and Marranos from Spain. The Marranos
themselves were accused of complicity in the case, and both were ordered to
leave within four months. Torquemada, the director of the Inquisition (and
incidentally of Jewish descent), defended this against Don Isaac Abarbanel. The
edict was passed, and over fifteen thousand Jews had to flee, some to the
Province of Aragon and others, like Abarbanel, to Naples. Still others found
temporary sanctuary in Portugal.
1925 Paris - - The Revisionist party ( Brith HaTzionim HaRevisionistim) is
founded by Zev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky. Jabotinsky adhered to in the Herzlian
concept that Zionism is an basically an ideological movement. He demanded a more
aggressive policy toward the British believing that only world wide pressure
would force the British to abide by the mandate. The revisionist believed that
the highest priority of the Zionist movement should be in bringing greatest
number of Jews to Eretz –Israel in the shortest possible time.
This material has been adapted from Beyond Time and History by Eli Birnbaum.
Plus, special thanks to Aryeh Weinberger and the Israel Ministry of Education
for the use of material from their publication, Midei Chodesh Bechodsho.