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The Butcher's Tale: Murder and Anti-Semitism in a German Town By Helmut Walser Smith,

  • Title: The Butcher's Tale: Murder and Anti-Semitism in a German Town
  • Author: Helmut Walser Smith
  • ISBN: 9780393325058
  • Page: 185
  • Format: Paperback
  • In 1900, in a small Prussian town, a young boy was found murdered, his body dismembered, the blood drained from his limbs The Christians of the town quickly rose up in violent riots to accuse the Jews of ritual murder the infamous blood libel charge that has haunted Jews for centuries In an absorbing narrative, Helmut Walser Smith reconstructs the murder and the ensuingIn 1900, in a small Prussian town, a young boy was found murdered, his body dismembered, the blood drained from his limbs The Christians of the town quickly rose up in violent riots to accuse the Jews of ritual murder the infamous blood libel charge that has haunted Jews for centuries In an absorbing narrative, Helmut Walser Smith reconstructs the murder and the ensuing storm of anti Semitism that engulfed this otherwise peaceful town Offering an instructive examination of hatred, bigotry, and mass hysteria, The Butcher s Tale is a modern parable that will be a classic for years to come.Winner of the Fraenkel Award and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2002.
    The Butcher s Tale Murder and Anti Semitism in a German Town In in a small Prussian town a young boy was found murdered his body dismembered the blood drained from his limbs The Christians of the town quickly rose up in violent riots to accuse the Jews

    One thought on “The Butcher's Tale: Murder and Anti-Semitism in a German Town”

    1. Each year I give my students a list of about 30 books to choose for a book review in our 3rd year Modern Germany class Each year at least a third of the class picks this one It isn t hard to understand why it combines a compelling murder mystery with an analysis of anti Semitism at the local level before World War One Smith takes the case of a young boy, found murdered and dismembered in the small town of K nitz, and uses this tragedy as a means to study not only a murder investigation in a smal [...]

    2. Very well researched book that looks at how Jews in late 19th c Germany were accused of ritual murder trials Though well written and interesting, I feel like somehow there was something missing the big why of what made this important lay on the shoulders of the Holocaust to come, at the same time that the book was arguing that the Holocaust was not a foregone conclusion there s a whole in the logic here i would recommend it to a history buff, but not to someone I was trying to convert to history [...]

    3. This book contains a lot of information about the Jewish faith and their struggles The story is a about a murder in a small German town that was blamed on a Jewish butcher Outrage and riots broke out when nothing was done to aprehend the butcher The story is both shocking and devestating It is sad to see what humans are capable of the author does a great job sticking to the facts, and not letting his personal feelings get in the way.

    4. While Smith could have benefited from a hard assed editor to minimize the purple here and there, the source material is awesome, and he manages to produce a compelling narrative that realizes the last gasps of religious Judenhass.

    5. For those wondering how antisemitism in Germany could possibly be so omnipresent and, eventually, turn into a mass liquidation of Jewish people, this would be an excellent book to dive into.

    6. A chilling, unsettling and completely thorough analysis of the factors leading the small, quiet Prussian town of Konitz now in modern day Poland to accuse and demonize the Jewish members of the community of ritually killing a Christian boy Ernst Winter s body was found cut up, almost exactingly, into pieces and wrapped, being dispersed along different locations across the town Despite the severity and gruesomeness of the murder, it is the towns quick decent into anti semitic rhetoric and wild ac [...]

    7. Despite what it says on the back of the book, this is not a true crime story Yes, there is a murder mystery and an investigation, but these are really the backdrop for the real conversation the author wants to have on antisemitism The real subject of this book is on how and why antisemitism can at times remain dormant, can sometimes progress to some type of play that is that the acts are staged but not carried through , and how at its worst it can reach actual terror This process relies heavily [...]

    8. I really enjoyed this Easy to read and engaging, when Smith speculates fluffs for the sake of atmospheric writing, it doesn t feel like a huge stretch The only thing keeping it from being 4 stars is that I felt like I wanted a bit about if how the blood libel was used with other anti Semitic accusations.

    9. Read for class This was a hard book to read Not only was the subject matter that of Anti Semitism in the early 1900s but the way the story is written made it not nearly enjoyable as it could have been It read to me like a textbook rather than a story, which is really unfortunate.

    10. A helpful well researched insight into targeted prejudice and the underpinnings of the HolocaustI have always wondered how so many people could screw up so badly Good men will do good things ,and bad men bad, but it takes religion to make good men do bad things.

    11. A disturbing, prescient telling of the death of a young man and the evil anti Semitism that wracked a German town in 1900 Helmut Walser Smith walks the reader back in time to the hatred and lies that have haunted Jews for centuries It is a prophetic foreshadowing of the rise of Hitler s Nazi Party, and its ruthless persecution and murder of millions because of a lie Disturbingly, Walser Smith gives us a view of the dark demonic power of hate that has presented its ugly visage in the first decade [...]

    12. An eye opening experience on how deep anti Semitism roots go in the history of mankind Disturbing and sadly relevant I felt that the book could have been set up better for me to be able to digest the information properly Also, at times it felt that I lacked the basic knowledge of anti Semitism for certain parts to fully comprehend.

    13. Through the case of a high school student s murder in 1900 Konitz, Smith gives a history of blood libel and ritual murder charges against Jews from the Medieval period to the early twentieth century Smith explains the origins of blood libel and argues why Christians still accused their Jewish neighbors of ritual murder despite the Catholic church s official stance of Jews innocence He describes an investigation led into chaos due to widespread belief that the Jews in Konitz had conspired to murd [...]

    14. This was great It was like reading a mystery novel, you know, getting deeper and deeper into the enticing murder and trying to find all the clues to who dun it, and then, it just ends No answer to who the murderer was So, in that way, reading this book was a big waste of time Sure they give ideas of who it might have been, but they never found out who the real murderer was Granted, it s non fiction, but it never put closure on the young lad s murder What this book did show was mob mentality agai [...]

    15. Very good monograph on an obscure time and place in History I had to read this for my German history course and the book was entertaining to read I would give it four stars like the last monograph I read because it doesn t exclusively focus on the murder of Ernst Winter like it does on anti semitism But the prose was engaging and at times, it felt like I was reading either In Cold Blood or Peyton Place You have murder, gossip, riots, perjury, and sex This was a very good monograph Gotta give it [...]

    16. A very detailed, historical view of the craziness that can happen in a small Prussian town reaching the German Empire demonstrates the early anti Semitic feeling of the East Although it occurred prior to the Holocaust, it is evident that the local Christians, working together with the media and newspapers believed violent acts against the Jews were necessary and the continuous theme of having a minority group as a scapegoat is a reoccurring theme in the world even today When will people realize [...]

    17. This is well written, popular history that s very well done Walser Smith s work is heavily researched and riddled with citations but reads like a who dunnit He also dedicated alternating chapters to context and the place of his analysis in the wider picture of European anti semitism This is a case study that provides great insight into a much larger historical process issue.

    18. This book is a true account taken from court records and police records about a gruesome murder that turned a small German town now Poland upside down because of Anti Semitism, Gossip and the influence of a biased media It is very scary that this type of persecution can exist and do such a thing to an otherwise normal town.

    19. I m not sure what I liked so much about this book, but I really liked it I thought it was a well written story that sucked you in It s also a fascinating murder mystery Recommended for history and true crime buffs.

    20. Not sure what to think about this book Not as good as what I thought that would bey to generalize from a specific example but I am not sure if I will buy its connection to the Holocaust.

    21. This book is not actually a story It is quite dry and explores a centuries old theme that perhaps explains anti Semite sentiment

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