The 19th century brought the rise of nationalism in European society along with the idea of emancipation and equality among the nation’s citizenry. In Western Europe the Jewish population ultimately became beneficiaries of Emancipation, but nationalism generally precluded including the Jews on an ideological level. And thus modern Antisemitism was born. Emancipation stated that Jews are now part of society, and nationalism generally rejected them from society. The term Antisemitism was born in Germany, was quite prominent in France and was brought to the full brunt of its expression in Imperial Russia of the Czars where its massive Jewish population didn’t even receive emancipation. In the closing decade of the 19th century and the opening decade of the 20th, two major antisemitic trials rocked the Jewish world. Captain Alfred Dreyfus was a Jewish officer on the French general staff, who was falsely accused of espionage. The controversy surrounding his innocence and wrongful conviction divided French society. Mendel Beilis was a superintendent of a factory in Kiev and was falsely accused of ritual murder. The virulently antisemitic trial which ensued attempted to frame the entire Jewish People and was reminiscent of medieval anti Jewish expression.
This series on the history of Antisemitism has been sponsored by the Touro Graduate School of Jewish Studies, a leading academic program in Jewish Studies that equips students with the tools to search out their own unique path into the study of Jewish history and scholarship. For more information on admission to the Touro Graduate School of Jewish Studies, including scholarship opportunities, please visit https://gsjs.touro.edu/ or call 212-463-0400, ext. 55580
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