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Following the spread of the Black Death through the surrounding countryside of Savoy and subsequently Basel, Jews were accused of having poisoned the wells, because they were perceived as having a lower mortality rate from the plague than the non-Jews.
The City Fathers of Basel attempted to protect their Jews but to no avail, and 600 Jews, including the community's rabbi, were burned at the stake. Afterwards, 140 Jewish children were forcibly converted to Catholicism.
Following the massacre, it was decreed that all Jews were banned from settling in the city of Basel for 200 years, although this was revoked several decades later.
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