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Radulphe (also spelled Radulph, Rodolphe, etc.) was a French monk who, without permission from his superiors, left his monastery in France[1] and travelled to the Rhine Valley during the Second Crusade (1147–49) where he preached "that the Jews should be slain as the enemies of the Christian religion."[2] At Cologne Simon "the Pious" was murdered and mutilated; at Speyer a woman was tortured on the rack to persuade her to Christianity.[citation needed] Secular prelates tried to protect the Jews. Arnold, the Archbishop of Cologne gave them a fortified castle as refuge, and allowed them to arm themselves; the Crusaders refrained from attacking the castle, but killed any unconverted Jew that fell into their clutches.[1] Henry I, Archbishop of Mainz admitted into his house some Jews pursued by a mob; the mob forced its way in, and killed them before his eyes.[1]

The Archbishops appealed to Bernard of Clairvaux, the most influential Christian of his time; Bernard replied with a strong denunciation of Radulphe, and demanded an end to violence against the Jews.[1] When Radulphe continued his campaign Bernard came in person to Germany,[1] "protested energetically against the unchristian behavior of Radulph"[2] and forced the monk to return to his monastery.[1]

Thereafter in 1147 the mutilated body of a Christian was found at Würzburg; Christians charged Jews with the crime, and, despite the protests of Bishop Emicho von Leiningen, attacked them, killing 20 and wounding many more; the Bishop buried the dead in his garden.[1]

From Germany, Rodolphe's idea of "beginning the Crusades at home" passed back to France, and Jews were massacred at Carentan, Rameru,[3] and Sully.[1][4] In Bohemia 150 Jews were murdered by Crusaders. After the terror had passed, the local Christian clergy did what it could to help the surviving Jews; and those who had accepted baptism under duress were allowed to return to Judaism without incurring the dire penalties of apostasy.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Durant, Will (1939). Story of Civilization Vol. IV: The Age of Faith. Simon & Schuster. p. 391.
  2. ^ a b Gottheil, Richard; Joseph Jacobs. "The Crusades". Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
  3. ^ Rameru may be Ramerupt, Aube which had an active Jewish community in mediaeval times.
  4. ^ Sully has not been identified, but has been conjectured to be a place in Normandy. Golb, Norman (4 May 1998). The Jews in Medieval Normandy: A Social and Intellectual History. Cambridge University Press. pp. 222–224. ISBN 978-0521580328. Retrieved 18 August 2016.