The first known holocaust of the Crusades, would take place against German Jews, by Peter the Hermit’s rabble of followers, against Rhineland towns of Mainz, Cologne and Metz.
The Jewish communities came face to face with forced baptisms into the Christian faith, and refusal led to death.
These communities were unlucky, for they lay in the path of Crusader’s on route to Jerusalem. Many were murdered, homes and synagogues destroyed, and money shared among unscrupulous Crusader’s.
The Jews of Mainz, upon hearing of the slaughter in other towns, feared for their lives against an army out of control. They sought shelter with Bishop Ruothard, placing their treasures and life, firmly in his hands.
Count Emich, an enemy of the Jews; showed no mercy towards the old and young women, and slew their young men.
On the 27th May 1096, Emich and his follower’s attacked the Bishop’s Palace with death in their hearts.
Emich’s forces fought these men of Israel at the gatehouse, and overwhelmed them, they had chance against battle hardened warriors. As they moved into the courtyard, the Bishop’s men had fled leaving the Jews at the mercy of Emich; they were slaughtered.
Those located within the Palace, knew they faced a horrific death. “There is none like God and we can do nothing better than to sacrifice our life to him,” was shouted out… The men and women slaughtered their off-spring, then each other, rather than be butchered.
(Image) Massacre of the Jews in the Rhineland: Wikipedia