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Unformatted text preview: Candace Rooney Western Civilization Book Review 12/6/07 The Butcher's Tale by Helmut Smith Today the town of Konitz, which is now called Chojnice, is a very different town than it used to be. On page 216 it clearly states how Chojnice is today; "Chojnice is now a quiet Polish town where the events of the wider world barely create a stir. It has grown in size. But there is no Jewish cemetery anymore, nor is there a Protestant graveyard. The synagogue near the Monchsee and the Protestant church on the marketplace have disappeared as well, replaced by the drab contours that frame this all-but-forgotten town. Even the lake has been drained. Yet the house of Adolph Levy still stands, three doors down from Hoffmann's, both in the shadows of the Catholic church, which for centuries nurtured the ritual-murder tale." While this town has surely changed over the years it mostly is still a quiet small town but without the strong religious views. The old town of Konitz was very different. Its religious views were very strong and there was a clear line between the rich and the poor. Since it was such a small town even back then, everyone knew everyone else in it making it very accessible for gossip. It was a peaceful town until the murder of one young man came upon the town. Since religion was so prevalent back then the Christians of the town immediately blamed their closest enemy, the Jews. This murder tore the town apart, creating hysteria all over this small Polish town. The blame initially fell on two butcher's, one Christian and one Jewish, because of the way that the parts of the body were cut so cleanly. The Christian butcher said that this was a religious ritual murder for the Jews, saying that they did it because of their religion. Because of all of this gossip that was so quickly widespread through the small town the Jews became victims of violence to the other religions. Not only were the Jewish people tormented by also the Synagogue, their house of worship. The police and the local authority never solved the crime and often added to the fuel of gossip that the Jews had done it. Even the local media was mostly against the Jews. You can clearly see that the Jews were not the ones that gained from this experience, they greatly suffered. While the Christians and Protestants didn't necessarily gain from this horrific time period, they certainly didn't suffer. They were the ones overall who had the power and got the police and local authorities, and most people in this small town, to believe that the Jews did it. This is not the only act of anti-Semitism that took place during that time, and the author Helmut Smith gives examples of other acts. But this act is especially important because it shows just how much one act of violence can affect a whole small town. ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/09/2008 for the course HIST 101 taught by Professor Rockefeller during the Fall '07 term at Loyola Maryland.
- Fall '07