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Persecution perpetuated: The medieval origins of anti-semitic violence in Nazi Germany

Nico Voigtländer () and Hans-Joachim Voth

Economics Working Papers from Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Abstract: How persistent are cultural traits? This paper uses data on anti-Semitism in Germany and finds continuity at the local level over more than half a millennium. When the Black Death hit Europe in 1348-50, killing between one third and one half of the population, its cause was unknown. Many contemporaries blamed the Jews. Cities all over Germany witnessed mass killings of their Jewish population. At the same time, numerous Jewish communities were spared these horrors. We use plague pogroms as an indicator for medieval anti-Semitism. Pogroms during the Black Death are a strong and robust predictor of violence against Jews in the 1920s, and of votes for the Nazi Party. In addition, cities that saw medieval anti-Semitic violence also had higher deportation rates for Jews after 1933, were more likely to see synagogues damaged or destroyed in the Night of Broken Glass in 1938, and their inhabitants wrote more anti-Jewish letters to the editor of the Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer.

Keywords: anti-semitic medieval origins; pogroms; Nazi Germany; Weimar Republic; persistence of anti-semitic attitudes; long-run effects of local culture (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N33 N34 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011-04
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
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Related works:
Journal Article: Persecution Perpetuated: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Semitic Violence in Nazi Germany (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: Persecution Perpetuated: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Semitic Violence in Nazi Germany (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: Persecution Perpetuated: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Semitic Violence in Nazi Germany (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: Persecution Perpetuated: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Semitic Violence in Nazi Germany (2011) Downloads
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