|Vol. II No. 9
Kislev 5605, December 1844
Ill Treatment of the Jews in Prague.
It is a melancholy sign of the times in which we live, that while we hear so much about our progress in education and civilization, in humanity and refinement, facts do not warrant the favourable conclusions we are so ready to form concerning our supposed improvement. There are not wanting many striking proofs that those things which we blame as characteristics of dark ages, have not ceased to exist among us. It does not follow that, because some of the outward marks of those superstitions which formerly prevailed have been removed, we have come to a proper understanding and love of truth and justice. This is seen very distinctly in the treatment which the Jews receive at the hands of their neighbours in many places where better things might most justly have been expected. We have very recently had occasion to notice the instances of brutal ferocity that have occurred at Tarnow, Geseke, and Weesp, and we must now mention some recent transactions at Prague, which show that there is reason to fear that such scenes may be repeated.
The “Augsburger Zeitung” reports, that on the 8th July a riot was caused by the railway labourers at Prague, the object of which was to obtain higher wages. On the rioters being dispersed by the military, “the populace,” says the above (Christian) paper, “as customary, turned its fury against the Jews; many individuals were ill-used in the streets, and considerable devastation of property committed, under the eyes of the police, who were unable to prevent the outrage. Not until the evening was far advanced were energetic measures adopted for the restoration of order and tranquillity.” A letter from Prague, dated July 10, in the “Deutsche Algemeine Zeitung,” states that the exasperation of the people against the Jews was then at its height, and that several companies of soldiers had been stationed in their quarter.
The “Archives Israelites,” for August, after quoting the above has the following:
“Some days ago the public papers announced that two thousand Israelites have left Prague, in consequence of the aggressions of the populace, to which they had been subjected; that from several other villages in Hungary the Israelites have been expelled, and the portrait of M. v. Rothschild torn to pieces by these barbarian hordes.”
The “Orient,” of July 23, in referring to these excesses, mentions in particular the destruction of a shop in Prague, belonging to a Jew; the perpetrators of which, on being seized and brought before the magistrates, stated that they had been paid by Christian merchants to direct their fury against the Jews.
The same paper speaks also of outrages committed against the Jews in the same neighbourhood the preceding month, on the occasion of a strike among the workmen in the cotton-factories, in consequence of the introduction of same new machinery in the print-works. The populace generally having taken part with the men against the masters, and it so happening that the majority of the latter are Jews, the excitement very soon assumed the form of a crusade against the Jews as a body. Every Jew in the streets was insulted, and threats of violence against persons and property were freely indulged in. Owing, however, to precautionary measures, adopted by the authorities, the fearful consequences which had been apprehended were happily averted for the time.—Jewish Intelligence.