The Long and Horrible Latency of Anti-Semitism

And what it might mean for racism in the U.S. Over at VoxEu, there’s an interesting post describing the correlation between German pogroms in the 1920s and those in 1349. Yes, 1349–seven centuries earlier. Here’s the key result:
The authors note:

Of the 19 pogroms recorded, fully 18 took place in towns and cities with a record of medieval violence against Jews. The chances of attacks on Jews went up from 1/79 (1.3%) in locations without attacks in the 14th century to 18/214 (8.4%), an increase by a factor of 6.
Other indicators point in the same direction. We use the Nazi Party’s performance at the polls in 1928 as an alternative indicator. This is the last election before it became a mass-movement attracting many protest voters – anti-Semitism was a relatively more important factor behind its appeal in 1928 than in later years (Heilbronner 2004). While the overall share of the vote was not high (3.3%), we find that in places with a history of Jew-burning, the Nazi Party received 1.5 times as many votes as in places without it…

Of course, we Americans are exceptional, and, therefore, historical regional patterns of legal segregation and apartheid, racial pogroms (e.g., Tulsa 1921), and the slow burn terrorism of lynching have no regional effects on our current politics.
I’m sure of that.

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2 Responses to The Long and Horrible Latency of Anti-Semitism

  1. razib says:

    very interesting! fwiw, i recall that one major issue historians bring up in relation to attacks on jews in medieval germany is that they cropped up in areas with lower power institutional breaks on popular violence. a lot of the leaders were small-time gentry who wanted to get out of debts. so it might be the persistence of these structural issues (many small principalities didn’t disappear until the napoleonic wars), but i’ll check out the paper.

  2. TTT says:

    But, but, but, I was told Europe was kind and hospitable to Jews until that British guy wrote his book about tortoises and ruined everything.
    (Seriously, the best book on this subject remains “Constantine’s Sword.”)

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