DP8365 Persecution Perpetuated: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Semitic Violence in Nazi Germany
|Author(s):||Nico Voigtländer, Hans-Joachim Voth|
|Publication Date:||April 2011|
|Keyword(s):||Anti-Semitism, Cultural Persistence, Discrimination, Hate Crime, Intergenerational Transmission of Preferences, Nazi Party, Pogroms, Violence|
|JEL(s):||J15, N34, P48|
|Programme Areas:||International Macroeconomics|
|Link to this Page:||cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=8365|
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.