- What was the Holocaust?
- Judaism and Jewish life
- What is antisemitism?
- How did the Nazis gain power?
- Life in Nazi-controlled Europe
- What were camps?
- What was the Final Solution?
- How did people respond?
- Survival and legacy
Various laws were introduced to draw attention to the fact that Jews were wrong and damned. Jews were not allowed to own land, and therefore could not become farmers, which was the most common way of earning a living. They were not allowed to join the Christian trade guilds, and therefore could not have a trade.
Money lending was banned by the Church for Christians, but it was of course still necessary, since people often need to borrow money. Forbidden from practising most other trades and professions, Jews undertook this activity but it added to their unpopularity.
Quite often, in different parts of Europe, the ruler used the Jews as tax collectors – this also made them very unpopular.
From 1215, in many parts of Europe, Jews were forced to wear a special badge or hat in order to mark them out as different. Easter was when Christians remembered the crucifixion and the Jewish role in it. From time to time this resulted in attacks and massacres of the local Jewish community.
Also, Christian merchants tended to see themselves in competition with Jewish merchants. One way to solve the problem was to force the Jewish merchants to leave. Often local rulers would give in to the demands of the merchants and expel the Jews.
In 1290 the Jews were expelled from England. Gradually the centres of Jewish population moved from Western Europe (England, France, German lands) to Eastern Europe (Poland) and to the world of Islam (Turkey).