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Jewish Ritual Murder

von Hellmut Schramm, Ph. D.


a Historical Investigation

a translation by R. Belser of

Der jüdische Ritualmord
Eine historische Untersuchung

Appendix 4

(p. 428)

From the Speech of the Deputy Rickert in the Prussian House of Deputies on 9 February 1892 [7]

Gentlemen, it is my intention to direct the attention of the honorable House and of the Minister of Justice to an affair which for months has aroused a portion of the populace to a high degree. I mean the Buschhoff case, the Xanten boy-murder.

On 29 June, at six o'clock in the evening, the five-year-old boy Hegmann was murdered in the byre [cowshed] of the town councilor Küppers; the body of the small boy was found in a condition, so it was said, which created the suspicion that someone who was familiar with the business of ritual-slaughtering had to have committed this murder, since the cut, as they said, had been made skillfully and professionally. The boy was empty of blood. A lively excitement immediately arose in the town of Xanten, which probably has between 3000 and 4000 inhabitants, and one part of the populace pointed at one man whom it held to be guilty -- at the Jewish schächter Buschhoff, living in the vicinity of that byre.

Gentlemen, since those days the Jewish members of this community have had to endure a difficult time; every means was brought to bear to agitate against them. They were even ready to characterize this murder as a ritual-murder, and if I have been informed correctly, (429) the same things have also been said to arouse the populace in Xanten that had been used earlier in Corfu.

The anti-Semitic press has now not only cast suspicion in a despicable manner upon the State's Attorney and the examining judge, but also upon the Minister of Justice and the Minister of the Interior. I do not believe that any purpose is served by going into detail on this, at least for the time being. Should the matter perhaps be taken up by the other side, then I am prepared to offer a list of these things which have outraged me. For example, congenial relations between the defense attorney of the main defendant and the examining judge have been alleged to be the reason that the case is being handled slowly and carelessly. These are unprecedented insinuations against these men, who have surely acted only in the fulfillment of the duties of their office.

To show you how far this matter has gone, I want to produce for you two documents. After the release of Buschhoff, they were demanding that he be rearrested. In what sense these people want to see the law practiced in Prussia emerges from the following passage of the Neue Deutsche Zeitung [New German Times]. There is the focal point of anti-Semitism and also the focal point of these insinuations. In this periodical we find the following sentence, among others:

        'But if he (Buschhoff) is guilty -- why do they release him? Are there,
        perhaps, relationships behind this which are even darker than the murder
        of an innocent child? What does it matter, whether Buschhoff and family
        sit in investigative custody for four or five weeks longer yet, if afterwards
        the releasing, guilt-denying verdict is conceded to them by the jury, while
        they remain afflicted with suspicion for the rest of their lives?'

What do you think, gentlemen? -- That's called the administration of justice! Of course, when that is read abroad, that a newspaper dares to say such things -- what are they to think of our administration of justice?". . . Rickert complains that even the Kaiser is "disturbed." "Gentlemen, I believe that the brazenness with which they have drawn the highest of all persons into this pending investigation without any grounds whatsoever, deserves the same. These gentlemen are becoming bolder day by day -- not to use another expression!

Now in conclusion, gentlemen, one more main point, that is, the question of ritual-murder! This silly fairy-tale of ritual-murder, which reaches back into the times of the dark Middle Ages, when the Enlightenment was not yet so far [developed], and even farther back, this question is being revived here in this manner by the most distinguished organ of the conservative party! Has this organ (Kreuzzeitung), then, no sensitivity for the fact that this foolish fairy-tale no longer suits the present day?

(430) Not only did Bishop Kopp in the year 1882 (Tisza-Eszlár!) declare ritual-murder to be an outrageous untruth, there were also prominent popes, the supreme shepherds of the Catholic Church, who also entered the lists against it in writing and in speech in earlier centuries when the enlightenment of the people had not advanced so far and men were not as armored against such tales as they are today. I have here before me that memorable letter from Cardinal Ganganelli, who in the year 1759, when the Polish Jews were accused of ritual-murder (laughter from the Right) -- I do not know what is so funny about this to the gentlemen -- when the Polish Jews were accused, explicitly protested against it and with the weapons of his scholarship, which encompassed broad areas, proved that it was merely a fairy-tale, which must be rejected. . ."

Rickert then complained about an article in the Kreuzzeitung: "No, gentlemen, such weapons are not suitable in the 19th century, whose end we are approaching; these are not the weapons of Christian charity or of tolerance; nor are they the weapons of the constitution or of the law. The Jews in our State are not guests, as the Kreuzzeitung says, but on the contrary, fellow citizens with equal rights, and woe unto him who lays a hand upon these rights in a flagrant manner!" (Vigorous "bravo!" from the left.)

Copyright 2001 by R. Belser. Reproduction in whole or in part without express written permission of the translator is not permitted. All rights reserved.

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