A History of Anti-Semitism

This chart, although extensive, is not meant to be complete. Many other instances of anti-Semitism in South America, North America, Asia, Europe, and Africa could be cited. Readers may take issue with some of the dates, which may be off by a year or so. The author has tried to be accurate in his dating but admits that there may be varying dates for some of the anti-Semitic incidents mentioned.


Pentateuch Period

1730–1445: Israel under Egyptian bondage (Ex. 1–14).

1445: Amalek at Rephidim (Ex. 17:8–13).

Amorites at Jahaz (Num. 21:21–30).

Bashan at Edrei (Num. 21:33–35).

Balak and Balaam (Num. 22–25).

Historical Period

1375–1050: Mesopotamia (Jud. 3:8–11).

Moab (Jud. 3:12–30).

Philistia (Jud. 3:31).

Canaan (Jud. 4:1–5:31).

Midian (Jud. 6:1–6; 7:1–25).

Ammon (Jud. 10:7–11:33).

Philistia (Jud. 13:1–16:30).

Kingdom Period

1050–931: Ammon (1 Sam. 11:1–11).

Philistia (1 Sam. 13:15-Ki. 2:11).

926: Egypt (1 Ki. 14:25).

857–853: Syria (1 Ki. 20:1–22:39).

853: Moab (2 Ki. 1:1, 3:16–27).

850: Syria (2 Ki. 6:2–7:20).

840: Syria (2 Ki. 10:32–33).

722: Assyria (2 Ki. 17:3–6; 18:9–12).

701: Assyria invaded Judah (2 Ki. 18:13–19:37).

586: Babylon (2 Ki. 24:1–25:21; Jer. 25:1–11).

Persian Period

474: Haman plotted to destroy Jews (Est. 3).

445: Sanballat (Horonite), Tobiah (Ammonite), and Geshem (Arabian) opposed Nehemiah (Neh. 4:1–6:14).

Grecian Period

331: Jews suffered under Greek occupation.

175–168: Antiochus IV Epiphanes polluted Temple in Jerusalem, suspended the practice of Judaism, and persecuted Jews.

Roman Period

63: Pompey captured Jerusalem and Jews under Roman military jurisdiction.

38: In Alexandria, Egypt, Jews killed and confined to one area in anti-Jewish riots. In 66 A.D. 50,000 Jews killed in Alexandria.


70: Romans besieged Jerusalem, destroyed Temple, killed 1,100,000 Jews, and enslaved 97,000.

  1. 120: Tactitus (Roman historian) claimed Jews were anti-God and enemies of humanity.

135: Hadrian put down Bar-Kokhba revolt; killed 500,000 Jews; banned Jews from Israel; Israel renamed Palestine; Jerusalem renamed Aeolia Capitolina.

200: Tertullian wrote anti-Semitic polemic against Jews.

325: Constantine made Christianity state religion and adopted policy of anti-Jewish laws.

379–395: Theodosius the Great expelled Jews from political positions and allowed Jewish property to be desecrated.

386–387: Chrysostom delivered 8 anti Semitic messages against Jews in Antioch.

406–450: Theodosius II renewed Hadrian’s restrictions under “Code of Theodosius,” retarding practice of Judaism.

Medieval Period

527–565: Justinian I restricted practice of Judaism under “Code of Justinian.”

590–604: Pope Gregory the Great restricted Jews from holding any office or authority over Christians.

613: In Spain, Jews refusing baptism expelled from country. All Jewish children over 7 years of age taken from parents and reared as Christians.

632–633: Roman Emperor Heraclius I forced Jews to be baptized or face death in Byzantine Empire.

628–638: King Dagobert expelled all Jews from France.

694–711: Jewish property confiscated, Judaism outlawed, and Jews enslaved by Visigothic rule in Spain.

717–720: Caliph Omar II imposed heavy head tax on Jews and forced them to wear a distinctive headdress.

795–816: Pope Leo III introduced public disputations between Jews and Christians, resulting in forced conversions to Christianity.

843: Agobard of Lyons tried to abolish all Jewish privileges established by Charlemagne.

1012: Henry II of Germany expelled Jews from Mainz.

Middle Ages Period

1073–1085: Pope Gregory VII prohibited Jews from holding office in Christian Europe.

1096: First Crusade in Germany, along cities of the Rhine River resulted in killing of 12,000 Jews.

1121: Jews were driven out of Belgium until they repented of the guilt of killing Christ.

1144: Norwich, England, reported blood libel.

1146: Church decreed all Christians volunteering to fight in the Crusade would be released from all debts owed to Jewish people.

1145–1153: Second Crusade; Jews purchased protection in fortified castles of barons and noblemen in Rhineland but were betrayed to ravaging mobs.

1147: Jews in North Africa persecuted by the Almohades and fled area, converted to Islam, or forced to wear distinctive clothing identifying them as Jews.

1170: Third Crusade; Jews accused of blood libel and massacred.

1182: King Philip of France expelled Jews, confiscated property, turned synagogues into churches, and forced Jews to wear identification badges.

1189: At coronation of Richard the Lionhearted, unexpected persecution of Jews broke out in England. Many Jews in London killed, houses burned, and their property confiscated by Crown.

1198–1216: Pope Innocent III promoted Fourth Crusade against Jews, demanding Christian rulers make Jews atone for sin of deicide. In 1215 Fourth Lateran Council introduced idea that all Jews in Europe wear special badges.

1226–1274: King Louis IX demanded all Jews be baptized; burned 24 cartloads of the Talmud in Paris, with approval of Pope Gregory IX (1227–1241). Many blood libels carried out in Germany (1235) and England (1255).

1290: Edward I banished Jews from England, forcing 16,000 to leave.

1298–1299: German knight Rindfleisch alleged he had received divine order to kill all Jews. Persecution broke out in Franconia, Bavaria, and Austria, resulting in 140 Jewish communities being destroyed and 100,000 Jews killed.

1306: Philip the Tall expelled 100,000 Jews from France and seized all their property. Jews denied right to hold public office, keep Christian servants, and work or eat meat on Christian holidays; accused of desecrating the Host and poisoning wells (1321). Mobs incited to violence by false accusations destroyed Jewish villages. From 1322 to 1359 France officially without a Jewish population.

1336–1338: “Armleder,” a systematic campaign by German peasants in Alsace and the Rhine country to murder, rob, and annihilate whole Jewish communities, perpetrated.

1348–1350: Jews accused of poisoning wells and causing Black Death in France, Germany, and Austria; 2,000 burned in Strausberg, 6,000 killed in Maintz, and 3,000 killed in Erfut.

1391: In Spain Jews forced to convert to Christianity or be massacred and have their bodies dismembered; 70 communities destroyed.

1411–1412: Jews forced to listen to Christian preaching in synagogues and be converted.

1421: Jews in Vienna had possessions confiscated and children forcibly converted; 270 burned at stake.

1453: Jews of Poland had all civil rights withdrawn.

1483–1492: Spanish Inquisition, under direction of General Tomas de Torquemada (1483), perpetrated against Jews. He devised ingenious forms of torture to wring confessions from innocent people, resulting in heavy fines, confiscation of property, banishment, and often death. End result was 300,000 Jews expelled from Spain in 1492.

Reformation Period

1516: First ghetto established in Christian Europe in Venice.

1542: Martin Luther tried to convert Jews to Christ. Failing in his effort, he turned against them and wrote pamphlet entitled Against the Jews and Their Lies, 200 pages of anti-Semitic rhetoric calling Jews children of the Devil and condemning them to flames of hell.

1593: Pope Clement VIII banished Jews from Vatican State.

1624: Ghettos established in Italy.

1648–1649: Polish Cossacks massacred 100,000 Jews and destroyed 700 Jewish communities in Ukraine.

1654: Peter Stuyvesant, Dutch governor of New Amsterdam, threatened Jewish sellers with expulsion.

1655–1656: Jews massacred during Poland’s wars against Sweden and Russia.

1670: Blood libel charges caused Jews to be expelled from France.

1719: Rhode Island law excluded Jews from voting and holding office.

Enlightenment Period

1768–1788: Haidamack massacred Jews of Poland.

1791: Russia established “Pale of Settlements,” limiting places where Jews could reside in 25 provinces of Czarist Russia. In 1794 Jews had to pay double the taxes imposed on Christian merchants.

1827: Compulsory military service imposed on Jewish minors under 18 years of age in Russia. Men made to serve 25 years in the military; many abused.

1835: Nicholas I (1825–1855), known as the “Iron Czar” and “Russian Haman,” considered Jews to be parasites on society and sought to destroy them because they were unassimilable.

1861–1865: Jews in both South and North of the U.S. accused by newspapers and political leaders of aiding enemy, smuggling, profiteering, and draft dodging during the American Civil War.

1877: Jews refused accommodations at Grand Union Hotel in Saratoga Springs, NY, during summer season.

Modern Period

1878–1879: In Germany, Adolf Stecher preached anti-Semitism; Heinrich von Trirtschke brought anti-Semitism into learning circles; and Wilhelm Marr coined the word anti-Semitism (1879).

1880: In America, signs appeared saying, “We prefer not to entertain Hebrews.” Jews denied entrance into clubs, private schools, institutions, and associations.

1881–1884: Pogroms (destruction) swept over southern Russia against Jews living in the Pale, causing emigration of Russian Jews to West.

1893: Karl Lueger, Mayor of Vienna (1897), introduced anti-Semitic Christian Social Party. Adolf Hitler influenced toward anti-Semitism by Lueger.

1895: In France, Captain Alfred Dreyfus falsely accused of treason (selling military secrets) and sentenced to life imprisonment on January 5.

1899: Houston Stewart Chamberlain (racist and anti-Semitic author) published Foundations of the 19th Century, which became a basis of National Socialist ideology. It postulated pseudoracist theories of a superior Aryan race, which permeated and poisoned German minds and were embodied in the philosophy of Nazism.

1904: Protocols of the Elders of Zion produced by secret police at the instruction of Russia’s Nicholas II. Book tried to make Jews scapegoats for Russia’s problems and implied they had a conspiracy to conquer and rule the world. Henry Ford published the work in America under the title The International Jew.

1906–1913: Pogroms and boycotts conducted against Jews in Russia and Poland.

1915: Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacy organization, was reorganized and espoused anti-Semitism.

1916: Madison Grant, an American writer, condemned the Jews in his book entitled The Passing of the Great Race.

1917–1921: Pogroms in the Ukraine, Poland, Siberia, Mongolia, and Hungary resulted in death of thousands of Jews.

1922: Colleges and medical schools in America limited number of Jews admitted.

1933: Hitler began economic boycotts against Jews and started to build concentration camps.

1935: Hitler enacted Nuremberg Laws, depriving Jews of German citizenship and setting in motion a systematized plan for complete isolation and extermination of European Jewry.

1920-1930s: Eastern U.S. colleges established a quota system for Jews under a variety of guises. Christians preferred over Jews for office, sales, and executive positions. Jews entering teaching excluded from faculty positions. Jews unwelcome in fashionable sections of the cities and suburban developments in America.

1938: Charles E. Coughlin (Roman Catholic priest) began weekly anti-Semitic radio broadcast in Detroit, MI. On Kristalnacht (November 1910), Nazis desecrated Jewish businesses and synagogues, burned libraries, and interned Jews in concentration camps.

1939: Holocaust of World War II began with German occupation of Poland on September 1.

1940: Extermination of Jews began with use of Zyklon B gas. Jewish Ghetto formed in Warsaw, Poland.

1942: “Final Solution” to exterminate Jews of Europe originated in Berlin on January 20. Jews transferred from Belgium, Holland, Warsaw Ghetto, Russia, and other European countries to death camps at Auschwitz.

1943: Final destruction of Warsaw Ghetto on May 16.

1945: Holocaust ended on May 8, with estimated 6,000,000 Jews killed during World War II.

1946–1952: Jews continued to be murdered in Poland (1946), Libya (1948), and Prague (1952). USSR accused 9 doctors (mostly Jewish) of conspiratorial plot (the “Doctor Plot”) to assassinate Soviet leaders.

1956: Jews deported from Egypt.

1968: Anti-Semitism committed against remaining Jews of Poland.

1979–1989: Anti-Semitism grew in America, with more than 6,400 acts of anti-Semitic vandalism, bombings, attempted bombings, arsons, attempted arsons, cemetery desecrations, and harassment. New York, California, New Jersey, Florida, Massachusetts, and Maryland accounted for 72% of anti-Semitism; these acts committed by Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi groups, and Skinheads.

1984: Anti-Semitic groups such as Ku Klux Klan; neo-Nazi group of George Lincoln Rockwell’s Nazi Party; The Covenant, The Sword, and The Arm of the Lord; Aryan Nations Church; and Skinheads stepped up attacks on or against Jews in America.

1990: Pamyat, a nationalist movement in Eastern Europe, surfaced, its sole purpose being to eliminate Jews and Jewish influence from Russian empire.

1992: Anti-Defamation League report indicated nearly 40 million American adults (1 out of 5) hold strongly anti-Semitic views, down by 9% since 1964. Nearly 1 in 3 Americans believes Jews have too much power. One in 8 college graduates and 1 in 4 high school graduates is anti-Semitic. Of those polled, 35% believe Jews in this country are more loyal to Israel than to U. S. Americans over age 65 are twice as likely to be more anti-Semitic.

Some of the data in this chart was compiled from the following sources:

Edelman, Mark. Survey on Anti-Semitism and Prejudice in America (New York: The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, 1992).

Israel Pocket Library, Anti-Semitism (Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House Jerusalem Ltd., 1974).

Levinson, Burton S. 1988 ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents (New York: The Anti Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, 1989).

Poliakov, Leon. The History of Anti-Semitism (New York: Schocken Books, 1965).

Shulman, Albert M. Gateway to Judaism: Encyclopedia Home Reference (Crambury: Thomas Yoseloff Publisher, 1971).

USA Today, “Desperate Hard Core Lashes Out,” Sam Meddis (Chicago: September 9, 1985).

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