Reader says Auschwitz was just one example of anti-Semitism
To the Editor:
With the awareness of the liberation of Auschwitz 75 years ago, I am reminded of my recent tour of Europe and hearing of the history of Jewish people through the centuries. The following is the story we heard over and over again:
Jews would often be restricted to certain parts of the city. In the Middle Ages, the ruler of a town would be the nobleman but he would also be the religious leader such as the bishop.
The Catholic Church forbade usury (the loaning of money) but they could borrow from wealthy Jews.
If the debt became too great, an incident was provoked with the Jewish population leading to burning of that section of town, destruction of the Temple and driving Jews from the town.
On the spot of the former Temple, the Catholic Church, with the blessings of the nobleman/bishop, a church was built dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The gravestones from the Jewish cemetery would be used for construction of other buildings as needed. It was gruesome to see these stones as part of the wall of a home.
Anti-Semitism does exist in the USA, but Jews did find laws that protected them and provided opportunity in business and entertainment when they fled Europe.
It is discouraging to see a rise in hate crimes as those who are deemed different are fair game for abuse.