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Armleder Pogroms - The Armleder were thugs who wore leather armbands, and carried out pogroms against Jews in fourteenth century Germany. The persecutions began in 1336. A nobleman of Franconia claimed that an angel had commanded him to kill the Jews. He gathered a band of brigands and pillaged and murdered the Jews. These assassins called themselves "Judenschläger" (Jew beaters).

Somewhat later, John Zimberlin, an innkeeper of Upper Alsace, supposedly claimed to be a prophet called upon to avenge Christ. He was joined by a nobleman, Umbehoven of Dorlisheim. Zimberlin gathered a gang of peasants armed with pitchforks and wearing leather armbands, and assumed the title Koenig (king) Armleder This gave rise to the name "Armleder." Their leader was called "King Armleder," and under him they marched through Alsace, killing many Jews. Since the emulation of the Franconia example was so swift, it is likely that these massacres were not isolated, but reflected widespread practice and precedent, though perhaps on a smaller scale. The Armleder persecutions were sanctioned and encouraged by some church and secular authorities.

In Deckendorf (today - Deggendorf), a charge of desecration of the Host was brought against the Jews, evidently in order to relieve debtors of the need to pay their Jewish creditors. Pope Benedict XII, answering an appeal from Albert II, ruled that the charges must be adjudicated by a court, and that false accusations would be punished, but to no avail. (Flannery, Edward J., The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-Three Centuries of Antisemitism, Paulist Press, 2004, p. 109)   

Many Jews escaped to to Colmar, where the citizens protected them for a time. The marauders overran Upper Alsace, and ravaged 120 communities. The brigands then attacked Colmar, but Ludwig sent imperial troops, causing Zimberlin to flee to France. Ludwig ransomed the Jews for a payment of 4,000 pounds.  Zimberlin returned, but as he and his bands menaced the general peace, he aroused opposition. The towns were helpless against the brigands.  On May 17, 1338, the bishop of Strasbourg made an agreement with several lords and 12 cities to end the raids and protect the Jews. On Aug. 28, 1339, a ten-year armistice was concluded with Zimberlin, who promised to refrain from further attacks.

Additional alliances were concluded to oppose brigandage against both Jews and Christians in the Rhine valley. The attacks continued in Alsace. Though attacks ceased for a short time the Jews, never lived in security even during the armistice. By 1348, the Armleder pogroms had been succeeded by a new wave, caused by the Black Death. (sources: Jewish Encyclopedia,  Encyclopedia Judaica) 

Ami Isseroff

March 31, 2009

Synonyms and alternate spellings:

Further Information: pogrom Inquisition anti-Semitism Time-Line: Anti-Semitism

Hebrew/Arabic pronunciation and transliteration conventions:

'H - ('het) a guttural sound made deep in the throat. To Western ears it may sound like the "ch" in loch. In Arabic there are several letters that have similar sounds. Examples: 'hanukah, 'hamas, 'haredi. Formerly, this sound was often represented by ch, especially in German transliterations of Hebrew. Thus, 'hanukah is often rendered as Chanuka for example.

ch - (chaf) a sound like "ch" in loch or the Russian Kh as in Khruschev or German Ach, made by putting the tongue against the roof of the mouth. In Hebrew, a chaf can never occur at the beginning of a word. At the beginning of a word, it has a dot in it and is pronounced "Kaf."

u - usually between oo as in spoon and u as in put.

a- sounded like a in arm

ah- used to represent an a sound made by the letter hey at the end of a word. It is the same sound as a. Haganah and Hagana are alternative acceptable transliterations.

'a-notation used for Hebrew and Arabic ayin, a guttural ah sound.

o - close to the French o as in homme.

th - (taf without a dot) - Th was formerly used to transliterate the Hebrew taf sound for taf without a dot. However in modern Hebrew there is no detectable difference in standard pronunciation of taf with or without a dot, and therefore Histadruth and Histadrut, Rehovoth and Rehovot are all acceptable.

q- (quf) - In transliteration of Hebrew and Arabic, it is best to consistently use the letter q for the quf, to avoid confusion with similar sounding words that might be spelled with a kaf, which should be transliterated as K. Thus, Hatiqva is preferable to Hatikva for example.

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This work and individual entries are copyright 2005 by Ami Isseroff and Zionism and Israel Information Center and may not reproduced in any form without permission unless explicitly noted otherwise. Individual entries may be cited with credit to The Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Zionism and Israel


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