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Saint Simon of Trent Blood Libel

Saint Simon of Trent Blood Libel - The blood libel is the false accusation that Jews sacrifice Christian children either to use the blood for various "medicinal" purposes or to prepare Passover Matzoth (unleavened bread) or to crucify them at Easter in mockery of the Passion of Christ. The blood libel  is one of the central fables of anti-Semitism of the older (middle ages) type. The 1475 case of Simon of Trent (in German, Simon Unverdorben; in Italian Simonino di Trento)  in Italy,  along with some others like William of Norwich, Hugh of Lincoln and Andreas of Rinn, is particularly famous. It is perpetuated in the beliefs of modern dissident Catholics as well. Simon of Trent is known as Simon

The facts of the case are related somewhat differently according to different authors, but the story is essentially the same. In his Lent sermons, St. Bernardino da Feltre, who inveighed against the Jewish money lenders, apparently insisted that the Jews would massacre a Christian child at Passover. Following the Jewish Encyclopedia  and its sources, on March 23, the day after Passover, a Friday, the child Simon, aged 28 months disappeared, and was found dead on Easter Sunday (March 25)ref or March 26 by three Jews named Tobias, Samuel and Angelus (or only by Samuel, a merchant of Nuremberg, in another version). According to a Christian version, the child was killed on on March 21. The difference is significant, Passover was on March 22. If the murder took place on March 23, the blood could not possibly have been used to prepare Matzot. The entire Jewish community or a large part of it was arrested. They were tortured.  Seventeen of the victims eventually "confessed," reportedly repeating the precise words of their torturers according to the Jewish Encyclopedia.

Duke Sigmund and others interceded and halted the torture on April 21. The persecutions were nonetheless resumed on June 5. An 80 year old Jew named Moses likewise "confessed" and on or around June 21-23, eight of the wealthiest Jews were baptized and executed by burning at the stake or beheading.

However, the Franciscan Pope Sixtus IV, alarmed for the reputation of the Church, commanded Bishop Hinderbach on August 3 to suspend proceedings, pending the arrival of the papal legate, Bishop Giambattista dei Sindici of Ventimiglia, who would conduct the investigation with the Bishop of Trent. Upon investigation the Bishop of Ventimiglia denied the martyrdom of the child Simon and disputed the occurrence of a miracle at his grave. However when he demanded the immediate release of the remaining Jews, the papal legate was denounced by the bishop of Trent and mobbed. he was forced to flee to Roveredo.

Obedient to the instructions of the Pope, the Papal legate summoned the podesta of Trent and Bishop Hinderbach. But Hinderbach did not appear, and instead issued a circular that described the supposed martyrdom of Simon, justifying his own share in the proceedings, and denouncing the work of the Bishop of Ventimiglia as "corruptam inquisitionem" (corrupting the inquiry).

While the papal commissioner was taking the suspected actual murderer, one Enzelin,  to Rome for trial, the Bishop of Trent and the podestà continued their proceedings against the Jews. Several of them were executed in December of 1475 and January of 1476.

The Bishop of Ventimiglia reported to Rome that, as the result of careful investigations, he found the Jews innocent. He concluded that Simon had been killed by Christians with the intention of ruining the Jews, and that Bishop Hinderbach had planned to enrich himself by confiscating the estates of those executed.

Simon of Trent Blood libel Relief
Relief showing the murder of
the Child Simon by Jews.

According to the account given in the Jewish Encyclopedia, Sixtus IV appointed a commission of six cardinals to investigate the two proceedings. The head of the commission was an intimate friend of Bernardinus of Feltre. The result was a foregone conclusion, especially since the whole Catholic Church would have been involved in the condemnation of the Bishop of Trent if the commission had found against him. In the decree or Bull of June 20, 1478, "Facit nos pietas," Sixtus IV  declared the proceedings against the Jews in Trent to be "rite et recte factum," endorsing the verdict. However, most of the decree cautioned against persecuting other Jews on account of the Trent proceedings. 

The Jews were all killed or baptized or fled Trent, and an interdict (cherem) was put on the city. The papal decree ordered that the property of Jews who had been killed be restored to their baptized widows. 

Both Bernardinus of Feltre and Simon of Trent were supposedly canonized by Gregory XIII, about a century later, the former as a prophet, and the latter as a martyr, or alternatively, it is said that Sixtus V canonized Simon of Trent in 1588. It seems that Sixtus or Gregory XIII allotted a feast day for Simon, that was added to the official calendar. It was not until 50 years later that Urban VIII ruled that no martyrs could be added to the calendar until they had been officially verified and canonized

The issue of canonization is important because following the suppression of the cult, it was claimed that Simon of Trent along with Andreas of Rinn are both canonized saints. The actual status of both children is made clear in the Bull Beatus Andreas of Pope Gregory XIV: Both children were beatified, but neither one was formally canonized.

Simon of Trent Blood libel woodcut
15th century woodcut showing Jews murdering the child Simon of Trent. In Hartmann Schedel, Nuremburg Chronicle or Buch der Chroniken, printed by Anton Koberger in 1493. The round yellow patches are badges that Jews were forced to wear. Names of protagonists like Thobias and Angelus are labeled. 

Blood Libel Denied: Suppression of the Cult of Simon of Trent

n 1965, following the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church began to reinvestigate the story of "little Simon" and opened the trial records anew. Finally declaring the episode a fraud,  the cult of Simon was suppressed by Pope Paul VI and the shrine erected to Simon was dismantled. His feast day was removed from the calendar, and his future veneration was officially forbidden, Catholics who oppose the Vatican II reforms continue to venerate Simon and celebrate his feast day, March 24.

Blood Libel Continues

Some "traditional" (anti-Semitic) Catholics ignore Vatican II and continue to celebrate the feast day of Simon of Trent.

The following is taken from stsimonoftrent.com/

Saint Simon of Trent has been venerated as a martyr since 1475 A.D. In 1965 A.D., the cult was sacrilegiously attempted to be "suppressed" (which is an impossibility) by order of the Racist Zionist Mafia in collaboration with their Marrano friends in the VATICAN. This attack on St. Simon of Trent's sacred cult, by the Modernist infiltrators holed up in Rome, was/is in perfect harmony with their overall attempt [PLAN] to abandon TRADITION [THE FAITH] "in favor" of [i.e. WITH] modern Judaism....

There are numerous cases of blood ritual reported in the past centuries. Many have been investigated by the Catholic Church and were confirmed, some by popes who had been unbelieving. Today, blood ritual is called a myth, an anti-semitic prosecution of days passed. To raise the ugly head of blood ritual is taboo. Yet, we are told many thousands of children disappear every year in the world. What has happened to them? Have there been any studies?

That page also asserts that Simon of Trent was canonized by Sixtus V. The cause of the mythical saint is also championed by hiddenireland.wordpress.com/2008/06/09/st-simon-of-trent-pray-for-us-the-child-neither-heard-nor-seen-by-vatican-ii/  and by the impostor Jew and anti-Semite Israel Shamir: israelshamir.net/English/Eng11.htm  

Blood Libel and Ariel Toaff

An additional complication was added by the work of an Israeli Jew of Italian ancestry, Ariel Toaff, who published a book, The Blood of Passover (or Bloody Passovers), in which he  alleged that a part of the blood libel story was true, or had a basis in fact. It is, honestly, hard to know what it is that he alleged, since his own story changed several times, and he denied an account given in a review, which claimed that he had verified the blood libel, and since the original book, published only in Italian, has been suppressed.

If Toaff did not understand, when he wrote his original book, how it would be interpreted by anti-Semites and how it would be used, he has incredibly poor judgment and poor understanding of the world. An "improved" version was published and translated into English and is circulating on the Web. Toaff variously claims in his book and in interviews that

1- Ashkenasi Jews actually practiced murder of Christians to avenge forced conversions and murder of Jews.

2- The blood libel was brought about by rivalry between Sephardic Jews from Italy and Ashkenasi German Jews who competed with them in business.  

3- The libel was in some way related to a merchant who had brought blood and sugar, supposedly for medicinal purposes, which was "precious" merchandise that the Jews were eager to have.

4- The ritual murders might have taken place.

5- He never said that the ritual murders might have taken place. 

Here is an account of some of his confused announcements:

As the furor gained momentum -- including calls from some quarters that Toaff be removed from his post at Bar Ilan --  the professor struggled to defuse the situation. Though he said in early interviews that ritual murders “might have taken place,” he later said that he does not believe that they did and that saying otherwise was, in The Jerusalem Post’s words, an “ironic academic provocation.”ref

In its present form, the book, like the author, is not very coherent. This may be due to clumsy editing. It is to be wondered why the medicinal blood (not necessarily human) and sugar merchandise of the "bearded Jew" merchant that he mentions was so precious, since blood of animals at least, was certainly as easy to come by in Italy as elsewhere.

Toaff accepts at face value the "confessions" that were elicited under torture. He stated in an interview:

“I found there were statements and parts of the testimony that were not part of the Christian culture of the judges, and they could not have been invented or added by them. They were components appearing in prayers known from the [Jewish] prayer book,” ref

This is a very questionable statement. If the "components" appeared in Jewish prayer books, the books were open to the judges, and they could have certainly known them as the Church had Hebrew scholars and had examined at different times every aspect of Jewish law books and prayer books to determine if they insulted Christianity. The church also had a body of Jewish apostates who showed themselves quite eager to supply such background, whether it existed in fact or not, in order to satisfy the needs of church inquiries and produce the desired verdict.

Moreover, by 1475, the Church inquisitors and judges had certainly accumulated a large body of "confessions" and there could have been nothing - incriminating or otherwise, real or invented - about Jewish practices that would not have been confessed at one time or another by the victims of torture on the rack. Of course, Toaff's book and its subsequent suppression attracted the predictable attention of anti-Semites who wish to perpetuate the blood libel such as Marian Horvat.  (See traditioninaction.org/History/A_010_BloodyPassovers.htm

Ami Isseroff

March 7, 2009

Synonyms and alternate spellings:

Further Information:  blood libel  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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