Medieval France’s Valentine’s Day Massacre of Jews

February 14, 2024 | Yvette Alt Miller
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In American history, the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” refers to a gang killing on February 14, 1929. But the term could just as easily be applied to an event in Jewish history, as Yvette Alt Miller notes in her reflection on what the day signifies for Jews:

The Bubonic Plague was sweeping Europe and, in many locales, Jews were accused of spreading the disease. On St. Valentine’s Day, 1349, a Shabbat, the entire Jewish community of Strasbourg, in France, was massacred, burned alive in the town square while townspeople watched. Afterwards, townspeople searched the corpses, looking for valuables, and the property of Strasbourg’s Jews was distributed to local Gentiles.

Miller also discusses the recent trend to turn the fifteenth day of the month of Av into a Jewish Valentine’s Day, an effort Julian Sinclair wrote about in Mosaic back in 2016.