Persecution perpetuated: The medieval origins of anti-semitic violence in nazi germany

  • Voigtländer N
  • Voth H
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Abstract

How persistent are cultural traits? Using data on anti-Semitism in Germany, we find local continuity over 600 years. Jews were often blamed when the Black Death killed at least a third of Europe’s population during 1348–50. We use plague-era pogroms as an indicator for medieval anti- Semitism. They reliably predict violence against Jews in the 1920s, votes for the Nazi Party, deportations after 1933, attacks on synagogues, and letters to Der Stu ¨rmer. We also identify areas where persistence was lower: cities with high levels of trade or immigration. Finally, we show that our results are not driven by political extremism or by different attitudes toward violence. JEL Codes: N33, N34, N93, N94, D74. I.

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Authors

  • Nico Voigtländer

  • Hans Joachim Voth

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