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The Basel massacre of
Jews took place on 9 January 1349, as part of the
Black Death persecutions of 1348–1350.
Following the spread of the
Black Death through the surrounding countryside of
Savoy and subsequently
Basel, the Jews were accused of having poisoned the wells, because they suffered a lower mortality rate than the local gentiles from the pestilence.
The City Fathers of Basel attempted to protect their Jews but to no avail: the local
guilds demanded their blood and 600 were handed over. They were shackled inside a wooden barn on an island in the
Rhine, which was set afire. The few survivors—young orphans—were forcibly converted to
Following the massacre, it was decreed that all Jews were banned from settling in the city of Basel for 200 years, although this was revoked several decades later.