Albert of Aix and Ekkehard of Aura:
Emico and the Slaughter of the Rhineland Jews

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Albert of Aix

At the beginning of summer in the same year in which Peter, and Gottschalk, after
collecting an army, had set out, there assembled in like fashion a large and innumerable
host of Christians from diverse kingdoms and lands; namely, from the realms of France,
England, Flanders, and Lorraine. . . . I know n whether by a judgment of the Lord, or by
some error of mind;, they rose in a spirit of cruelty against the Jewish people scattered
throughout these cities and slaughtered them without mercy, especially in the Kingdom of
Lorraine, asserting it to be the beginning of their expedition and their duty against the
enemies of the Christian faith. This slaughter of Jews was done first by citizens of
Cologne. These suddenly fell upon a small band of Jews and severely wounded and
killed many; they destroyed the houses and synagogues of the Jews and divided among
themselves a very large, amount of money. When the Jews saw this cruelty, about two
hundred in the silence of the night began flight by boat to Neuss. The pilgrims and
crusaders discovered them, and after taking away all their possessions, inflicted on them
similar slaughter, leaving not even one alive.

Not long after this, they started upon their journey, as they had vowed, and arrived in a
great multitude at the city of Mainz. There Count Emico, a nobleman, a very mighty man
in this region, was awaiting, with a large band of Teutons, the arrival of the pilgrims who
were coming thither from diverse lands by the King's highway.

The Jews of this city, knowing of the slaughter of their brethren, and that they themselves
could not escape the hands of so many, fled in hope of safety to Bishop Rothard. They
put an infinite treasure in his guard and trust, having much faith in his protection,
because he was Bishop of the city. Then that excellent Bishop of the city cautiously set
aside the incredible amcunt of money received from them. He placed the Jews in the very
spacious hall of his own house, away from the sight of Count Emico and his followers,
that they might remain safe and sound in a very secure and strong place.

But Emico and the rest of his band held a council and, after sunrise, attacked the Jews in
the hall with arrows and lances. Breaking the bolts and doors, they killed the Jews, about
seven hundred in number, who in vain resisted the force and attack of so many
thousands. They killed the women, also, and with their swords pierced tender children of
whatever age and sex. The Jews, seeing that their Christian enemies were attacking them
and their children, and that they were sparing no age, likewise fell upon one another,
brother, children, wives, and sisters, and thus they perished at each other's hands.
Horrible to say, mothers cut the throats of nursing children with knives and stabbed
others, preferring them to perish thus by their own hands rather than to be killed by the
weapons of the uncircumcised.

From this cruel slaughter of the Jews a few escaped; and a few because of fear, rather
than because of love of the Christian faith, were baptized. With very great spoils taken
from these people, Count Emico, Clarebold, Thomas, and all that intolerable company of
men and women then continued on their way to Jerusalem, directing their course towards
the Kingdom of Hungary, where passage along the royal highway was usually not denied
the pilgrims. But on arriving at Wieselburg, the fortress of the King, which the rivers
Danube and Leytha protect with marshes, the bridge and gate of the fortress were found
closed by command of the King of Hungary, for great fear had entered all the Hungarians
because of the slaughter which had happened to their brethren. . . .

But while almost everything had turned out favorably for the Christians, and while they
had penetrated the walls with great openings, by some chance or misfortune, I know not
what, such great fear entered the whole army that they turned in flight, just as sheep are
scattered and alarmed when wolves rush upon them. And seeking a refuge here and
there, they forgot thei companions. . . .

Emico and some of his followers continued in their flight along the way by which they had
come. Thomas, Clarebold, and several of their men escaped in flight toward Carinthia
and Italy. So the hand of the Lord is believed to have been against the pilgrim who had
sinned by excessive impurity and fornication, and who had slaughtered the exiled Jews
through greed of money, rather than for the sake of God's justice, although the Jews
were opposed to Christ. The Lord is a just judge and orders no one unwillingly, or under
compulsion, to come under the yoke of the Catholic faith.

There was another detestable crime in this assemblage of wayfaring people, who were
foolish and insanely fickle. That the crime was hateful to the Lord and incredible to the
faithful is not to be doubted. They asserted that a certain goose was inspired by the Holy
Spirit, and that a she goat was not less filled by the same Spirit. These they made their
guides on this holy journey to Jerusalem; these they worshipped excessively; and most of
the people following them, like beasts, believed with their whole minds that this was the
true course. May the hearts of the faithful be free from the thought that the Lord Jesus
wished the Sepulchre of His most sacred body to be visited by brutish and insensate
animals, or that He wished these to become the guides of Christian souls, which by the
price of His own blood He deigned to redeem from the filth of idols! . . .

Source:

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants,
(Princeton: 1921), 54-56


Ekkehard of Aura

Just at that time, there appeared a certain soldier, Emico, Count of the lands around the
Rhine, a man long of very ill repute on account of his tyrannical mode of life. Called by
divine revelation, like another Saul, as he maintained, to the practice of religion of this
kind, he usurped to himself the command of almost twelve thousand cross bearers. As
they were led through the cities of the Rhine and the Main and also the Danube, they
either utterly destroyed the execrable race of the Jews wherever they found them (being
even in this matter zealously devoted to the Christian religion) or forced them into the
bosom of the Church. When their forces, already increased by a. great number of men
and women, reached the boundary of Pannonia, they were prevented by well fortified
garrisons from entering that kingdom, which is surrounded partly by swamps and partly
by woods. For rumor had reached and forewarned the ears of King Coloman; a rumor
that, to the minds of the Teutons, there was no difference between killing pagans and
Hungarians. And so, for six weeks they besieged the fortress Wieselburg and suffered
many hardships there; yet, during this very time, they were in the throes of a most foolish
civil quarrel over which one of them should be King of Pannonia. Moreover, while
engaged in the final assault, although the walls had already been broken through, and
the citizens were fleeing, and the army of the besieged were setting fire to their own town,
yet, through the wonderful providence of Almighty God, the army of pilgrims, though
victorious, fled. And they left behind them all their equipment, for no one carried away
any reward except his wretched life.

And thus the men of our race, zealous, doubtless, for God, though not according to the
knowledge of God, began to persecute other Christians while yet upon the expedition
which Christ had provided for freeing Christians. They were kept from fraternal
bloodshed only by divine mercy; and the Hungarians, also were freed. This is the reason
why some of the more guileless brethren, ignorant of the matter, and too hasty in their
judgement were scandalized and concluded that the whole expedition was vain and
foolish.

Source:

August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants,
(Princeton: 1921), 53-54


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