On The Jews and Their Lies by Martin Luther

On the Jews and Their Lies (German: Von den Jüden und iren Lügen) is a 65,000-word treatise written in 1543 by the German Reformation leader Martin Luther (1483–1546).

In the treatise, he argues that jewish synagogues and schools be set on fire, their prayer books destroyed, rabbis forbidden to preach, homes burned, and property and money confiscated. They should be shown no mercy or kindness, afforded no legal protection, and “these poisonous envenomed worms” should be drafted into forced labor or expelled for all time. He also advocates their murder, writing “We are at fault in not slaying them”.

Martin Luther describes jews as a “base, whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth”. Luther wrote that they are “full of the devil’s feces… which they wallow in like swine”, and the synagogue is an “incorrigible whore and an evil slut”.

In the first ten sections of the treatise, Luther expounds, at considerable length, upon his views concerning jews and Judaism and how these compare to Protestants and Protestant Christianity. Following the exposition, Section XI of the treatise advises Protestants to carry out seven remedial actions, namely:

  1. to burn down Jewish synagogues and schools and warn people against them
  2. to refuse to let Jews own houses among Christians
  3. to take away Jewish religious writings
  4. to forbid rabbis from preaching
  5. to offer no protection to Jews on highways
  6. for usury to be prohibited and for all jews’ silver and gold to be removed, put aside for safekeeping, and given back to jews who truly convert
  7. to give young, strong jews flail, axe, spade, and spindle, and let them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow

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