Throughout the two centuries of the Templars and the five centuries that occupied the Crusades, many would die – Christian, Moslem and Jew alike. Some would die in battle and many others would die innocent victims of a religious, political and economic power struggle that would involve all of Europe and the East.
Many tales are told of the victories of the Crusaders in capturing the Holy Land from those, who were to them infidels but few accounts are given of the brutalities of those who would fight in the name of Christ.
Below is such an account.
The Massacre At Worms
The town of Worms lies between the cities of Mannheim and Mainz in the Rhineland. Here in the graveyard of the town lie the bodies of 800 Jews massacred in the name of Christ and the Crusades that began in the year 1096 AD
Count Emich of Leiningen led this prelude to the eight campaigns of the Holy Wars that would come to be known as the Crusades. Emich, an important ruler from Swabia, believed he had a cross branded on his flesh that was of Divine origins.
In May of 1096, Emich and his followers swept through the village of Worms pulling Jews from their families and homes and under pressure of his self proclaimed Holy Sword gave them the choice of conversion to Christianity or death. This was not Emich’s first persecution of the Jews. He actually began his campaign back home a month earlier near Speyer. The reason for Emich’s army’s treatment of the Jews was their belief that:
“Since they were the race responsible for the death and crucifixion of Jesus, they deserved nothing better than conversion or death.”
This was a common thread of thought that ignorantly perseveres to this day and is a catalyst for much of the anti-Semitic feelings in the world. Unfortunately Worms would not be the only spot during the Crusader’s route where innocents would die in the name of religion.