Witch Trials and Antisemitism: A Surprisingly Tangled History

Why do witches wear pointed hats? Or have big noses? Or eat children? The answers, it may surprise us to learn, can be found in the history of antisemitism. Before witchcraft became a dominant scapegoat for misfortune in Europe, it was Jews who were often said to be demonic, evil individuals who poisoned wells, spread plague, and ate children.

With antisemitic incidents on the rise, it is now more important than ever to consider the lessons of history and the patterns of behavior that occur time and time again. Co-sponsored by Voices Against Injustice, this presentation discusses the long and tangled history between antisemitism and witchcraft beliefs, considering how the allegations and stories used to demonize a group of perceived outsiders have been repurposed again and again, never fully disappearing.