IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Persecution Perpetuated: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Semitic Violence in Nazi Germany

  • Nico Voigtländer
  • Hans-Joachim Voth

How persistent are cultural traits? This paper uses data on anti-Semitism in Germany and finds continuity at the local level over more than half a millennium. When the Black Death hit Europe in 1348-50, killing between one third and one half of the population, its cause was unknown. Many contemporaries blamed the Jews. Cities all over Germany witnessed mass killings of their Jewish population. At the same time, numerous Jewish communities were spared these horrors. We use plague pogroms as an indicator for medieval anti-Semitism. Pogroms during the Black Death are a strong and robust predictor of violence against Jews in the 1920s, and of votes for the Nazi Party. In addition, cities that saw medieval anti-Semitic violence also had higher deportation rates for Jews after 1933, were more likely to see synagogues damaged or destroyed in the Night of Broken Glass in 1938, and their inhabitants wrote more anti-Jewish letters to the editor of the Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 551.

in new window

Date of creation: Sep 2015
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:551
Contact details of provider: Postal: Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27, 08005 Barcelona
Phone: +34 93 542-1222
Fax: +34 93 542-1223
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Alessandra Fogli & Raquel Fernandez, 2009. "Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work, and Fertility," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 146-77, January.
  2. Maristella Botticini & Zvi Eckstein, 2007. "From Farmers to Merchants, Conversions and Diaspora: Human Capital and Jewish History," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(5), pages 885-926, 09.
  3. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2006. "The Log of Gravity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 641-658, November.
  4. Diego A. Comin & William Easterly & Erick Gong, 2008. "Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 B.C.?," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-052, Harvard Business School.
  5. Louis Putterman & David Weil, 2008. "Post-1500 Population Flows and the Long Run Determinants of Economic Growth and Inequity," Working Papers 2008-15, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  6. Pauline Grosjean, 2011. "A History of Violence: The Culture of Honor as a Determinant of Homicide in the US South," Discussion Papers 2011-13, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  7. Matthias Doepke, . "Occupational Choice and the Spirit of Capitalism," UCLA Economics Online Papers 419, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Philippe Aghion & Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc & Andrei Shleifer, 2010. "Regulation and Distrust," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/4km7l02j139, Sciences Po.
  9. Grosjean, Pauline, 2011. "The institutional legacy of the Ottoman Empire: Islamic rule and financial development in South Eastern Europe," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 1-16, March.
  10. Alesina, Alberto F & Giuliano, Paola & Nunn, Nathan, 2011. "Fertility and the Plough," CEPR Discussion Papers 8261, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Becker, Sascha O. & Boeckh, Katrin & Hainz, Christa & Woessmann, Ludger, 2011. "The Empire Is Dead, Long Live the Empire! Long-Run Persistence of Trust and Corruption in the Bureaucracy," IZA Discussion Papers 5584, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. King, Gary & Rosen, Ori & Tanner, Martin & Wagner, Alexander F., 2008. "Ordinary Economic Voting Behavior in the Extraordinary Election of Adolf Hitler," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(04), pages 951-996, December.
  13. Nathan Nunn & Leonard Wantchekon, 2009. "The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa," NBER Working Papers 14783, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jha, Saumitra, 2008. "Trade, Institutions and Religious Tolerance: Evidence from India," Research Papers 2004, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  15. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner, 2010. "From Shame to Game in One Hundred Years: An Economic Model of the Rise in Premarital Sex and its De-Stigmatization," NBER Working Papers 15677, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2009. "The Diffusion of Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 469-529, May.
  17. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro & Frank Windmeijer, 2010. "Is it different for zeros? Discriminating between models for non-negative data with many zeros," CeMMAP working papers CWP20/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  18. Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc, 2010. "Inherited Trust and Growth," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/432sbils8u9, Sciences Po.
  19. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Scholarly Articles 4553005, Harvard University Department of Economics.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:551. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bruno Guallar)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.