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BLOOD LIBEL

WHAT IS BLOOD LIBEL?

Blood libel or Blood Accusation or Blood Allegation, is an accusation that Jews kidnapped and murdered the children of Christians to use their blood as part of their religious rituals during Jewish holidays.

After numerous major defeats for Austria is 1849, Austrian rule was teetering on the  brink of collapse, with Hungary winning the war.


Emperor Franz Joseph I, fresh in his new role, was forced to request help from the Russian Emperor, Tsar Nicholas I under the name of the Holy Alliance (yes, the same as WMD in Iraq was the name under which the USA started the war).


Tsar Nicholas I sent an army of 200,000 men and 80,000 auxiliary forces.

(Tsar = Emperor, derived from the Latin word Caesar meaning Emperor)

Inevitably, the joint armies of Russia and Austria defeated the forces of Hungary. After the restoration of Habsburg power, Hungary was placed under savage martial law.

It would not be until the 1867 reforms, that the Austrian and the Hungarian states became were co-equal and the AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN EMPIRE would be created.


The effective union would be talked of as The Compromise, but it did require regular renewal.

All matters such as Foreign Affairs and the Military, fell under joint oversight, whilst all other government offices and departments were split between the respective states.

After World War 1 and World War 2, the ' big boots ' of the allied forces, including Russia, would be there again to literally kick Hungary and take lands. National borders would change several times and the indigenous populations were forced to change their nationality and lloyalties, or be forcibly evicted from their homes and lands.

Map of EuropeThe normal global laws no longer applied. Citizens having lived in their towns and cities for generations, were suddenly without lands or rights, and all because of the new powers, the majority knowing little or nothing of the major history which Hungary had played for centuries.


The Russians and Americans especially, would, from behind the comfort of their wing back chairs divide up Hungary, Germany and Poland amongst others, with brandy in one hand and suspicion of their sudden allies, in the other.


Many Hungarians were forced to learn a new language and became persecuted.


Central EuropeThe result is that even in 2016 there is suspicion from the new owners of lands formerly Hungarian. In some towns of Slovakia, schools are prevented from employing Hungarian speakers born in Slovakia, as the government fears it would be the thin end of the wedge!


There has even been an occasion, reported on British news TV, of a small bridge over a river border not being rebuilt after a flood washed it away, for fear that the residents in the now Slovakian town, who ALL speak Hungarian, would somehow declare some form of reunification with Hungary.

Hungary suffered greatly at the hands of the dominant forces throughout known European history. In 1848 Hungary was in the midst of a revolution, for Europe it was one of the many in the same year and closely linked to others against the Habsburg rule.


Hungary's revolution of 1848 grew into a war for independence from the Austrian Empire and the Habsburg dynasty, especially as Hungary was a kingdom with a long royal tradition.

Tsar Emperor Nicholas I

Emperor Nicholas I by Franz Kruger

December 1st 1825 -l March 2nd  1855

Austro-Hungarian Empire flag

For those unable to understand, imagine that your family have lived for 800 years in central England or Ohio for that matter... One day you are told that you are no longer of that country but of another, say….Lalaland !

Your new language is now something you MUST learn as English is also illegal.

The purpose of this introduction is to highlight the change in town, village and city names. The current capital of Slovakia for example is Bratislava, under Hungary it was Pozsony, and thus the village at the centre if the Blood Libel case under Maria Theresa, known in history as ORKUTA, subsequently became ORKUCANY under Slovakia.

Orkut now called Orkucany











Orkuta (now named Orkucany in Slovakia) is a village just a kilometre or so from the town called Kisszeben (now Sabinov) in northeast Slovakia, which lies on the River Torysa and in the former Hungarian county of Saros (Saros Megye). Hence, most searches for Orkuta will return little information.

Orkut now called Orkucany

BLOOD LIBEL.

This even revolved around the death of a 5 year old Christian boy named Istvan Bella, who vanished from the village of Orkuta on June 3rd 1764.


His body was discovered 2 days later outside of the village with a noose around his neck.


Jews were accused of the killing as part of their rituals, claiming that the boys blood was required as part of the ritual.


Exactly why? Nobody knows but many have guessed!


The accusations were however nothing new at the time. What was different in this case was that several people had testified that the body of Istvan Bella was tattooed with Hebrew letters.


Troops were sent to surround the local synagogue in the village of Szedikert, which was the main place of worship for Jews and where they were celebrating the Feast of Weeks (Shavu'ot).


30 Jews were arrested immediately, perhaps to apportion blame and create calm in the region.

To highlight the severity of the case, the Judge in charge had a ‘life-size’ painting of Istvan Bella created and sent to the Hungarian Court Chancellery in Vienna (a remarkable act in itself). It is known that Maria Theresa examined the painting in person and ensured that it was kept at the National Archives.


The Szedikert Jews approached the president of the Pressburg Congregation, Abraham Mendel Theben, and he travelled to Vienna where he was granted an audience with Maria Theresa in person.


Whilst Maria Theresa had no ' love ' for the Jews in general, she did receive the testimony of Abraha Mendel Theben is was said with empathy, and held much sympathy for his own position in the case and quickly came to like him on a personal level.


Nobody knows to this day what was said, but immediately after the audience, 21 of the 30 Jews were released with no charge.


Of the remaining 9 suspects, Samuel Shapse converted to Christianity as was immediately released, whilst Count Laszlo Bornemissza was approached by Jacob Lefkovitch of the remaining 8 suspects, with the plea that the Count personally accept him and his 12 sons into the Christian faith. The Count agreed and a great celebration was held with a fete on June 27th 1764.


The Pressburg Jewish community were not at all pleased with either the outcome or with Abraham Mendel Theben and lodged a formal complaint against Count Bornemissza for ‘forcible baptisms’, which created an official investigation into the actions of the Count.


Whilst this investigation was underway, the remaining suspects who were held in prison, proceeded to court. Of these, 2 were ordered to be subjected to ‘ harsh questioning ’, Moses Josefosvitch and Jacob Joseph Lefkovitch.


On January 25th 1765, nearly a year and a half after the horific murder, the Executioner of Eperjes undertook 10 hours of ‘harsh questioning’. Moses Josefosvitch admitted to nothing and was released, Jacob Joseph Lefkovitch however, died on the rack.


The verdict was that the 2 men had received the due punishment, the others were found not guilty.


The case would be the very last time that torture, or ’harsh questioning’ would be used in any legal proceedings in Hungary. In 1790 it was officially prohibited by the Diet.