In 1298, the Jews of Bischofsheim, Germany were massacred by Rindfleisch troops. Rindfleisch was a German knight who was unable to repay a loan to the Jewish community, so he concocted a slander and claimed to have received a mission from heaven to exterminate "the accursed race of the Jews." Rindfleisch stirred up a mob, and his band of his Juden-schachters (Jew-slaughterers) marched through Austria and Germany, from city to city, pillaging, burning, and murdering Jews along the way (except those who accepted Christianity). Within six months, thousands of Jews were murdered (many were burned at the stake) and 146 Jewish communities were decimated. Rabbi Mordechai ben Hillel (1240-1298), author of the Mordechai commentary on Talmud, and his entire family were among those murdered. The Jews of Germany, having repeatedly rebuilt their communities after such attacks, lost heart, and many migrated to the Land of Israel (then under Islamic rule). Rabbi Asher Ben Yechiel, a great sage known as the Rosh, survived the Rindfleisch massacres and moved to Spain. Rindfleisch was later arrested and hanged, and the cities in which Jews had been killed were required to pay fines.
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