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On the Jews and Their Lies
On the Jews and Their Lies (German: Von den Jüden und iren Lügen; in modern spelling Von den Juden und ihren Lügen) is a 65,000-word anti-Judaic treatise written in 1543 by the German Reformation leader Martin Luther (1483-1546).
Luther's attitude toward the Jews took different forms during his lifetime. In his earlier period, until 1537 or not much earlier, he wanted to convert Jews to Lutheranism (Protestant Christianity), but failed. In his later period when he wrote On the Jews and Their Lies, he denounced them and urged their persecution.In the treatise, he argues that Jewish synagogues and schools be set on fire, their prayer books destroyed, rabbis forbidden to preach, homes burned, and property and money confiscated. They should be shown no mercy or kindness, afforded no legal protection, and "these poisonous envenomed worms" should be drafted into forced labor or expelled for all time. He also seems to advocate their murder, writing "[W]e are at fault in not slaying them".The book may have had an impact on creating antisemitic Germanic thought through the Middle Ages. During World War II, copies of the book were held up by Nazis at rallies, and the prevailing scholarly consensus is that it had a significant impact on the Holocaust. Since then, the book has been denounced by many Lutheran churches.
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