The Girl Who Was Killed by Jews
It is a sad fact that many legends across Europe are Anti-Semitic. The following legend is from Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm’s Deutsche Sagen (1816/1818).
In the year 1267 in Pforzheim an old woman, driven by greed, sold an innocent seven-year-old girl to the Jews. The Jews gagged her to keep her from crying out, cut open her veins, and surrounded her in order to catch her blood with cloths. The child soon died from the torture, and they weighted her down with stones and threw her into the Enz River.
A few days later little Margaret reached her little hand above the streaming water. A number of people, including the Margrave himself soon assembled. Some boatmen succeeded in pulling the child out of the water. She was still alive, but as soon as she had called for vengeance against her murderers, she died.
Suspicion fell upon the Jews, and they were all summoned to appear. As they approached the corpse, blood began to stream from its open wounds. The Jews and the old woman confessed the evil deed and were executed. The child’s coffin, with an inscription, stands next to the bell rope near the entrance to the palace church* at Pforzheim.
Children of the members of the boatmen’s guild unanimously pass the legend from generation to generation that at that time the Margrave rewarded their ancestors by freeing them from sentry duty in the city of Pforzheim “as long as the sun and the moon continue to shine.” At the same time they were given the right to be represented by twenty-four boatmen, carrying arms and musical instruments, who parade and stand watch over the city every year at the Carnival celebration. This privilege applies even to this day.
*The palace church dating from the 11th century is one of the few remnants of the old palace of the Margraves of Baden-Durlach in Pforzheim.