1475 March 23, SIMON OF TRENT (Italy)
One of the more notorious blood libels. A Franciscan monk, Bernardinus of Feltre, came to Trent and began preaching Lent sermons against the Jews. A week before Easter a boy by the name of Simon drowned in the river Adige. The monk charged the Jews with using the body for its blood. The body washed up a few days later near the house of a Jew who brought it to the Bishop Honderbach. 17 Jews were tortured for over two weeks. Some confessed while being tortured and 6 Jews were burned. Two more were strangled. A temporary hiatus was called by Pope Sixtus IV, but after five years the trial was reopened and 5 more Jews were executed. The papal inquest agreed with the trial, Simon was beatified, and all Jews were expelled for 300 years. The trial served as the basis for anti-Semitic writings for hundreds of years. Only in 1965 was Simon debeatified.