Essay on The Butcher’s Tale by Helmut Walser Smith

Essay on The Butcher’s Tale by Helmut Walser Smith

Length: 1192 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Anti-Semitism is the hatred and discrimination of those with a Jewish heritage. It is generally connected to the Holocaust, but the book by Helmut Walser Smith, The Butcher’s Tale shows the rise of anti-Semitism from a grassroots effect. Smith uses newspapers, court orders, and written accounts to write the history and growth of anti-Semitism in a small German town. The book focuses on how anti-Semitism was spread by fear mongering, the conflict between classes, and also the role of the government.

In March 11, 1900 in a German town called Konitz the severed body parts of a human were discovered. Almost immediately, the blame fell on the Jewish. As Smith points out, anti-Semitism had been on a steady decline, and the anti-Semitics were looking for ways to revitalize the movement. The murder was an opportunity for anti-Semitics revive their movement. After the identity of the body was discovered to be Ernst Winter, the Staatsburgerzeitung, an anti-Semitic newspaper, printed several articles focusing on Konitz. Using unverified accounts from people in the town, it claimed that the murder was a ritual murder that had been carried out by the Jewish. The use of fear mongering was affective because the paper was a Berlin based paper so distribution was wide, and news of the murder traveled far. A crucial facet of the rise of anti-Semitism was due to anti-Semitic newspapers taking stories such as the Ernst Winter murder and using them to promote their cause. One of Smith’s sources, the Preuβische Jahrbṻcher, had a printed article written by Heinrich von Treitschke who was an historian; in which one of his quotes was “The Jews are our misfortune.” His article was what later spurred the German population’s turn from liberalism a...

... middle of paper ...

...Wolf Israelski. The use of sources like the Staatsburgerzeitung gives a unique perspective because they were reporting as soon as these events happen. They offer the direct opinion of the public and were firsthand accounts.
In conclusion, aided by the newspapers that were able to deliver news across the country, the anti-Semitism movement grew. It was largely from a grass-root effect that gained momentum from small towns and spread across the nation. While the government did play a role, they for the most part only responded to what was happening instead of instigating it. The Butcher’s Tale is unique because it shows the bottom up of effect of anti-Semitism versus the later top-down affect that causes what is today known as the Holocaust.


Smith, Helmut Walser. The Butcher’s Tale. New York & London: Norton W.W. Norton & Company. 2002.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Butcher 's Tale By Helmut Walser Essay

- When a young boy is found brutally murdered in a small Prussian town called Konitz, once part of Germany, now part of Poland, the Christians residing in the town lash out by inciting riots and demonstrations. Citing the incident as an act of Jewish ritual murder, better known as blood libel, Christians rendered blame on the Jews. Helmut Walser’s Smith, The Butcher’s Tale, details the murder account and the malicious consequences of superstitious belief combined with slander and exaggerated press propaganda....   [tags: Antisemitism, Jews, Judaism, Jewish history]

Strong Essays
1561 words (4.5 pages)

Iowa Wrestling - Tale of Warriors by Michael Smith Essay

- It is the dusk of autumn. Cold wind chills rush in the farmlands, bringing about their bitter and unsaturated cast, a ghastly blue fading into blackness and wilting green, the predominant colors of the time. This is no sign of despair; it's rather welcoming for the people of Iowa. This is wrestling season. Iowa Wrestling, a documentary directed by Michael Smith and narrated by Dylan McDermott, is produced by ESPN. It was televised in 2003 on ESPN The Season, a series that reveals the rigidity, torment, and triumph of the nation's highest demanding sport groups....   [tags: espn, mike zadick, the season]

Strong Essays
1926 words (5.5 pages)

Essay on The Wealth Of Nations By Adam Smith

- Adam Smith is known as one of the fathers of economics. He is most known for his profound ideas and theories on capitalism presented in his book the Wealth of Nations. Around ten years prior to him finishing the Wealth of Nations he released the Theory of Moral Sentiments, less referred to in relation to political economics, but equally as important. Both books should be read together to have a deeper understanding of Smith’s economic theories and his understanding of humans as social beings. Although the books have a somewhat lengthy time separation and are sometimes referred to as younger Smith and later, more mature Smith; it is necessary to read both books....   [tags: Adam Smith, Economics, Capitalism]

Strong Essays
831 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on Bessie Smith : The Prince Of The Blues

- Bessie Smith was born April 15, 1894 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She later in life became known as the “Empress of the Blues”. At the age of eighteen she being traveling with a group by the name of Moss Stokes Company. While with the group she met Ma Rainey who also became a friend and mentor to her. After traveling with the group, in 1923 she was discovered by Columbia Records. After signing with Columbia, she released her first song Downhearted Blues. The song Downhearted Blues went on to sale over 800,000 copies and became one her most popular songs....   [tags: Blues, Jazz, Bessie Smith]

Strong Essays
939 words (2.7 pages)

Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation Essay

- Smith and Wesson one of the world’s leading manufacturers of firearms was founded in 1852 by Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson (Form 10-K Annual Report p.1, 2011). Over the next 160 years the company would be bought and sold several times starting with Mr. Wesson purchasing Mr. Smith’s interest in 1873. The Wesson family sold Smith & Wesson Corp. in 1965 and the company would change hands 4 more times between 1984 and its final resting place as Smith & Wesson Holding Company in 2001. They are one of the largest manufacturers of handguns and handcuffs in the USA and the largest US exporter of handguns....   [tags: Smith & Wesson Analysis]

Strong Essays
1124 words (3.2 pages)

John Smith in Jamestown Essay

- John Smith in Jamestown The leadership strengths and weaknesses of John Smith evoked a profound effect on the Jamestown colony. The fact that Smith actually arrived in the colony as a common prisoner and was able to achieve the leadership role that he gained is amazing. His creativity and knowledge in certain areas actually saved the colonists from attack and starvation in the early days. Some of the rules he enforced as a leader were actually instrumental in saving the colony. His skill in dealing with the natives allowed him to gain their support and continue trade that resulted in the survival of the colony....   [tags: John Smith Jamestown Essays]

Strong Essays
1212 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on The Suffering Griselda in The Clerk's Tale

-     In Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Clerk's Tale," from The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer describes a "perfect wife."  This wife, Griselda, is totally submissive to her husband, and seems to have no regrets or remorse for anything he makes her do.  Griselda's husband, Walter, puts her through many trials in order to test her dedication and loyalty to him.  He takes away both of their children, telling her that he is going to have them killed.  He then tells her that he is divorcing her and taking another bride.  After this, he forces her to prepare the new bride for him.  Through all of this, Griselda loves Walter without fail, meets his demands without any word of disapproval, and remains faithful...   [tags: Clerk's Tale Essays]

Strong Essays
3001 words (8.6 pages)

Leon Garfield's Novel Smith Essay

- How Does Leon Garfield structure the novel ‘Smith’ to keep the reader interested. Leon Garfield uses cliffhangers and other techniques to draw the reader into the world that Smith lives in. I am going to explain how the author uses a variety of emotions and moods. As well as that, I am going to discuss how the author links social history with the plot. Then, I am going to clarify how well the ending resolves the readers’ questions. Finally, I am going to expose how the author uses elements of style to his advantage....   [tags: Leon Garfield Novel Smith]

Strong Essays
695 words (2 pages)

Kevin Smith and His Work Essay

- Kevin Smith and His Work Kevin Patrick Smith (born August 2, 1970) is a screenwriter, film director, and the creator of View Askew Productions. He is also known as a comic book writer and actor, although he has criticized his own acting ability on more than one occasion....   [tags: Producer Director Kevin Smith Mallrats]

Free Essays
929 words (2.7 pages)

Essay Adam Smith

- Adam Smith Adam Smith, a brilliant eighteenth-century Scottish political economist, had the advantage of judging the significance ol colonies by a rigorous examination based on the colonial experience of 300 years. His overview has a built-in bias: he strongly disapproved of excessive regulation of colonial trade by parent countries. But his analysis is rich with insight and remarkably dispassionate in its argument. Adam Smith recognized that the discovery of the New World not only brought wealth and prosperity to the Old World, but that it also marked a divide in the history of mankind....   [tags: Political Economist Adam Smith Biographies Essays]

Free Essays
4989 words (14.3 pages)