The terrible treatment of Jews by the Nazi regime in the 1930s and 1940s was not a new event.
Though nothing had ever been seen on the scale of the appalling “Final Solution” begun in 1942 in which 6 million were murdered, Jews have been the victims of mistreatment since Roman times, as their different religion and their success in business attracted hatred and jealousy.
Laws were sometimes passed against them, such as the 1215 ruling by the Catholic Church that Jewish men had to wear spiked hats to identify them. At other times they have been made to wear stars on their clothing or change their names.
At the time this roll was written Jews in England were subjected to heavy taxes, had property stolen or confiscated and were sometimes attacked. The most serious attack on a Jewish community was the York Massacre in 1190 in which 150 Jews were killed as they took refuge in Clifford’s Tower, one of the city’s castles. The 12th century historian William of Newburgh accused the townspeople of an attempt at “sweeping away the whole race in their city”.