May 22 - 1370 - The Brussels Massacre

The actual event was, at a basic level, quite simple. After an accusation of host desecration, the Jewish community of Brussels was attacked, with some Jews being burned at the stake and the community being expelled. Yet the Brussels Massacre, or as it was most commonly known before World War II, the Miracle of the Sacrament, says more about historical antisemitism and the nature of historical memory. In the fourteenth century, Jews were heavily persecuted, and the claim that Jews would seek to stab communion hosts in their synagogue on Good Friday was not uncommon, even if it was perhaps a fanciful idea. The very idea of "host desecration" also played into the role of the Catholic faith in Europe. When Protestantism came about in the sixteenth century, the prominence of Catholic ideas in the "Miracle of the Sacrament" made it become an even more popular story in Brussels. This bizarre event was now key to the Catholic identity in Brussels, celebrating their antisemitism against rising Protestantism. The only reason the cult of the Blessed Sacrament of the Miracle went away was a reevaluation after the Holocaust.

William Floyd