Hatred of the Jews is no mere sporadic historical anomaly; it is deeply ingrained in the European mind, a part of what defines us apart from the Jews. From the church fathers to Luther, vitriol against the People of the Book was shamefully widespread in Christendom, and without doubt fueled the horrors perpetrated by Nazi Germany. But antisemitism was a characteristic of other European nations too: Britain, France, Spain. The pogroms of the Soviet Union are well known.
“Are they not inveterate murderers, destroyers, men possessed by the devil? Jews are impure and impious, and their synagogue is a house of prostitution, a lair of beasts, a place of shame and ridicule, the domicile of the devil, as is the soul of the Jew… As a matter of fact, Jews worship the devil; their rites are criminal and unchaste; their religion a disease; their synagogue an assembly of crooks, a den of thieves, a cavern of devils, an abyss of perdition!” (Homily 4:1) – St. John Chrysostum (347-407). Frequently described as “the greatest preacher in the early church”.
“Jews are slayers of the Lord, murderers of the prophets, enemies and haters of God, adversaries of grace, enemies of their fathers’ faith, advocates of the devil, a brood of vipers, slanderers, scoffers, men of darkened minds, the leaven of Pharisees, a congregation of demons, sinners, wicked men, haters of goodness!” – St. Gregory, bishop of Nyssa (c. 335–c. 395).