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Chapter 22

Now on seeing that we were still practising our religion, the priest of Úsov again wrote a scurrilous letter to the Consistory, indicting us on the following points:-

1. We assembled in greater numbers than ten, our meetings consisting of upwards of thirty persons, not counting women and children.

2. In proof of this, he pointed out that we had no more than four houses of worship, while our community contained enough souls to fill twenty rooms with ten in each.

3. The four houses of worship were furnished and equipped on exactly the same lines as a synagogue, with a holy ark, scrolls, an 8-branched chandelier suspended from the ceiling, and praying stands before each member.

4. He reiterated the charge that in bringing the scrolls into our houses of worship, we were mimicking the Christian rites and scoffing at their religion.

“And”, the memorandum continued, “on all these counts I had already indicted them once before, but my efforts to bring them to justice were frustrated by the Jewish diplomats. Now, however, the Queen having issued her decree for the guidance of small communities, and having expressly included Úsov in the category of places that are subject to prohibitions, in spite of which, the Jews of Úsov continue to evade the Royal Command, I therefore also indict them on the charge of high treason. And you, my lords, members of the Holy Consistory, will do your utmost to bring upon them severe punishments.”

The Consistory sent this memorandum on to the Tribunal in Brno, who in turn forwarded it to the District Commissioner in Olomouc, instructing him to appoint a commission, and to call before him the priest (the accuser) and the Jews (the defendants), to inquire into the charge, and report back to the Tribunal.


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