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Chapter 11

The Tribunal delayed the sentence for about a month, and when they saw that there was no repeal from the Emperor, they despatched it to the Consistory of Olomouc, in order that it might be sent to Úsov.

The Jews of Úsov were all this time in a terrible state of suspense; their minds trembled betwixt hope and fear; their eyes failed while they awaited their fate.

The bright feast of  Pentecost, the day of the ‘Giving of the Law’, arrived. The Jews of Úsov were assembled in their synagogue. They were celebrating the festival with prayer and song. They opened the Ark and took out the Scrolls of the Law, and the verses for the day were read. The worshipper who was to read the third section had ascended the Bema. He had just begun to make his blessing, when the doors of the synagogue were thrown open violently, and a crowd came in, accompanied by the Town Clerk. They immediately occupied the Bema, struck on the sacred reading-desk, and shouted out:-

“Silence, ye Jews!”

All the assembly was thunderstruck. The citizens spread a document on the desk, and the Town Clerk read out the dreadful sentence, word for word, till the end. He then gave a copy of it to my father-in-law, who was the head of the congregation, and the citizens cried out

“Know this, ye Jews, that herein is stated what our Lord the Emperor has decided against you. Your synagogue shall be razed to the ground till but a heap of dust remains. Deliver up your keys, that we may see the secrets of the place. Go! Leave your sanctuary, and get you to your homes, for it has been decided and witnessed by the royal hand that never again shall you assemble for worship within these walls.”

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