"Bones, Poems and Texts: Anti-Jewish Violence in Tàrrega during the Black Death"
Susan L. Einbinder
This talk offers a brief survey of Jewish responses to the Black Death before focusing on a Jewish community in Catalonia that was nearly annihilated by plague-related violence.
The 2007 discovery of mass graves in the town of Tàrrega briefly returned the victims of the worst episode of anti-Jewish violence during the Black Death (1346-52) to daylight and historians’ attention. This talk draws on the work of the forensic archaeologists who excavated the site, newly researched archival records, and a previously unnoted liturgical lament, to treat the Tàrrega incident anew. What does this episode tell us about Tàrrega’s victims and perpetrators, the ways pandemic plague might exacerbate old tensions and ignite them tragically? What can learn not only from the ways that Targarin Christians and Jews reacted, but from how they chose to remember or forget?