||History of the Jews in Germany during the Crusades by Nathan Birnbaum and Hugo Herrmann. The full title is Edom: Berichte jüdischer Zeugen und Zeitgenossen über die Judenverfolgungen während der Kreuzzüge (Edom: Reports of Jewish witnesses and contemporaries over Jew pursuits during the Crusades). There is a half-title page which simply says Edom and has an insignia consisting of the letters JV about a menorah. Next is a full title page, followed with copyright information, and informing that Edom is translated from a Hebrew work and that the insignia is by the renowned artist Joseph Budko, a page with biblical verses, and then the text. Edom is set in a single column in Fraktur with marginal dates of events. The events recorded begin with the first Crusade in 1096 and conclude on april 26, 1188. There is an afterward, notes, and a table of contents, listing the chapters, which are about Jewish communities by city and prominent individuals who perished during the Crusades. The cover gives the title in gilt against a black background and has a depiction of a tombstone by a wilted tree.
Pogroms accompanied the First Crusade in 1096 resulting in the destruction of the Jewish tri-communities of Speyers (Shapiro), Worms (Vermayza) and Mainz (Magence.) The Christian crusaders who were to embark on their holy mission to free the Holy Land from the domination of the Moslem infidels found closer infidels – the Jews - at hand. These Jewish communities were themselves very ancient even in the eleventh century. They were Jewish communities in Roman times and Jewish legend traces them back even to pre-Roman times. They were the heart of Jewish life in the Rhineland and were the seats of Torah scholarship for the Ashkenazic Jewish communities of France and Germany. The great yeshiva of Rabenu Gershom, the Light of the Exile, was in Mainz, where Rashi journeyed in his youth to study Torah from the disciples of Rabenu Gershom. The Jewish community was prosperous, well established and seemingly secure. However, the fury of the Crusaders fell upon that community, with hundreds being slaughtered and Jewish property being burned and looted. The Crusaders dragged their Jewish victims to the baptismal fount demanding their conversion to Christianity. Some Jews succumbed, but most of the Jews of those communities accepted death, even killing their own families rather than accepting any form of conversion. It was a dark time in Jewish history and remains as deep and dark a page in the annals of the Christian Church. In the aftermath of the destruction of the communities of Speyers, Worms and Mainz, the Jewish communities in France and the Rhineland declined. By the end of the Second Crusade in the twelfth century, it was obvious that the Jewish future in those countries was dismal.