Although the lot of the Jews in the Middle Ages seemed hard and their future dark, yet there were encouraging signs of a definite improvement in their status, said Dr. Solomon Grayzel last night in his lecture on “Martin Luther and the Jews” at the Brooklyn Jewish Center.
“The revival of ancient learning was turning the best minds toward a study of the Hebrew language and a greater sympathy with the Jewish people. The disintegration of the Catholic Church which Jews of the Middle Ages had regarded as their greatest persecutor lightened the Jewish burden,” he said.
“Soon thereafter, Luther announced his belief that persecution was the wrong way to deal with the Jews. However,” declared Dr. Grayzel, “Luther’s theological-mindedness and association with the middle class and upper nobility resulted in a continuation of the medieval policy towards the Jews. He became more and more reactionary and self-willed, and both Judaism and Christianity suffered as a result.
“Luther’s attitude toward the Jews,” concluded Dr. Grayzel, “is of importance to us now because this attitude has assumed greater significance in the Germany of the present day.”