August 24th is a really busy date for fans of European history. Last year on this date I posted about the Sack of Rome on this day in 410 CE and how its portrayal in popular education and folklore reflects more on our Anglo/British cultural underpinnings than on what was going on in the northern Mediterranean sixteen hundred years ago.
This time I want to bring our attention to Western Europe in 1348/49 where 24 August is listed as the date of the massacre of 6000 Jews in the city of Mainz, part of a series of organized mass killings of Jews over the course of those two years in many towns of the region (Erfurt, Koln, others). These murders have long been presented in the context of fear and superstition about the The Black Death. This explanation / rationale for the systemic exploitation and murder of Jewish residents has been yet another smokescreen for even less savory motivations. You can see a typical presentation of the standard version in The Writer's Almanac here:
But historical scholarship on the period has shown pretty clearly that superstition about the plague was not the main driver of these crimes. You can see a short list of citations of relevant writing here:
Some of this is briefly covered in this wikipedia entry: