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Werner von Bacharach

Also known as "Werner von Oberwesel", he was born a poor boy in 1271 near St. Goarshausen. The name is derived from the Germanic tribe of the Warnen, his day of remembrance is April 19. He hired himself out in Oberwesel as a day labourer for a winegrower. According to legend, he was lured into the house by Jews on Maundy Thursday in 1287 and tortured to death; these Jews had needed his blood for their Passover rites, his body had been thrown into the Rhine. Such anti-Jewish legends were frequently circulating at that time; accusations such as ritual murder, but also host crime or poisoning of wells (as a cause of epidemics such as the plague) were raised, thus fuelling the anti-Semitism of broad masses of people. The alleged joint Jewish murder was followed by a wave of pogroms. In fact, Werner probably became the victim of a robbery and murder. The Jewish communities turned to King Rudolf I (1218-1291), who was convinced that the accusations were groundless. He imposed a fine on the murderers of the Jews and ordered Werner's body to be burned to prevent further worship, but this was not followed. Subsequently, "the good winegrower boy Werner" was worshipped as one of seven wine saints on the Middle Rhine. The veneration as a saint lasted as "Werner's Feast" in the diocese of Trier until 1963, when after the Second Vatican Council the name of Werner was removed from the list of saints. See also under wine gods and a list under wine saints.

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