35 Megillat Eslar


Natan Liebermann (Ricse)

Printed in Mukachevo (Munkatsh), Ukraine, in 1883 by Pinchas Blayer printers

soft cover

gift of unknown donor, 1915

On April 1, 1882 a fourteen year-old girl, Eszter Solymosi disappears in Tiszaeszlár. Local Jews are accused of ritually murdering her. A lengthy blood libel trial followed, eventually resulting in the acquittal of all the accused. The case was widely covered in the press at the time. The defender of the accused Jews, Baron Károly Eötvös wrotea detailed two-volume account of the trial.  At approximately the same time, Natan Liebermann who lived in Ricse wrote a Hebrew language account of the trial, entitled Megillat Eslar. His vocabulary and the title he chose are references to Megillat Esther, or the Book of Esther forming the core of the Jewish festival of Purim, during which it is read aloud in synagogues. The author creates a parallel between the wondrous salvation of the Jewish people and the acquittal of the Jews of Tiszaeszlár in the blood libel trial.  Megillat Eslar is not a historiography; rather it fits into a tradition of holding local Purim festivals to commemorate the sparing of the community from persecution. Megillat Eslar, published by Blayer printers in Munkatsh, was read out in the neighboring communities on the anniversaries of the closing of the trial.