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OBJECT OF THE MONTH


The Simon Abeles Case

• Johann Wolfgang Ebelin von Friedberg: Processus inquisitorius, welcher In der Königl. Böhm. Residenz-Stadt Prag von dem hochlöbl. Königl. Appellations-tribunal als einem, im Erb-Königreich Böheim,... im Jahr 1694, wider beyde Prager-Juden Lazar Abeles und Löbl Kurzhandl wegen dess Ex odio Christianae Fidei, von ihnen Juden ermordeten Zwölff-jährigen Jüdischen Knabens Simon Abeles Als leiblichen Sohns des ersten Verführet; Und zu mehreren Erhöhung dess Christlichen Glaubens auch zur fruchtbaren Aussererbauung Jedesmänniglichen samt den dienlichen Haubt-Inquisitions-Acten ..., Prague, Kašpar Zachariáš Wussin 1728
• Acquired by the museum in 1967 from a second-hand bookshop in Jihlava
• Kept in the museum's collection of Rare Printed Books



A record of the Inquisition trial of Lazar Abeles and Löbl Kurzhandl who were accused of murdering Simon Abeles (Lazar's son) to prevent his conversion to Christianity. The criminal file on the false charge of 'hatred for the faith' (ex odio fidei) that the Court of Appeal had fabricated against Abeles and Kurzhandl was first published by J. W. Ebelin in 1696. A later edition also contains a depiction of Simon Abeles.



In the summer of 1693, twelve-year-old Simon ran away home because of disagreements with his father. He decided to get baptized, secretly preparing for the sacrament at the Jesuit College in the Old Town of Prague. Lazar soon found his son and took him home but their disagreements continued. On 21 February 1694 a relative, Löbl Kurzhandl, gave the boy such a severe beating that he fell and broke his neck. In an attempt to cover up what had happened, they secretly buried Simon, claiming that he had succumbed to a serious illness. The authorities, however, ordered that the body be exhumed and an autopsy performed to determine the real cause of death. The father was then arrested and put in jail where he hanged himself out of fear of torture. Löbl was sentenced to execution by being broken on the wheel; before he died he confessed to manslaughter but not to premeditated murder. On the last day of March 1694, the boy was buried as a martyr in the Church of Our Lady before Týn.




• Inv. No. 67/24.345, Call No. 65.734
• Paper, half-leather binding with a green back and a paper cover, copper plate engraved frontispiece with figural decoration
• [9], 93, [3] p., illus.; 4°, 21 x 16 cm


1. Illustration from the book – A portrait of Simon Abeles
2. Illustration from the book – Simon's 'murder' and the deceased boy on a cloud greeted by angels
3. Title page of the criminal file
4. First page of the file





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