Are my eyes going? Or is it my memory? I'm 1000 percent positive that a reference to the cross appears somewhere in one of the many kinos (ie: liturgical dirges recited on 9 Av) dedicated to the atrocities committed in 1096 against the Jewish communities of Worms, Speyer and Mainz. As I recall, the poet makes a reference to the "sign across their chests which filled us with fear." This can only mean the cross. The ragtag horde of crusaders attached it to their hats and clothing in a display of martial holiness, just as later generations of anti-Semites would cover themselves with the swastika. Imagine what the swastika meant to our grandparents and it's easy to understand why the 11th century Jews of the Rheinland would have been "filled with fear" at the sight of the cross.
Yesterday, I read through the Crusader kinos looking for the verse. Again and again I read about the destruction of the shuls and schools of the Rheinland, of the young grooms and brides who committed suicide as the mobs advanced, and the thousands who were put to death after a local bishop withdrew his protection, and expelled a sanctuary-seeking community from his cathedral. But, try as I might, I couldn't spot the line about the cross. Did I miss it? Or did I imagine it?
Additional note: Pace the hysterical speaker who addressed my congregation yesterday afternoon, the Crusades did not start on 9 Av. Urban II preached the first crusade at the Council of Clermont , which gathered in November 1095. The bulk of the massacres were in spring, during sefira, with perhaps the most famous attack occuring on the third day of Sivan. [More]