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Brass door knocker with the head of an evil looking Shylock

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.14

Brass door knocker with the head of Shylock from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. Shylock is a Jewish moneylender who demands that his contract for a pound of flesh, owed by a youth for not repaying a loan, be paid in full. First published in 1600 in England, Shylock's characteristics are based upon long standing stereotypes, still popular in a country where Jews had been expelled for 300 years. At times, the portrayal is sympathetic, and we are shown how society and his Christian enemies cruelly mistreat him, but at the end, Shylock is punished for his greed and forced to convert. The play was extremely popular in Nazi Germany, with fifty productions from 1933-1945. Despite the stereotypical anti-Jewish elements, the play continues to spark debate over whether it is antisemitic. This door knocker is one of more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

creation:  approximately 1910
Decorative Arts
Object Type
Door knockers (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
Record last modified: 2021-04-14 15:49:45
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