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Ceramic change plate depicting a greedy Jew admiring his gold coins

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.28

Antisemitic change plate modeled as Jewish man lovingly staring at the gathered coins in his outstretched arms. The man has large ears, a large curved nose, and fleshy lips; all stereotypical physical features commonly attributed to Jewish men. The man’s black clothing conforms to the Jewish concept of tzniyus (modest dress and behavior), which Orthodox Jews adhere to for religious reasons. Many antisemitic depictions of Jews show them hoarding, counting, or handling money. These stereotypes originated from the economic and professional restrictions placed on early European Jews. They were barred from owning land, farming, joining trade guilds, and military service. These restrictions forced many Jews into occupations such as money changing (exchanging foreign coins or currency for those used locally). Additionally, medieval religious belief held that charging interest (known as usury) was sinful, and the Jews who occupied these professions were looked down upon, predominantly by European Christians. They were perceived as morally deficient and willing to engage in unethical business practices. The inability of Jews to legally hold other occupations, combined with Christians’ disdain for the professions Jews were allowed to practice, helped form the canard of the greedy Jew who exploited Gentiles. This canard was often visually depicted as a Jewish man expressing an exaggerated desire for, or counting money. This change plate is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

creation: Germany
Decorative Arts
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
Record last modified: 2022-11-25 09:28:11
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