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Bisque figurine of a Jew in a white plasterer’s coat and gray boots

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.45

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    Bisque figurine of a Jew in a white plasterer’s coat and gray boots

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    Brief Narrative
    Porcelain bisque figurine of a Jewish man, possibly an ashtray or change plate, made in Germany. The man has a large nose, sidelocks, large ears, a beard, hooded eyes, and fleshy lips; all stereotypical physical features commonly attributed to Jewish men. The text on the figurine indicates the man is bemoaning the spa tax in Carlsbad, Austria-Hungary (now Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic). Carlsbad is a European town located on a thermal spring, and has accommodations that use those springs for their medicinal and rejuvenating properties. Many European spa towns can trace their histories back to ancient Roman settlements. During the 18th and 19th centuries, European spa towns became increasingly popular as centers for health and social destinations for the affluent, the nobility, and European royalty. During this time, seemingly large numbers of Jewish guests also frequented the spa towns. However, antisemitic sentiment was also present. Derogatory postcards, called Judenspottkarten [Jew-mocking cards], and other souvenirs were produced and sold. The figurine lamenting the cost of the services at the spa town is a reference to the stereotype of the greedy Jew. This stereotype dates back to the Middle Ages, when economic and professional restrictions limited many Jews to the occupations of retail peddling, hawking, and moneylending. Additionally, medieval religious belief held that charging interest (known as usury) was sinful, and the Jews who occupied these professions were perceived as morally deficient and willing to engage in unethical business practices. These factors formed the canard of the greedy Jew who exploited Gentiles. This figurine is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    manufacture: Germany
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    front, within coat, lower left and right, painted, black paint : Gott der Gerechte! / was ä thaires Pflaster!! [God almighty! what an expensive plaster]
    back, center within hollow, stamped : 2
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    The Katz Ehrenthal Collection is a collection of more than 900 objects depicting Jews and antisemitic and anti-Jewish propaganda from the medieval to the modern era, in Europe, Russia, and the United States. The collection was amassed by Peter Ehrenthal, a Romanian Holocaust survivor, to document the pervasive history of anti-Jewish hatred in Western art, politics and popular culture. It includes crude folk art as well as pieces created by Europe's finest craftsmen, prints and periodical illustrations, posters, paintings, decorative art, and toys and everyday household items decorated with depictions of stereotypical Jewish figures.

    Physical Details

    Decorative Arts
    Physical Description
    Small, white, bisque porcelain figurine shaped as a male figure with painted details. He wears white clothing: a sloppily buttoned shirt, pants, a large brimmed cap, and a long coat that is flung open to form the bowl of the dish or tray. The clothing is highlighted with light gray shading, which matches his tall, dark gray boots. He has fleshy red lips, hooded eyes, a large nose, big ears, and curled black sidelocks with a black beard. The coat has a white, rolled-up newspaper tucked inside the interior left pocket, and large German text is painted on the bottom corner of the jacket’s interior. The man’s large hands are raised to shoulder height in a shrug, and are open with the palms facing outward. The back of the man’s body is hollow with rounded edges along the opening. The pointer and pinky on the man’s right hand have broken off.
    overall: Height: 6.000 inches (15.24 cm) | Width: 6.000 inches (15.24 cm)
    overall : porcelain, paint

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The figurine was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016 by the Katz Family.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Special Collection
    Katz Ehrenthal Collection
    Record last modified:
    2024-05-15 16:00:38
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