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Wooden cane with a carved grip of a beardless Jew with distorted features

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.58

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    Wooden cane with a carved grip of a beardless Jew with distorted features

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    Brief Narrative
    Carved natural wood walking stick with a knob handle shaped as a Jewish man with an oversize nose and lips. European artisans commonly adorned everyday items such as ceramics, toys, and even walking sticks, with caricatures of Jewish faces. These walking sticks are examples of racial antisemitism becoming part of everyday life. This cane is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    creation:  approximately 1801-approximately 1899
    creation: Europe
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    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

    Physical Description
    Varnished, golden brown wooden walking stick with a knob handle carved in the shape of a man’s head with a rounded, angled kippah on the top and distorted, stereotypically Jewish facial features: heavy brows over hooded eyes, a huge humped nose with deep nostrils and a rounded tip, gouged cheeks with heavy jowls, and thick, protruding lips. It has slit, dug out, holes for eyes and large, detailed ears, with sparse hair tooled on the back of the head. The toothless smile is contorted above the rounded, creased chin. It narrows at the neck, then expands into a raised collar. Below this it extends into a long, undulating, gnarled cane shaft which varies in thickness and retains the appearance of the original tree branch, with smoothed bumps. At the bottom is an indented, unstained, flat bottomed cap with a nail, perhaps to be covered with a metal ferrule. The knob shows little use, but there is a crack in the chin area and the shaft below the neck is worn.
    overall: Height: 35.625 inches (90.488 cm) | Width: 1.375 inches (3.493 cm) | Depth: 2.125 inches (5.398 cm)
    overall : wood, varnish stain, metal
    back of upper shaft, red marker : 54

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The walking stick 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:
    2022-07-28 18:30:17
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