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Wooden walking stick knob carved as Fagin’s head

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.59

Wooden knob handle for a figural walking stick carved in the shape of a Jewish man's head with stereotypically Jewish features and a sinister appearance. The name Fagin is carved on the back, although it does not resemble the descriptions of the devil-like Jewish character Fagin from the novel, Oliver Twist, written by Charles Dickens in 1837-8. European artisans commonly adorned everyday items such as ceramics, toys, and even walking sticks, with caricatures of Jewish faces. The name Fagin may have been added to expand the market for the item. Items such as this walking stick knob are examples of racial antisemitism becoming part of everyday life. Fagin, referred to as The Jew, is a "villainous and repulsive" character with black nails and teeth like fangs, who kidnaps small children and trains them to be thieves. Dickens expressed a common 19th century prejudice, saying that if he had a character who was a fence, a dealer in stolen goods, he had to be a Jew because "that class of criminal almost invariably was a Jew." This walking stick knob is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.This walking stick knob is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

Date
approximately 1850-approximately 1899  (creation)
Object Type
Knobs (handles) (aat)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
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Record last modified: 2018-05-14 09:29:14
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn537149