Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Painting on glass of Fagin with his toasting fork

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.89

Painting on glass of Fagin, the devil-like Jewish character from the novel, Oliver Twist, written by Charles Dickens in 1837-8. The image is based on an 1888 illustration by Kyd (Joseph Clayton Clarke.) The characterization is antisemitic and exploits many negative stereotypes. Referred to as The Jew, Fagin is introduced as "villainous and repulsive," with black nails and fanglike teeth. He is greedy and vicious, and kidnaps small children and trains them to be thieves. Dickens rationalized the issue, 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." Later adaptations of the novel tried to sidestep the complications of Fagin's ethnic identity, or make him more of a comic figure, but his stereotypical Jewish traits are central to his depiction. This painting on glass is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

Artwork Title
Fagin from Oliver Twist
creation:  approximately 1940-1945
creation: Great Britain
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
Record last modified: 2021-12-09 09:09:44
This page: