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Bronze plaque with a full length image of Fagin

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.93

Cast bronze plaque of Fagin, a devil-like Jewish criminal from the novel, Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens, 1837-39. Plaques of the same shape, size, and design were mass produced in England in 1910 in an inexpensive material known as Ivorex, plaster of Paris dipped in wax. The metal version may have been produced earlier, but the source is not known. Fagin's characterization is antisemitic and exploits many negative stereotypes. Referred to as The Jew, Fagin is villainous, greedy, and repulsive, with black nails, fanglike teeth, and he kidnaps small children to make them thieves. Dickens shared a common prejudice of the time, saying that if he had a character who was a fence, he had to be a Jew because "that class of criminal almost invariably was a Jew." Many adaptations try to sidestep the complications of Fagin's ethnic identity, or make him more of a comic figure, but his Jewishness is central to his depiction. This ornament is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

Date
approximately 1910  (manufacture)
Geography
manufacture : Great Britain
Classification
Decorative Arts
Category
Metalwork
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
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Record last modified: 2018-10-24 14:08:12
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn537328