Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Bronze statue of a Jewish man as the pagan god Mercury

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.96

Search this record's additional resources, such as finding aids, documents, or transcripts.

No results match this search term.
Check spelling and try again.

results are loading

0 results found for “keyward

    Bronze statue of a Jewish man as the pagan god Mercury


    Brief Narrative
    Bronze sculpture by Bruno Zach of the pagan deity Mercury as an offensively buffoonish Jewish man. The antisemitic intent of the work is not limited to the loathsome physical depiction. By making the Jewish man in the image of Mercury, the depiction merged Jewish identity with a practice it condemned, idol worship. Mercury was frequently used to symbolize idolatry in rabbinical literature. Mercury was the Roman god of merchants and travellers, as well as thieves, and his caduceus was originally a magical wand used for incantations and alchemy. These were all professions - commerce, peddling, theft, and alchemy, with which Jews were associated in longheld stereotypes. Zach (1891-1935) was a popular sculptor, best known for his erotica, in early 20th century Vienna, Austria, where antisemitism was widespread and openly expressed, and a popular cause for many political parties. This sculpture is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    Artwork Title
    Mercury the Jew
    creation:  approximately 1910-before 1935
    creation: Vienna (Austria)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    base, top, engraved : Bruno Zach
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Sculptor: Bruno Zach
    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
    Cast bronze sculpture of a slender, standing, male nude with sagging skin and a round bulging stomach that sticks out over his leaf covered genitals. He wears a bowl shaped, brimmed helmet with a wing on each top side and rope sandals with 2 wings around each ankle. He stands leaning back and to the right; his toes overlap, with the right foot flat, left heel up, knee bent. His long legs are bowed, framing his testicles when viewed from the back. He has exaggerated, stereotypical Jewish features: thick curly sidelocks and short beard, thick eyebrows over hooded eyes, and thick lips parted in a devious grin. His hands are raised, elbows bent, palms out and shoulder height, in a gesture used to deflect blame. He presses a caduceus, a rod entwined by snakes, against his left shoulder. The figure stands on a domed, semi-circular disk bolted to a circular, dark green and white swirled marble base.
    overall: Height: 15.250 inches (38.735 cm) | Width: 5.125 inches (13.018 cm) | Depth: 4.375 inches (11.113 cm)
    overall : bronze, marble, metal

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The sculpture 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 18:30:18
    This page:

    Download & Licensing

    In-Person Research

    Contact Us