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Schwarzer Peter playing card deck with German social roles

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.132 a-w

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    Schwarzer Peter playing card deck with German social roles

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    Brief Narrative
    Deck of playing cards with a card featuring a dirty and unpleasant looking Jewish peddler labeled Jude. This deck of playing cards is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    creation:  approximately 1890-1900
    manufacture: Reutlingen (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Printer: Ensslin & Laiblin
    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

    Object Type
    Playing cards (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    a-w. 23 standard size playing cards, an incomplete deck of the game, Schwarzer Peter [Black Peter], with 11 suits of 2 cards and 1 suit of 1 card. Each card face has a color suit symbol in the top left and the term for a social type in black ink in the top right, above a unique color caricature of a person in a comical or traditional costume representing a German social role or profession. The card backs are blank. This is a card matching game where the person with an unmatched card at the end is the loser.
    a-b. Crossroads signpost 2 card suit, roles: Jude [Jew] and Handwerksbursche [Craftsman]; caricatures: traveling men carrying large bags and wearing similar clothes, the Jude is disheveled while the Handwerksbursche is neatly dressed.
    c-d. Medal and ribbon 2 card suit, roles: General [General] and Portier [Doorman]; caricatures: a pair of old men in fancy military style uniforms with bicornes and swords.
    e-f. Hand mirror 2 card suit, roles: Student [Student] and Stutzer [Dandy]; caricatures: a pair of foppish young men of leisure.
    g-h. Bugle 2 card suit, roles: Bänkelsängerin [Female minstrel] and Bankelsänger [Minstrel]; caricatures: a pair of singers in ragged clothes, the man also cranks a music box.
    i-j. Hunting horn 2 card suit, roles: Holzhaur [Woodcutter] and Förster [Forest ranger]; caricatures: a pair of working men, the Hozhaur carries an ax and the Förster carries a rifle and is accompanied by a hound.
    k-l. Binocular 2 card suit, roles: Engländer [Englishman] and Dame [gentlewoman]; caricatures: a pair of Victorian British travelers holding a telescope and a book, respectively.
    m-n. Hay bundle 2 card suit, roles: Bäuerin [Farmer’s wife] and Bauer [Farmer]; caricatures: an old woman and man carrying umbrellas.
    o-p. Pair of gloves 2 card suit, roles: Gärtner [Gardener] and Kellner [Waiter]; caricatures: a pair of bowing servants holding out flowers and a tea set, respectively.
    q-r. Skeleton key 2 card suit, roles: Hausknecht [Housekeeper] and Köchin [Cook, female]; caricatures: a pair of household servants wearing wrinkled aprons.
    s-t. Ax 2 card suit, roles: Feuerwehr [Firefighter] and Matrose [Sailor]; caricatures: a pair of middle aged men, the Feuerwehr carries a hatchet, the Matrose holds a pipe.
    u-v. Capital P 2 card suit, roles: Peter and Peterin; caricatures: a pair of black adults, the man dances and holds a smoking cigar, the woman wears a wedding dress and veil.
    w. Sack 1 card suit, role: Bettler [Beggar]; caricature: a man in torn clothing holding up an upside down hat. This suit is missing 1 card, which would feature Geiger [Fiddler], a man playing a fiddle.
    a-w: Height: 4.125 inches (10.477 cm) | Width: 2.625 inches (6.668 cm)
    overall : cardboard, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The deck of playing cards 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 18:12:38
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