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Cast metal bottle opener with a Fagin shaped handle

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.143

Bottle opener with a cast brass handle shaped like Fagin, a devil-like Jewish criminal from the novel, Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens, 1837-39. 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 bottle opener is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

Date
approximately 1885-approximately 1935  (manufacture)
Geography
manufacture : England
Classification
Household Utensils
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
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Record last modified: 2018-10-24 14:08:13
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn538240