Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Bronze figurine of two Jewish men standing in conversation

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.149

Small bronze figurine of two Jewish men with several stereotypical physical features commonly attributed to Jewish men: large noses, sidelocks, and beards. They are wearing caftans (kaftans) belted by wide sashes at the waist. A caftan is a long-sleeved, ankle-length coat with an open-cut at the front. Many Eastern Polish and Western Russian Jews began wearing caftans fastened with wide, oriental-style sashes in the late medieval period. The garb later spread to Central Europe, but in place of the sash, a cord was used to close the front of the garment instead. These garments were often worn by peddlers, itinerant vendors who traveled the countryside and sold goods to the public. However, old prejudices stemming from the economic and professional restrictions placed on early European Jews, along with Christians’ disdain for the professions Jews were allowed to practice, formed an antisemitic stereotype of the greedy Jew who exploited Gentiles. This canard was often visually depicted as a Jewish peddler, an untrustworthy figure that sold cut-rate items at inflated prices. Both caftans and wide sashes were featured prominently in antisemitic depictions of Eastern European Jews. This figurine is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

creation:  1850-1900
creation: Austria
Decorative Arts
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
Record last modified: 2021-04-08 12:05:36
This page: