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Carved plaquette modeled after the Frankfurt Judensau mural

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.212

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    Carved plaquette modeled after the Frankfurt Judensau mural

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    Brief Narrative
    The carved plaquette was modeled after the infamous Frankfurt Judensau, a mural painting that was located in the passageway of the Old Bridge in Frankfurt until its demolition in 1801. It depicts the mural painting's central scene: a Jewish man riding a female pig while a second Jew kneeling behind him eats his excrement and a third Jew lying below sucks its teats. Pigs are deemed “unclean” in the Book of Leviticus, and widely known as a non-kosher animal, meaning that Jews do not consider them fit for consumption. Knowing of this prohibition, antisemites weaponized pigs for use against Jews. Pork products have been thrown into or at synagogues, and force-fed to Jews on pain of death. Jews have been called the descendants of apes and pigs, and accused of associating with and worshiping pigs. The depiction of Jews with pig-like features, or in close and often lewd contact with pigs is also a common antisemitic image that can be traced back to the medieval Germanic kingdoms. The original motif, called a Judensau, depicted several Jews in indecent contact with a female pig, and was originally displayed in churches, and later disseminated to the public through other mediums such as art, woodcuts, and figurines. Over time the depiction evolved, and new motifs of Jews riding swine, consuming the wrong parts of the pig, or being consumed by a pig were produced. The plaquette is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    creation:  approximately 1601-approximately 1800
    creation: Germany
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    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

    Identifying Artifacts
    Physical Description
    Thin, cream-colored, oval-shaped, carved plaque, likely antler, depicting a Judensau-style scene set into a silver-colored metal frame. The image depicts a large, left-facing sow eating human excrement and being ridden by a heavily bearded Jewish man while two other bearded Jewish men carry out bestial acts. The rider wears a large, brimmed hat, glasses, and a cape bearing a small, ring-shaped badge marking him as Jewish. He sits on the animal’s back, facing the rear-end and pulling up on the long tail, as though it is a bridle. The second man, also in a brimmed hat, kneels on the ground just behind the animal’s exposed hindquarters and leans forward to consume a stream of excrement. The third man, in a loose-fitting tunic with another ring-shaped badge, is on the ground, his head beneath the sow so he can suckle at its teats. The surface has some darker brown areas and is worn smooth from handling, with small cracks throughout. The sides of the metal frame are engraved with a decorative pattern, and there is a suspension hole at the top.
    overall: Height: 4.250 inches (10.795 cm) | Width: 3.125 inches (7.938 cm) | Depth: 0.500 inches (1.27 cm)
    overall : antler, metal

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The plaquette 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:
    2024-02-21 07:11:14
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