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Print of a Jewish miser hiding his gold

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.281

Black-and-white illustrated insert from the 1921 book, “Die Juden in der Karikatur: ein Beitrag zur Kulturgeschichte” [The Jews in Caricature: A Contribution to Cultural History]. Written by Eduard Fuchs, the book shows images featuring Jewish stereotypes to demonstrate the existence antisemitism in Europe. Markings on the object indicate the image is from the 17th century. However Philip Mercier likely created the original image in the mid-18th century. In the illustration, a Jewish miser is worriedly gathering his coins and locking them in a chest. The man has a beard and wears a kippah, a traditional Jewish head covering. Both are stereotypical features commonly attributed to Jewish men. A miser is a person who greedily hoards money, often to the detriment of themselves and others. However, the practice of hoarding money goes against the Jewish principle of giving charitable contributions to the less fortunate called “Tzedakah,” and there are several Jewish parables that warn against hoarding wealth. Misers are often portrayed as Jewish, and are frequently shown hoarding, counting, or handling money. This stereotype originated from the economic and professional restrictions placed on early European Jews. They were barred from owning land, farming, joining trade guilds, and military service. These restrictions forced many Jews into occupations such as money changing or money lending. Additionally, medieval religious belief held that charging interest (known as usury) was sinful, and the Jews who occupied these professions were looked down upon, predominantly by European Christians. They were perceived as morally deficient, greedy, and willing to engage in unethical business practices. The engraving is one of more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

Artwork Title
Der Judische Ceizhals
Alternate Title
The Jewish Miser
publication/distribution:  1921
publication: Munich (Germany)
Book illustrations.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
Record last modified: 2021-04-09 15:57:01
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