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Painting of three older Jewish men having a chat outdoors

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.284

Oil painting of three Jewish men, dressed in black, standing together and talking made during the 19th century in Bohemia. The men have large noses and long beards, two stereotypical physical features commonly attributed to Jewish men. Two of the men are gesticulating with their hands as they speak, a trait commonly associated with Jews. The third man is leaning back on an umbrella. Jewish peddlers, who spent most of their time outdoors often carried umbrellas, and over time they became associated with Jews. The black clothing conforms to the Jewish concept of tzniyus (modest dress and behavior), which Orthodox Jews adhere to for religious reasons. All three men wear a long black suit-style jacket, either a “rekel” or a “bekishe,” with brimmed hats. Men traditionally wear the fancier bekishe on special occasions such as Jewish holidays, weddings or on the Sabbath. The simpler rekel is worn on an everyday basis. In Orthodox Judaism, only men can wear brimmed hats. Jewish boys receive their first hat following their bar mitzvah, when they are ready to observe religious laws and are eligible to take part in public worship. Due to their clothing and other distinctive practices, Hasidic Jews were easy targets for the Nazis and their collaborators. A large number of Hasidic leaders and their followers were killed during the Holocaust. The painting is one of more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

Artwork Title
Three Jews with Umbrellas having a 'Shmuss'
creation:  approximately 1801-approximately 1899
creation: Bohemia (Czech Republic)
Oil paintings.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 18:12:45
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