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Het Committé van Uitgewekenen

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.371 a-b

This etching of the Committee for Refugees is the twelfth in the twenty plate series, Hollandia Regenerata. The series was originally illustrated by Swiss soldier and caricaturist, David Hess, as a satirical commentary on the newly created, French-supported Batavian Republic. The images were refined and etched by James Gillray, and published in 1796, likely by Hannah Humphrey of London, England. In December 1792, the French Republic decreed that it would declare the sovereignty of the people in nations it helped liberate. The Batavian Republic (now the Netherlands) was one such country, formed in January 1795. Prior to the successful revolution, several failed attempts had forced former combatants, known as Batavians, to flee as refugees. After 1795, many of these refugees returned looking for assistance, military positions, and other advantages provided by the Committee for Refugees. The print’s explanatory text suggests that if they are not needed to serve the Roman god of war, Mars, they are experienced in serving the god of deception and trickery, Mercury. To reinforce the theme, the image is framed by a man identified as a thief on the right, and a Jewish man identified as a tailor and broker on the left. Due to religious strictures regulating clothing, it was common for Jewish communities to have their own tailors. Economic and professional restrictions placed on early European Jews also forced many into occupations such as money changing or money lending. This added to the antisemitic stereotype of the greedy Jew who exploits Gentiles for their own economic advantage. They were perceived as morally deficient and willing to engage in unethical business practices. The etching is one of more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

Alternate Title
The Committee of Refugees
Series Title
Hollandia Regenerata
publication/distribution:  1796
publication: London (England)
depiction: Netherlands
Object Type
Etching (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
Record last modified: 2021-04-08 12:05:36
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