Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Print from a German periodical depicting a Jewish peddler conversing with an older man

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.400

Full-page print from German humor magazine, Düsseldorfer Monathefte, with a satirical illustration and commentary on Jewish peddlers. This illustration is from 1853, printed in Volume 6, Issue 42 of the magazine, which was produced for 14 years in Düsseldorf, Germany. Satirical humor magazines that commented on social, economic, and political situations emerged in Europe during the mid-19th century and grew in circulation and popularity through the early 20th century. Peddlers were itinerant vendors who sold goods to the public. However, old prejudices formed an antisemitic stereotype of the Jewish peddler. The 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 limited Jews to the occupations of retail peddling, hawking, and moneylending. 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 and willing to engage in unethical business practices. The inability of Jews to legally hold other occupations, combined with Christians’ disdain for the professions Jews were allowed to practice, helped form the canard 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. This illustration is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

publication/distribution:  1853
publication: Dusseldorf (Germany)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
Record last modified: 2023-05-24 16:24:51
This page: