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Antisemitic postcard of a stereotypical Jewish man with an anti-Jewish flag

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.525

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    Antisemitic postcard of a stereotypical Jewish man with an anti-Jewish flag


    Brief Narrative
    Antisemitic early 20th century American postcard mailed from New York City to its intended recipient in New Jersey, and bears postmarks from September 22, 1906. The postcard, "Our Flag", depicts a stereotypical Jewish man holding a flag with anti-Jewish imagery. He has an unkempt beard and hair, bushy eyebrows, big, pointed ears, and fleshy lips; all stereotypical physical features commonly attributed to Jewish men. Peddlers were itinerant vendors who sold goods to the public. They usually traveled alone and carried their goods with them as they went. Clothes peddlers dealt in old garments they bought, cleaned and repaired, and then sold for profit. Peddling was a common occupation for Jewish men during the 18th and 19th centuries. 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. The print is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    copyright:  1906
    use:  1906 September 22
    publication: United States
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    front, center, on cart, printed, white : OLD CLOTHES / OLD GOLD / OLD SILVER
    front, center, below flaming building, printed, black ink: OUR FRIEND
    front, center, below building and fire wagon, printed, black ink: OUR / ENEMY
    front, left center, printed, black ink : "OUR FLAG"
    front, left, printed, black ink : 365 Copyrighted 1906 by F. W. Dunbar
    back, top center, printed, brown ink: PostCard / THIS SIDE FOR THE ADDRESS
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Illustrator: F.W. Dunbar
    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

    Information Forms
    Physical Description
    Sepia-toned postcard featuring a large, fluttering flag covered with images referencing Jews and Jewish stereotypes. In the center of the flag is the head of a Jewish man with stereotypical features: an unkempt beard and hair, bushy eyebrows, big, pointed ears, and fleshy lips, which are open in laughter. Large, grasping, wing-like hands extend from the sides of his head, which rests upon a peddler's cart with a pair of scissors and several English language labels about old clothing and precious metals. To the left of the cart is a burning building, and to the right is a building with a fire wagon in front. Both images appear over captions, which possibly reference arson as a way to get insurance or as an excuse to have a fire sale to boost business. Across the top is a clothesline bearing jackets and trousers. The flag has a border of diamonds and flowers with Star of David centers and three brimmed hats in each corner. To the left of the flag, a caricature of an unpleasant looking, stereotypical Jewish man holds the flag pole and has a caption above his head. Manufacturing information is printed along the left end, and a handwritten inscription is recorded above the flag in black ink. On the back, a recipient’s address has been recorded in cursive and the postcard was mailed to this individual. The one cent stamp, featuring Ben Franklin, has been canceled and there are several postmarks on the back from September 22, 1906.
    overall: Height: 3.500 inches (8.89 cm) | Width: 5.500 inches (13.97 cm)
    overall : paper, ink
    front, top, cursive, black ink : Guess the sender.
    back, center, cursive, black ink : Mr. Frank Kunz / 709 High St. / West Hoboken / N.J. / ℅ Mrs. Graf.
    back, top center, stamped, black ink, postal cancellation stamps : [illegible]
    back, bottom center, stamped, black ink, postal cancellation stamp : NEW YORK, N.Y. STA. G 1906 / SEP 22/ 12:30AM

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    United States.

    Administrative Notes

    The postcard 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:
    2023-03-27 12:55:53
    This page:

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