German church reinstates antisemitic ‘Jew-sow’ sculpture

Authorities say they want to treat object ‘critically’, but disagree over how


A German medieval church has reinstated an antisemitic sculpture depicting a Jewish male in an obscene pose with a pig after a local authority ruled that the object had protected status.

The church, in the town of Calbe, 45 miles northwest of Leipzig, is one of 30 religious buildings in Germany to have a Judensau – ‘Jew-sow’ – sculpture which dates back to the Middle Ages, when antisemitism was rife in the country.

After the carving was taken down to be restored, the parish decided in March that it was too offensive to return to the buttress and should be hung elsewhere.

But this move has been shelved after the listed buildings authority in the Salzland district decided the sculpture was part of  the history of St Stephen’s church history.

In a compromise, the sculpture was restored to its perch, but will remain covered up until the authority decides what to do with it.

Alfred Reichenberger of the Saxony Anhalt office for monument protection said: “Of course everyone involved is entirely clear that this is an abusive caricature that needs to be dealt with critically.

“There just seems to be disagreement about how to do that.”


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