Jüdisches Museum Frankfurt am Main

Animosity towards Jews

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Animosity towards Jews

This anti-Jewish fresco was created inside the northern tower of the Alte Brücke, the old bridge across the river Main, towards the end of the fifteenth century, and was repeatedly renovated until well into the eighteenth century.

It denigrates the Jews, dressed in the Frankfurt Jewish garb of the early eighteenth century, in the vilest man­ner. They are depicted eating faeces and drinking the milk of pigs (which are unclean according to Jewish tradition). The pig's uncleanliness is emphasized by having it eat faeces as well.

In the picture, the Jews are being egged on by the devil himself, who is portrayed with the same facial traits as the Jews, suggesting that the Jews are related to the devil. The goat, which the Jewish woman is holding by the horn, is also a satanic creature. The Frankfurt fresco combines widespread derogatory prejudices with the Blood Libel of ritual murder.

Johann Jacob Schudt (1664–1722), a Protestant theologian, orientalist and school rector in Frankfurt, wanted above all to see the Jews converted to Christianity.


Although he harboured all manner of anti-Jewish prejudices, he remained sceptical with regard to the Blood Libel accusing the Jews of ritual murder and the desecration of the Eucharistic Host. For all its short­comings, Schudt's “Merckwürdigkeiten” is a text that provides a number of invaluable insights into contemporary Jewish life in Frankfurt.

The alleged ritual murder of Simon of Trent, 1475. Woodcut by Michael Wolgemut in Hartmann Schedel's “Chronicle of the World” of 1493

The alleged ritual murder of Simon of Trent, 1475. Woodcut by Michael Wolgemut in Hartmann Schedel's “Chronicle of the World” of 1493


From the sixteenth century onwards, apart from the traditional anti-Jewish accusations of a religious nature, Jewish business success became the focus of charges of Jewish fraudulence and trickery against Christians.

This medallion claims that Jewish grain merchants are responsible for price rises. In the course of the centuries, these accusations imprinted a deeply negative view of Jews in the minds of the general population, providing fer­tile soil for the anti-Semitic movement of the nineteenth century and, later, for National Socialism.


Title page of Johann Christoph Georg Bodenschatz' work on the rites and customs of the German Jews (“Kirchliche Verfassung der heutigen Juden ...” Frankfurt, Leipzig and Erlangen 1748-49)

Title page of Johann Christoph Georg Bodenschatz' work on the rites and customs of the German Jews (“Kirchliche Verfassung der heutigen Juden ...” Frankfurt, Leipzig and Erlangen 1748-49)


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Last change: 2013, April 03





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