JEWISH-AMERICAN HALL OF FAME • JEWISH MUSEUM IN CYBERSPACE
ANTI-SEMITIC BIGOTRY AS CHRONICLED BY HISTORICAL MEDALS


 


OTHER MEDALS RELATED TO THE SUBJUGATION OF JEWS

As mentioned earlier, anti-Semitic acts may be divided into different stages: slurs, insults and humiliations; forced conversions; physical punishments; confinement to ghettos; mass expulsion and relocation; and mass slaughter. Commemorative and historical medals exist which dramatize each of these types of acts. Some of these have already been discussed. What follows is a discussion of medals related to the confinement of Jews to ghettos, their expulsion from their homelands and their slaughter during the Holocaust in the period of Nazi Germany.



MEDALS RELATED TO REGULATING THE MOVEMENT OF JEWS:
GHETTOS AND EXPULSION

The mass relocation of Jews has taken place in virtually every country in Europe for hundreds of years. The first step generally was to confine Jews to specific areas of a city, the Ghetto, the word originating from the name of the Jewish quarter in Venice, established in 1516, where the Venetian authorities compelled the city's Jews to live. By the 16th and 17th centuries, dozens of Jewish ghettos existed not only throughout Europe, but in Africa and Asia as well. Some of the more well-known include the Roman Ghetto, created in 1555 by Pope Paul IV. It confined the Jews of Rome to live in a four-block area near the Tiber River, a section of the city that was subject to regular flooding. In Venice, Jews were locked up at night behind gates in a small section of the city. This Ghetto was abolished after the fall of the Republic of Venice to Napoleon. During World War II the Germans established over 1000 ghettos in Poland and the Soviet Union. The most infamous of these Jewish Ghettos was the Warsaw Ghetto, the largest ghetto in all of Nazi occupied Europe, with over 400,000 Jews crammed into an area of about one square mile. The segregation of the Jewish population in Eastern Europe, however, was predated by several centuries by a prominent ghetto in Frankfurt Am Main, Germany. This ghetto, shown in a map printed in 1628 (Figure 26), was known as the Judengasse (Jews’ Alley).

Shabbatai Tzvi Medal
Figure 26. The Judengasse (Jew’s Alley)

Frankfurt city map of 1628, showing the curved Judengasse (from Jüdisches Kulturmuseum)

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