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ANTI-SEMITIC BIGOTRY AS CHRONICLED BY HISTORICAL MEDALS


 

A medal which stands in stark contrast to that commemorating the expulsion of Jews was issued in the Netherlands; namely, one that celebrates the repeal of the edict expelling Jews from Prague (figure 29).

Based on the trumped-up charge that the Jews were collaborating with foreigners, in 1744, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria expelled all the Jews from Prague and the rest of Bohemia. Protests from several countries convinced the Empress to revoke the edict. This medal celebrates the successful intervention of the Jewish communities of Europe against the expulsion edict issued by Maria Theresa.

The obverse displays the Empress sitting on her throne, with figures of Love and Justice on either side. She is shown handing down the repeal of the edict expelling Jews from Prague. A warrior pleads the cause of a rabbi standing behind. The Latin legend may be translated as "Exile Threatened;" below is a variation of the quotation from 1 Samuel 22:15, “May the Queen not suspect her loyal subjects of such things in such a way,” referring to the false accusation that the Jews had betrayed Prague to the Prussians. The reverse shows the temple of Jerusalem with the symbolic burning of the original Edict of Expulsion of Jews from Prague. Coats of arms adorn the facade in honor of the countries protesting the edict. The legend (translated) reads: “Decree Revoked” and a rephrase of the quotation from Esther 9:28 “These are the days that should be remembered by all generations in every country throughout the world” (From Friedenberg).

 Repeal of Edict Expelling Jews from Prague Medal
Figure 29. Repeal of Edict Expelling Jews from Prague Medal

N. van Swinderen, Holy Roman Empire, Silver struck medal, 1745. 65 mm. Ref: Van Loon 205 (Image courtesy of Busso Peus Nacht.)

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