| JEWISH-AMERICAN HALL OF FAME • JEWISH MUSEUM IN CYBERSPACE
ANTISEMITIC BIGOTRY AS CHRONICLED BY HISTORICAL MEDALS
Figure 32 shows a medal issued in France about 1890 during the 3rd republic, in support of an anti-Jewish alliance. It presents on the obverse a scene of a Jew holding a money bag, who is cowering on the ground while a man with his foot on him is beating him with a switch; a star above and a rising sun and church is seen in the background. Above is written, translated from the French: "In France, the French." The inscription below: "Always!! That Is Always the Enemy!!!."We know the figure on the ground is a Jew because he is labeled LE JUIF (the Jew). (Further evidence that antisemitism is entrenched in French culture is provided by the fact that the French word juif is defined in The New Cassell’s French Dictionary as a "grasping usurer").
The reverse shows clasped hands from heaven in front of a globe surmounted by a cross. The inscription, loosely translated from the French, reads: "The Jewish People Stripped Us and Want to Enslave Us. So Let Us Unite Against Him and Especially Avoid Him; It Is Our Sacred Duty," and below, "Anti-Jewish Alliance." Above is the legend, Garde a Vous! (Be on Guard!)
Figure 32. Propaganda Medal in Support of an Anti-Jewish
Alliance in France
Unknown medallist, France, ca. 1890, silvered bronze struck medal with suspension loop, 31 mm. (Image courtesy of Busso Peus Nacht.)
It is perhaps no coincidence that this antisemitic medal was issued at about the same period as that of the Dreyfus Affair of 1894.
Alfred Dreyfus was a French artillery officer of Jewish background, who was accused of conspiracy and espionage, and whose trial and conviction in 1894 on charges of treason became one of the most tense political dramas in modern French history. Known today as the Dreyfus Affair, the incident was widely regarded as an antisemitic act perpetrated by the French military brass to protect one of its own members. Dreyfus was summarily convicted in a secret court martial, publicly stripped of his army rank, and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil's Island in French Guiana. Championed by leading artists and intellectuals like Émile Zola, after years in confinement, Dreyfus was finally released from prison in 1899, but it was not until 1906 that he was officially exonerated by a military commission and readmitted into the army. However, when Dreyfus’ reinstatement
© 2000-2011 Jewish-American Hall of Fame © 2012-2015 American Numismatic Society All Rights Reserved by Benjamin Weiss