German church covers antisemitic sculpture it was forced to keep
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German church covers antisemitic sculpture it was forced to keep

Evangelical church’s pastor said his church didn’t want the relief to be reinstalled at all, but it was required because of legislation

The Judensau at Wittenberg. (Wittenberger Judensau (Wolfgang Meissner 1596. Source: German wikipedia, original upload 18. Jun 2005 by de:Benutzer:Finanzer )
The Judensau at Wittenberg. (Wittenberger Judensau (Wolfgang Meissner 1596. Source: German wikipedia, original upload 18. Jun 2005 by de:Benutzer:Finanzer )

A church in Germany was forced to keep an antisemitic gargoyle of a Jew kissing a pig’s rear end, so it did the next best thing: covered it up.

The Stephan Church in Calbe, a city situated some 80 miles southwest of Berlin, reinstalled the relief on its façade this week after it had been dismantled earlier in the year for restoration work, the Volksstimme newspaper reported Friday.

The evangelical church’s pastor, Jürgen Kohtz, said his church didn’t want the relief to be reinstalled at all, but it was required because of legislation that forbids the removal of any element in the building housing the church, which is a registered monument.

“This sculpture was meant as an insult to Jewish citizens,” Kohtz said.

The statue, which is believed to have been installed in the 15th century, was covered amid ongoing efforts to have it dismantled, the report said.

Dozens of antisemitic reliefs can be found in churches across Germany. One recurrent theme is the Jew Sow, featuring a female swine with Jews suckling from her udders.

German Jews and others have campaigned to have the antisemitic imagery removed, with limited success.

In February, a court in Karlsruhe rejected a motion to remove one Jew sow relief from a church in Wittenberg, near Berlin, where the theologian Martin Luther once preached.

The antisemitic figures installed at German churches are widely thought to have been inspired by Luther’s antisemitic attitudes.

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