German church covers antisemitic medieval sculpture

The antisemitic sculpture of a „Judensau” is covered but not removed by a German church in Brandenburg an der Havel.

A medieval antisemitic sculpture called the „Judensau” (Jew sow), which appears on the capital of a column in St. Peter and Paul cathedral in Brandenburg an der Havel in Germany, will be covered but not removed, reports The Jerusalem Post.

Church officials of the Evangelical Church Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia announced on their website on May 22 that the sculpture, which is carved into a column about two meters above the ground, will be permanently covered up.

The church claims that the removal of the sculpture was deemed impossible for structural reasons and because of the sculpture’s problematic terracotta material. However, a permanent form of visual elimination will remove the sculpture from sight, but it will still be available for historical engagement with this medieval form of Jew hatred, the church said.

Bishop Christian Staeblein, who is chairman of the church’s supervisory board, said that there was „neither any doubt about the antisemitic statement that emanates from this relief, nor about the guilt of the churches for actively promoting hatred of Jews and antisemitism,” adding that it is now his task „to deal with this heavy, shameful legacy in a conscious and appropriate manner.”

The sculpture dates from the 13th century, measures around 22 by 55 centimetres and shows a suckling pig with a human face and Jewish headgear. It appears on the cloister of the adjacent monastery building and not on the church itself. It is one of about two dozen similar sculptures from the Middle Ages that still feature in churches around Germany and elsewhere in Europe.