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Behind the Aegis

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'Lucky Jew' Statues: Are Polish Figurines A Symptom Of Anti-Semitism Or Just In Bad Taste?

WARSAW, Poland -- Shortly after receiving a sneak peek of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews (there are no exhibits yet: the museum is to open to the public in 2014), I walked along the cobblestone streets of the Old Town section of Warsaw for some sightseeing, when something caught my eye.

A shopkeeper was selling the souvenir staples: long Polska scarves for the chilly Polish winters, Poland magnets, and untraditional tourist fare like a statue of what, at first glance, appeared to be an innocuous, even cute, depiction of a religious Jew. At first I thought maybe my family back home would enjoy it.

Then I looked closer. The Jew, wearing a yarmulke and tallit, had a large, hooked nose. In his hand was a shiny coin.

This was disturbing to me, especially just after hearing of the tales of Jews sent to concentration camps and the remnants of the Warsaw Ghetto who died fighting -- due in part to the stereotypes that I saw on the figures. Who buys these things, I wondered? As it turns out, Poles do. Tourists do. Even the head of the Anti-Defamation League. (All for different reasons.)

more: http://www.ibtimes.com/lucky-jew-statues-are-polish-figurines-symptom-anti-semitism-or-just-bad-taste-photo-1320991#


I think this surpasses "bad taste" and is an expression of anti-Semitism. Given Poland's history of Jew hate, I can't say I am terribly surprised.

ETA photo:

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Wed Jun 26, 2013, 02:08 AM (6 replies)
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