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October 13, 2016 4:37 pm

Ahead of Celebrations Marking 500th Anniversary of Protestant Reformation, Calls Made to Remove ‘Jewish Pig’ Sculpture From German Church Where Martin Luther Preached

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The 'Judensau' sculpture in question on the St. Mary's Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The ‘Judensau’ sculpture in question on the St. Mary’s Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Ahead of festivities next year to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, calls are being made to remove an antisemitic sculpture from the façade of a church in Wittenberg, Germany where Martin Luther preached, Christianity Today reported on Wednesday.

One outer corner of St. Mary’s Church, the report said, features a “14th-century sandstone sculpture of a pig with two people in identifiably medieval Jewish hats suckling at its teats and another holding a piglet’s ear.” Furthermore, “[a]n additional Jewish person lifts the tail while looking into the sow’s rear.”

Inscribed above the sculpture are the words “Rabini Shem Hamphoras” —  which Christianity Today called a “nonsensical reference to the Jewish appellation of God’s name, added after Luther’s time” that “quotes a derogatory comment in one of Luther’s writings.”

74-year-old Lutheran Sister Joela Krüger — described as a leader of the campaign to remove the sculpture from the church — was quoted as saying, “The Judensau (Jewish pig) grieves people because our Lord is blasphemed. And also the Jews and Israel are blasphemed by showing such a sculpture.”

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According to the report, around 30 such “Jewish pig” sculptures remain on churches around Europe, mostly in Germany.

Around 80,000 people visit St. Mary’s Church — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — annually, the report said, and the sculpture in question was recently cleaned up “as part of a 7.5-million-euro church restoration effort” in preparation for next year’s celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation that are expected to draw one million tourists to Wittenberg.

Luther — the initiator of the Protestan Reformation — sought “to suppress the Jews, to make Jewish life impossible [and] to expel them from the places where Christians live,” University of Göttingen Professor Thomas Kaufmann was quoted as saying. And in the 20th century, the report said, Nazi propagandists made use of Luther’s antisemitic sentiments.

In November 1988 — on the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht — the church installed a Holocaust memorial plaque “to counteract the ‘Judensau,’” the report noted.

A local German Jewish leader told Christianity Today that the sculpture should be kept on the church to remind people of antisemitism.

“We think that the sculpture represents a testimony of medieval thinking and Christian architectural tradition,” Max Privorozki, chairman of the executive committee of the association of Jewish communities in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, was quoted as saying. “There is no doubt that the 14th-century ‘Judensau’ sculpture at Wittenberg is unseemly, obscene, insulting, offensive, libelous, and a portrayal of hate speech and anti-Semitism and that it defames Jewish people and their faith. However, it should be seen within the context of the time period in which it was made.”

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  • Lancelot Blackeburne

    I agree with Max Privorozki, who is quoted as saying this sculpture needs to interpreted in the context of its time.

    Once you start sanitizing history to suit contemporary sensibilities, you have unleashed something uncontrollable. Give the Political Correctness thought police the power to rewrite history and remove historical artifacts and they will never stop.

  • mikey248

    This sculpture must not be removed.

    The anti-Semitic origins of Protestantism must remain as a reminder to Protestants of the direct line from their founder’s Jew-hatred to the Holocaust in Germany (Hitler used Luther’s writings in demonizing Jews)…and to Luther’s pathetic, weak ego, whereby he only became a Jew-hater when Jews rejected him and refused to follow him or pay him homage (just as with Mohammed and Haman) or to love his art (Hitler).

    This illustrates, in turn, that for all the excuses Muslims and Protestants have used over the centuries to justify their faith’s canonical anti-Semitism, the true origins of it are the pathetic weak egos of their founders.

  • meqmac

    The proper place for the sculpture is a museum. History must be respected, but not when it is so offensive, especially in an era when anti-Semitism in Europe is at almost unprecedented levels. In a mjusueum, with proper labelling and a board explaining it, it will serve well to teach young people just bhow ugly anti-Semitism is.

  • Deborah Pardo-Kaplan

    Please see original article by Deborah Pardo-Kaplan in Christianity Today to see full context. This “article” was taken without permission and not properly attributed.

  • EricB

    Leave it in place!

    Let the world see the seeds of the Holocaust. If not for the church-sponsored Jew-hatred of the middle-ages, European anti-semitism would not have flourished.

    As a matter of fact, all “Sunday school” attendees should be required to observe this bigoted obscenity and learn the real history of their church.

  • Art Frank

    For those of you who ask why Jews have been hated for centuries. It was the vile degenerates like luther and the popes who brainwashed millions of ignorant christians
    with lies about the Jews (i.e collective guilt for killing jc, blood libels, money lending, causing wars, ad nauseum) The results: murders of millions of innocent Jews during the crusades, the inquisition, pogroms, the Holocaust, etc. It continues today with Jew hatred by brainwashed ignorant muslims and continues with the many gentiles programmed through the generations to hate Jews.

  • geoffrey ben-nathan

    The sculptures of the “Judensau” should definitely NOT be removed. Jews, Judaism and the Jewish state can well cope with the insult and defamation they are intended to convey.
    But can the German Luther Protestant Church ?
    Let them not be whitewashed of their appalling history.

    • CelestialChoir

      The United States also has an appalling history, filled with genocide, slavery–of various kinds–displacement of native populations, religious persecution and systematic discrimination and disenfranchisement of many ethnic and gender groups. But we still insisted that the Confederate flag be removed as a symbol from public places of government. The Confederate flag belongs in museums and historical collections, just like the Judenraus pig needs to be placed in museums and historical art galleries, especially those dedicated to medieval civilization.

      Removal of Confederate flags does not whitewash the horrendous history of the American South; but it does respect the fact that the symbol is too
      repulsive to be tolerated by most Americans today, especially on municipal, county, state or federal government property.

      Another reason for removing the Judenraus pig is the fact that not only
      “church members” attend churches. Many Jewish music majors regularly
      sing in churches to gain valuable choral experience, just as many Christian musicians are keyboard musicians at local synagogues and shuls. Some Jewish people sing in Black Gospel church choirs; still others perform
      in Black Gospel choirs that meet in churches. Christian singers typically staff synagogue choirs and provide soloists for the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur liturgies.

      Many Jewish instrumentalists regularly perform in early music ensembles
      and staff the orchestras for performances of Handel’s “Messiah” and Bach’s “Magnificat” every Christmas and Easter season; still other Jewish vocalists and musicians perform Renaissance and Baroque motets and cantatas year round at churches and cathedrals, as well as during liturgical feast days, such as Pentecost.

      No Jewish musician should have to “look past” some ugly, demonic-looking
      symbol of vitriolic anti-semitism as they pass through the portals of a house of Christian worship. I have never seen any synagogue or worshiped in one that that featured nasty sculptures that depicted animals design to “demean the schwartzes.” No member, gabbai or synagogue official ever
      had to apologize to me or explain “why we keep that Aunt Jemima carving
      near the east cornice so that we don’t forget how Black people were
      historically oppressed in the United States.”

      Many Jews visit churches–just as many Christians visit synagogues–for worship services, special days, family life-cycle events, picnics/barbecues holiday concerts or just the simple joy of “visiting my neighbors.” Sometimes churches and synagogues plan ecumenical events, choir exchanges, interfaith services, Passover Seders/Paschal celebrations, and fellowship dinners. Sometimes folks just slip into a church or synagogue just to have a quiet place to pray or “get away from it all for awhile.”

      Why should ANY visitor, worshiper or participant have to walk
      past some vulgar horrific symbol that portrays any ethnic group as “odious”? Christian parents are supposed to tell their children that
      “Jesus died for everybody” but “we keep that filthy anti-semitic pig up
      there to remind us to love Jewish people”? Really?

      Why should any member of a church be forced to “explain” any carving that not only demeans human beings created in the imago Dei, but one
      that blasphemes the very Jewish flesh of Emanu-El–“God with us?”
      Pardon my skepticism, but I fail to see how John 3:16 is best served by
      pagan images of stereotyped Jewish humans sniffing porcine rectums and suckling porcine breast structures.

      Sister Joela Kruger is right–this vulgar, vile carving–while “historic” and representative of medieval European anti-semitism at its worst–should get the SAME treatment Jewish populations got by the hordes of the Euro-heathens: thresh it into powder or throw it into a kiln. Then REPLACE the
      Judenraus hog with some other suitable art–a Star of David or other
      classic BIBLICAL symbol–and mount THAT on the church wall.

      If Isaiah could see a day when we would beat our swords into plowshares,
      we can surely beat down putrid pig sculptures and use the powder to
      mold INSPIRING works of art that UPLIFT–instead of mock and denigrate–those who visit the church or pass its portals to find some peace.

  • Reggie Green

    They can move all the statues they want, but it won’t change tge fact that Martin Luther was a miserable Jew hater

    • Deborah Pardo-Kaplan

      Please see original article by Deborah Pardo-Kaplan in Christianity Today for full context. This “article” had no original reporting and was completely lifted from my article.

    • Martial

      In the context of his time, Luther was about like everyone else, when he was at his absolute worst. His opponent, Eck, actually claimed to have witnessed a Jewish killing of a Christian for Passover.

  • cbusa

    That explains why so many Protestant churches are so anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. I did not realize Protestantism was built on a foundation of Jew-hatred. What about those supposed Christian values of love and compassion?

    • CelestialChoir

      I never heard any of this anti-Semitic, anti-Israel crap growing up in the Black Pentecostal church. Millions of us Black Christians had no acquaintance with
      European “blood libel” concepts; “judenraus pigs;” or “blame the Jews” theologies. These unbiblical, anti-Christian hate doctrines are European
      inventions, and represent the European obsession with destroying
      Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jewish communities.

    • Martial

      Luther lived centuries ago. Nothing the man said would have effected the Anti-Israel stances of Protestant churches today. Luther removed the Brand of Cain disability, which St. Augustine put in place to prevent mass slaughter of Jews when his lived. This act of Luther was followed by the Council of Trent, which said that all, not just Jews, were responsible for Christ’s death. The end of Luther’s life was marked by nasty disease & paranoia. To see that, evaluate his second introduction to the Koran, penned about the same time as The Jews & Their Lies. There was no straight line between Luther & the WWII Germans; far more important in that respect was a German named Johann Andreas Eisenmenger, who spent two decades looking through the Talmud to find means to declaim it heinous.

  • CelestialChoir

    I do not agree that this blasphemous statue be left on any church. It should be removed and placed in a museum of medieval history and artifacts. All these pigs need to be removed immediately.

    I would not want to see a reproduction of the Dutch slave ship blasphemously entitled “JESUS” attached or affixed to the exterior of my church. My African ancestors brought their Judeo-Christian faith with them in those wretched slave ships, and that faith flourished even under the worst circumstances. And NO, we did not need the greedy rapist slavers and Euro-masters to teach us ANYTHING about the Bible–a book NONE of them bothered to read or OBEY.

    I take it that Luther and many other “theologians” did not get the memo that
    Yeshua and his family was JEWISH; the disciples were HEBREWS; the New Testament has only one Gentile writer (Luke)–all the rest were JEWS.

    Take the stupid “Judensau” pigs down and throw them on the trash heap where
    they belong!

  • watsa46

    So here is at least one evidence of the commonality between Protestants and Muslims! The pig.

  • Efram Paul

    Well, if it is a UNESCO shrine, there is a 0% chance of it ever being removed.

  • Sifter

    So the Nun wants to take it down cuz she loves Jews, and the Jew wants to keep it as a teaching moment. And you wonder why we are so F&@#$!d.

  • Reb_Yaakov

    Hopefully, the day will soon come when Judeophobia will disappear and when pigs will no longer be viewed pejoratively but rather as one of Hashem’s beautiful creations. At least Jews don’t eat pigs and contribute to the tremendous suffering they endure under current factory farm conditions. I would much rather be compared to a pig than to those who depreciate and abuse them.