Mel Wacks forwarded the following press release about Ben Weiss' article in the latest issue of The Shekel, Part Three of his
series on “Anti-Semitic Bigotry as Chronicled by Historical Medals“ in The Shekel. Thanks. -Editor
The Shekel Features 3-Part Article “Anti-Semitic Bigotry as Chronicled by Historical Medals“ by Dr. Benjamin Weiss
In his concluding remarks at the end of his comprehensive article “Anti-Semitic Bigotry as Chronicled by Historical Medals”--that was
serialized in the first three issues of The Shekel published in 2015--the author Dr. Benjamin Weiss states: “In reviewing the history of
intolerance against the Jewish people, as reflected in historical and commemorative medals, and the role medals have played in recording
and even promoting such religious bigotry, we find that a wide variety of anti-Semitic medals were produced as early as the 16th century
and continue into present times.
These medals were engraved by highly regarded medallists, using historically recognizable iconographies and often employing religious
passages taken directly from both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible as supportive evidence for the slander the medals portray. The
answer to the question of how anti-Semitic feelings have been perpetuated for centuries, having been passed down through generations and
generations of individuals throughout the world, is multifaceted. Partly, it appears to be through the informal indoctrination of children
through the telling and re-telling of anti-Semitic tales in the homes, and through formal religious literature of society.”
Over 70 pages in The Shekel were devoted to this book-length opus that began with Korn Jude medals in the late 17th century, which “were
distributed coincident with periods of rising food prices and famine and were designed to perpetuate the myth that the Jews were to blame
for these hardships and to portray Jews as diabolic speculators, particularly in grain crops.”
Hanging Korn Jude medal by Christian Wermuth, Germany, 1695.
Anti-Semitic medals were issued in Germany as part of the Nazi campaign of hate during the Holocaust. One of these, issued in 1939, was
titled “Why We Fight.” The obverse depicts a German soldier with industrial and agricultural workers, the legend reading (translated),
“Greater Germany Fights for Peace Against the Shame Treaty of Versailles.” On the reverse can be seen a large caricatured Jewish figure
wearing a Star of David, with flames behind him and images of money and weaponry before him, with the legend below reading, "For What
Do Our Enemies Fight.”
Why We Fight medal by unidentified medallist, Germany, 1939.
Anyone joining the American Israel Numismatic Association before the end of the year will receive all 2015 issues of The Shekel,
The Quarterly Journal of Israel and Jewish History and Numismatics, including the three issues containing Dr. Benjamin Weiss’ article
“Anti-Semitic Bigotry as Chronicled by Historical Medals,” along with other articles ranging from ancient Judaean coins to the coins,
medals and paper money of modern Israel, as well as articles about personalities such as electronics genius Charles Steinmetz and Dr. Jonas
Salk, plus much more. To join, send $25 ($35 overseas) annual dues to AINA, PO Box 20255, Fountain Hills, AZ 85269 or call (818)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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