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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg 2021

Spa Antisemitism in Bohemia and Moravia

Eva Janáčová

Abstract

This study is devoted to the phenomenon of ‘spa antisemitism’ in Bohemia and Moravia from the end of the nineteenth century to the 1930s. This developed most intensively in the West Bohemian spas, specifically in Karlsbad and Marienbad, although it also appeared in Luhačovice in Moravia. The latent spa antisemitism manifested itself visually above all in picture postcards, but also in the field of newspaper cartons, and eventually even influenced the form of small figurines, sculptural groups and practical items. Most of the creators of these artefacts remained anonymous, with a couple of exceptions dating from later times. In the case of all the Jewish figures portrayed, the typical feature was a stereotypically conceived physiognomy and a striking gesture tinged with emotion. Their iconographical repertoire was deliberately limited to two basic types: the poor East European Jew and the fat assimilated Jew. The diversity of Jewish spa visitors was deliberately suppressed and replaced by a simplified dual lens. The picture of Jewish visitors to the spa and of Jews generally was deliberately caricatured. The popular iconographic antisemitism of the time, portraying Jews as something totally different, alien and above all hostile, was concealed under the guise of humour.

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston