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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 1, 2013

Das Bild vom ›Kornjuden‹ als Antifigur zum frühneuzeitlichen Prinzip der ›guten narung‹ und der ›moral economy‹

Robert Jütte
From the journal Aschkenas

Abstract: Subsistence crises due to famine occurred frequently in early modern Europe. A poor harvest caused by rainy weather was often the trigger for such disaster. But people also looked for scapegoats who could be blamed for the shortage of grain. From the seventeenth century onwards the so-called »corn Jew« became a popular stereotype in diatribes which often had an anti-Jewish undertone. Concomitantly, a new type of anti-Semitic medal made its appearance. These were the so-called »Korn Jude« (Corn or Grain Jew) medals. Most of these medals were struck in Germany and were issued in various forms over a period of almost a century. Two artists seem to have turned the creation of such medals into a veritable hallmark: Christian Wermuth (1661–1739) and, a little later, Johann Christian Reich (1740–1814). This article discusses how the distribution and circulation of the »Korn Jude« medals coincided with periods of rising food prices and famine. It will be shown that these medals were designed to perpetuate the myth about the Jews’ responsibility for these hardships and to portray the Jew as a diabolic speculator, particularly in the grain market. They reflect, however, also older traditions of religious intolerance.

Online erschienen: 2013-12-1
Erschienen im Druck: 2013-12-1

© De Gruyter 2014