Saxony-Anhalt: work of art against abusive sculpture at the Zerbster church

The ruins of the Church of St.

Saxony-Anhalt: work of art against abusive sculpture at the Zerbster church

The ruins of the Church of St. Nicolai in Zerbst are not far from Wittenberg. Both are cities where there have been anti-Jewish abusive sculptures since the Middle Ages. In Zerbst, the so-called Judensau is to be opposed to another classification. With the help of an artist.

Zerbst (dpa/sa) - The Protestant parish of St. Nicolai and St. Trinitatis in Zerbst wants to set a visible sign against anti-Semitism with a work of art. In the immediate vicinity of the anti-Jewish abusive sculpture, the "Judensau", which has been located on a pillar of today's ruins of the Church of St. Nicolai since 1450, the counter-memorial is to be erected, according to a spokesman for the Evangelical Church in Anhalt.

The Zerbst parish had announced an artistic competition for this. The monument should be positioned in the immediate vicinity of the abusive sculpture and counter it with its own message, it said. From the ten drafts submitted, the jury, made up of representatives of the parish, the St. Nicolai Association, the Anhalt Evangelical Church and the Zerbst City Museum, selected a draft by Hans-Joachim Prager from Wernau (Baden-Württemberg). The artist was born in Dessau, not far from Zerbst, in 1952.

Anti-Jewish sculptures such as the so-called Judensau have existed in several churches in Germany since the Middle Ages. The discussion about how to deal with it today caused a stir with a relief on the town church of Wittenberg. The theologian Martin Luther (1483-1546) preached there. According to historians, the reformer has been criticized for anti-Semitic statements.

In June of this year, the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) decided in the long legal dispute of a plaintiff that the floor slab - the memorial installed in 1988 - and a display with explanatory text in front of the church were sufficient to turn the "shame" into a "memorial". close. It can stay.

A panel of experts recommended that the Evangelical parish of Wittenberg remove the sculpture as soon as possible. According to historians, the relief made of sandstone, which was created in the Middle Ages, shows a sow whose teats are being sucked by two people who are supposed to be identified as Jews by their pointed hats. A figure believed to be a rabbi raises the animal's tail and looks into the anus. In the Jewish faith, pigs are considered unclean.

In August of this year, the evangelical town church community in Wittenberg decided that the anti-Jewish insulting relief on Luther's sermon church would initially receive a new explanatory text as a clear sign against anti-Semitism. For the first time, the Jewish people will be asked for forgiveness on the new plaque, the spokesman said.

Compared to the previous text, the Wittenberg community is clearly opposed to anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism. According to the Evangelical Church of Anhalt, there has been an information board under the abusive sculpture on the church ruins of St. Nicolai in Zerbst since the beginning of 2022. It was still an open question when the counter-monument designed by the artist to the sculpture should be erected.