“Judensau” sculptures are anti-semitism hewn in stone.
The motive can be found almost exclusively in the German speaking area starting in the 13th century. Despite pigs being regarded as unclean in Judaism, it was falsely said that Jews sucked on a sow like piglets. This depiction was intended to cause revulsion and disdain towards Jews, and to attack Judaism. In Christian art, the pig mainly represents the devil. Therefore, it was claimed that Jews were in league with the devil, that they were “nourished” by him, and that they received his teachings.
This sculpture was installed at the Cathedral in the 14th century opposite the Jewish living quarter. It shows men sucking on the teats of a sow, and talking into her ear. The men are identified as Jews by their “Jewish hats”.
This inhuman propaganda was used to declare Jews enemies of Christianity. This way, hate against them was stoked for centuries. The consequences were exclusion, persecution, even murder.
Today this sculpture is meant to remind all people to take action against any form of propaganda, hate, exclusion, and anti-semitism.
Further information on the history of the Jewish community in Regensburg can be found here: https://www.bavarikon.de/judaism-regensburg
Abusive sculptures from the High Middle Ages can be found on numerous churches and non-church buildings, especially in Germany. In these depictions, Jews were associated with pigs, regarded as unclean in Judaism, and defamed in a derogatory manner. There are about a dozen such sculptures in Bavaria, the respective properties belong to different owners.
On the initiative of the State Commissioner against Anti-Semitism, Dr. Spaenle, a round table with representatives of the Jewish communities, the two Christian churches, state institutions and specialised authorities agreed on how to deal with the anti-Semitic defamatory sculptures. All participants agreed not to remove the anti-Semitic depictions, but to describe and clearly evaluate them on the spot. More detailed information – accessible via QR code – is part of the concept, as is the training of staff who offer guided tours of the city and churches.
The information board at Regensburg Cathedral was coordinated at the suggestion of Dr. Spaenle together with the Jewish community, the diocese of Regensburg, the Free State of Bavaria as owner (represented by the building authority and the State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments) as well as with specialist historians.