What kind of anti-Semitism did there be in Germany a few years before the First World War?

In my hometown of Hameln, I once visited an exhibition entitled “Stamped – Anti-Jewish Postcards”.Most of the specimens on display were from before the First World War.

Suffice it to say that anti-Semitism was an issue even then.It was rather casual, more about “funny” stereotypes and less rooted in actual hatred or racist-genetic ideology, but it still formed the basis for the terrible things that are to come.

Let me share some examples with you:

A postcard from 1903.

The caption at the bottom left reads “Greetings from the physical examination.” The upper left heading reads “Being roasted by the corporate matron – every recruit’s dream,” on the right is “Little Cohn and the beautiful audit officials.”

Little Cohn was a racist running man in imperial Germany.He showed a caricature of a small, statured Jew who constantly finds himself in funny and/or embarrassing situations when he chases German women. Here the German recruits are shouted at by a large matron, while little Cohn enjoys the beautiful girls during his physical activity.

From about 1900.

The headline reads (and rhymes in German): “The needs of this world! One owns the purses and the other owns the money! “.

Two Jewish stereotypes are depicted – the Eastern Jew (a newly immigrated Jew from Eastern Europe) on the left and an established German Jew on the right.The first sentence is intentionally ambiguous in German. “Cross” can mean both “cross” (in this case the Christian symbol) and “need”, which indicates that everything that has to do with money is in Jewish hands and not in those of the Christian Germans.

“The Almond Tree and its Fruits” from around 1900.

“Mandelbaum” is a Jewish surname (and a Jewish stereotype in itself) that also means Mandelbaum in German.

His fruits are his many Jewish children, who dance happily around their well-dressed father and spread the myth of the rich Jew who can afford a large happy family because he has robbed the Germans of their wealth.

“Greetings from Karlovy Vary” from 1911.

Karlovy Vary is a spa town in Germany, which in this picture is mainly visited by Jews (you read the stock market news).

This, of course, plays back with the stereotype of the capitalist rich Jew, rich enough to enjoy the beautiful things in life.

The “Greetings from …” – Postcards were very popular, and you can find them from many cities, which usually depict Jewish caricatures in various “sarcastic” situations.

“From Vulture to Meier” from 1902.

I don’t think this needs to be explained very much, apart from the fact that “Meier” is a very common German surname and the headline rhymes in German again.

“Die 5 Frankfurter” (1905).

The sons of the banker Amschel Meyer Rothschild were called the 5 Frankfurters, and the map implies that the entire city of Frankfurt is ruled by Jews.

Captions from top to bottom:

“Sally Cohn – Lieutenant (written with a Yiddish pronunciation) of the 1st Jewish Infantry Regiment” Plattfu脽 “”


Itzig B盲r – Professor of the Jewish University of Frankfurt am Main “

“Moses Star – Student of Hebrew”

“Aron Salomon – Mayor of the City”

“Hirsch Levy – Postmaster”

If you can read German and/or want to see other examples of anti-Semitism in imperial Germany, I suggest that you look at this PDF in which I took the most pictures:


You can also visit the current exhibition if you ever have the opportunity to do so.

And as a last disclaimer: I posted these pictures to answer the question, and I can, support or do not want to promote any of the stereotypes shown above.

In fact, it is disgusting to see that many of them are still being passed around in the 21st century.

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