BERLIN ( Associated Press) — A German federal court has rejected a Jewish man’s request to remove an anti-Semitic statue from a medieval church where Martin Luther preached.
The Federal Court of Justice concurred with lower court rulings on the “Judensau” (“Jewish Pig”) statue in Wittenberg, which is one of more than 20 medieval relics that to this day adorn churches in Germany and elsewhere. of Europe. Like the other rulings, the federal court noted that, in the same place and since the 1980s, there is a plaque honoring the victims of anti-Semitism.
The case went to federal court after local courts in the state of Saxony-Anhalt rejected Michael Duellmann’s lawsuits in 2019 and 2020.
Duellmann had denounced the sculpture as “an offense and an insult to the Jewish people” that “has had a terrible effect to this day” and suggested moving it to the nearby Martin Luther House Museum.
The sculpture, about four meters (13 feet) above ground level, shows figures identifiable as Jews suckling a sow and a figure resembling a rabbi lifting the animal’s tail. In 1570, after the Protestant Reformation, an inscription referring to an anti-Jewish treatise written by Luther was included.
In 1988, an inscription mentioning the persecution of the Jews and the death of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust was included below. The sign contains information about the sculpture, in English and German.
The federal court acknowledged that, viewed alone, the sculpture “denigrates Judaism in its entirety,” but says the parish remedied the situation by adding the legend with historical context.
This, the court stated, means that the parish has distanced itself from “the defamatory and anti-Semitic message” of the sculpture.