Ceramic change holder in the shape of an Orthodox Jewish man

Language of Description
Alt. Identifiers
  • 2016.184.4
1 Jan 1890 - 31 Dec 1962
Level of Description
  • English
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium

overall: Height: 3.750 inches (9.525 cm) | Width: 3.375 inches (8.573 cm) | Depth: 2.750 inches (6.985 cm)


Biographical History

The Katz Ehrenthal Collection is a collection of more than 900 objects depicting Jews and antisemitic and anti-Jewish propaganda from the medieval to the modern era, in Europe, Russia, and the United States. The collection was amassed by Peter Ehrenthal, a Romanian Holocaust survivor, to document the pervasive history of anti-Jewish hatred in Western art, politics and popular culture. It includes crude folk art as well as pieces created by Europe's finest craftsmen, prints and periodical illustrations, posters, paintings, decorative art, and toys and everyday household items decorated with depictions of stereotypical Jewish figures.

Archival History

The figure was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016 by the Katz Family.


United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family

Funding Note: The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

Scope and Content

Late 19th or early 20th century ceramic change holder in the shape of an Orthodox Jewish man standing on top of a shallow dish labelled, “The Old Pal.” The figurine was produced by the Schafer and Vater Porcelain Factory in Volkstedt Rudolstadt, Thuringia, Germany. The company was established in 1890, and by 1910, their goods were distributed in the United States by Sears Roebuck Company. The man has very long, bushy sidelocks, a stereotypical physical feature commonly attributed to Jewish men. The man’s black clothing and the kippah conform to the Jewish concept of tzniyus (modest dress and behavior), which Orthodox Jews adhere to for religious reasons. Orthodox Judaism is the most traditional and stringent of the three main branches of modern Judaism. Orthodox Jews believe the Torah is of divine origin and strive to adhere to the 613 commandments of Jewish Law. The long, black suit-style jacket is either a “rekel” or a “bekishe.” The resemblance of the man’s eyes and nose to gold coins and his presence on the coin dish, are likely references to the antisemitic stereotype of the greedy Jew who exploits gentiles for their own economic advantage. This stereotype originated from the economic and professional restrictions placed on early European Jews. They were barred from owning land, farming, joining trade guilds, and military service. These restrictions forced many Jews into occupations such as money changing or money lending. Additionally, medieval religious belief held that charging interest (known as usury) was sinful, and the Jews who occupied these professions were looked down upon predominantly by Medieval Christians. They were perceived as morally deficient, greedy, and willing to engage in unethical business practices. This change holder is one of more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions on access

Conditions Governing Reproduction

No restrictions on use

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Small, hollow, painted, ceramic change holder shaped as a squat, old, Jewish man with long, gray side curls and a long beard on each jaw, but not along the chin. He is dressed in a floor-length, buttoned coat and a black skullcap. His face is stylized with a large, red, u-shaped line for a mouth, and white circles rimming his rounded, protruding, gold-colored eyes and nose, which resemble coins. His very large hands reach outward from his shoulders, as though raised to that height. He stands on top of the wedge-shaped change receptacle with the shallow, rectangular, brown well where the money in placed at his feet. A short, one-line slogan, is etched and painted black in the well of the dish. On the back, the lines of the coat are lightly etched along the shoulders, and there are two small, round buttons etched above a triangular opening on the figure’s mid-back. The underside is un-glazed and a four-digit number is pressed in the lower left corner and a partially visible maker’s mark is in the right corner. There is a small sticker adhered to the lower back point of the tray.

back, bottom, white sticker, handwritten, black ink : ALS / 1/86



This description is derived directly from structured data provided to EHRI by a partner institution. This collection holding institution considers this description as an accurate reflection of the archival holdings to which it refers at the moment of data transfer.