German church covers anti-Semitic ‘Jew pig’ sculpture it was forced to keep
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German church covers anti-Semitic ‘Jew pig’ sculpture it was forced to keep

Stephan Church in city of Calbe barred from removing relief because building is a registered historical monument; pastor denounces carving as ‘an insult to Jewish citizens’

In this Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020 photo the so-called 'Judensau,' or 'Jew pig,' sculpture is displayed on the facade of the Stadtkirche (Town Church) in Wittenberg, Germany (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
Illustrative: A "Judensau," or "Jew pig," sculpture on the facade of the Stadtkirche (Town Church) in Wittenberg, Germany, January 14, 2020. (AP/Jens Meyer, File)

JTA — A church in Germany was forced to keep an anti-Semitic sculpture of a Jew kissing a pig’s rear end, so it did the next best thing: covered it up.

The Stephan Church in Calbe, a city situated some 80 miles southwest of Berlin, reinstalled the relief on its façade this week after it had been dismantled earlier in the year for restoration work, the Volksstimme newspaper reported Friday.

The evangelical church’s pastor, Jürgen Kohtz, said his church didn’t want the relief to be reinstalled at all, but it was required because of legislation that forbids the removal of any element in the building housing the church, which is a registered monument.

“This sculpture was meant as an insult to Jewish citizens,” Kohtz said.

The statue, which is believed to have been installed in the 15th century, was covered amid ongoing efforts to have it dismantled, the report said.

Dozens of anti-Semitic reliefs can be found in churches across Germany. One recurrent theme is the “Judensau,” or “Jew pig,” featuring a female swine with Jews suckling from her udders.

German Jews and others have campaigned to have the anti-Semitic imagery removed, with limited success.

In February, a court in Karlsruhe rejected a motion to remove one Judensau relief from a church in Wittenberg, near Berlin, where the theologian Martin Luther once preached.

The anti-Semitic figures installed at German churches are widely thought to have been inspired by Luther’s anti-Semitic attitudes.

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