Nfter years of argument about the anti-Semitic abusive sculpture on the Wittenberg town church, the parish church council decided that the “Judensau” should remain on the facade of the building. The parish council is thus disregarding the suggestion of a panel of experts it has set up, as was announced on Wednesday.
In July, the panel of experts recommended that the sandstone relief from the 13th century be “accepted and moved” as quickly as possible. The abusive sculpture shows Jews hanging from the teats of a pig, which Judaism considers an unclean animal.
The “local view” was decisive
After years of legal disputes, the Federal Court of Justice ruled in June that there was no legal right to have this “anti-Semitism set in stone” removed. The judges argued that the former “shame” had become a “memorial” due to a floor slab that was added in 1988 and a later explanation board.
A short time later, however, the high-ranking expert committee spoke out in favor of withdrawing the “Judensau” from its current visibility and instead presenting it in the immediate vicinity of the church with a deeper historical contextualisation. The parish church council did not follow this advice “after an intensive exchange and initially controversial discussions” and would now like to provide better contextualization on the spot. The decisive factor for this was the “local view”, reported the city church pastor Matthias Keilholz of the FAZ, who himself considers removing the abusive relief to be the best solution.
In parts of Wittenberg’s urban society, the debate about the “Judensau” is also related to the discussion about a “cancel culture” and an “iconoclasm”. Christoph Maier, moderator of the panel of experts and director of the Evangelical Academy in Wittenberg, was “surprised and disappointed” at the decision of the parish and complained that the panel of experts was not involved. Maier warned the FAZ that the debate should not get into “identity-political waters”.