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14 The cathedral's "Judensau"

On the third (counting from the West) pillar of the south facade of the cathedral, one can detect a late-Gothic stone sculpture which deserves a closer look. It is a specimen of the so-called "Judensau" – or "Jews’ sow" – a drastic vilification of Judaism. It is almost a standard feature of many well-known European churches from Gothic times, which can be seen in 48 towns: among them are Cologne, Erfurt, Nuremberg, Colmar, Metz, Basel, Bayreuth, Bad Wimpfen, Magdeburg, Wittenberg, Salzburg, Wien, Xanten und Frankfurt.

The limestone sculpture, made between 1340 and 1380, clearly shows is a female pig or sow, which is being held by one ear by a man wearing a hat, so that the other two men can suckle on the teats of the animal. One of the men has no head anymore, but the other one wears the pointed hat, which Jews had been required to wear during the Middle Ages. The pig is seen as unclean in the Jewish faith and stands for pure blasphemy. The insult of the entire scene was even more severe, as the sculpture was placed right opposite of one of the main gates into the Jewish quarters.

Die Judensau am DomDie Judensau am Dom © Stadt Regensburg

In January 2023, the Regensburg State Building Authority finally installed a new information board on the sculpture of the "Judensau" or "Jews' sow" at the cathedral. The text was created by the Munich professor Dr. Eva Haverkamp-Rott in coordination with the anti-Semitism commissioner of the Free State of Bavaria and coordinated with all institutions involved.

Interested visitors to the cathedral can access the website of the Bavarian Anti-Semitism Commissioner via a QR code. There they can obtain further information about anti-Semitic depictions on historical buildings in Bavaria and about the history of Jews in Regensburg. In Regensburg, the Jewish community is already documented for the late 10th century - making it the oldest in Bavaria.

Informationstafel "Judensau" am Dom RegensburgInformationstafel "Judensau" am Dom Regensburg © Stadt Regensburg, Ludwig Stockert

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