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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 16Focusing on Jewish Popular Culture and Its Afterlife$
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Michael C. Steinlauf and Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774730

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774730.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 28 June 2022

The Last Controversy over Ritual Murder? The Debate over the Paintings in Sandomierz Cathedral

The Last Controversy over Ritual Murder? The Debate over the Paintings in Sandomierz Cathedral

(p.483) The Last Controversy over Ritual Murder? The Debate over the Paintings in Sandomierz Cathedral
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 16

Anna Landau-Czajka

Liverpool University Press

This chapter addresses a series of religious paintings in the Sandomierz Cathedral, one of which depicts a ritual murder. In 2000, a debate began over what should be done with a painting whose message was so clearly and unambiguously antisemitic. Should a depiction of ritual murder be on display in a church even though Church doctrine has long recognized that Jews never killed children for matzah? On the other hand, should works of art be censored? If they are illegal or immoral, should they be removed? The subject of the painting in Sandomierz Cathedral soon ceased to be merely a local issue when discussion of it filled the Polish press for several weeks. The main problem seemed to be that the myth of ritual murder, though it should by now have been relegated to the past along with that of the existence of witches, was a subject whose interest, in Poland at least, was by no means confined to historians and folklorists. This should come as no surprise, since the issue of ritual murder was still taken seriously by the press in the period between the two world wars. Despite official Church prohibitions, accusations against the Jews were still being made during that period.

Keywords:   religious paintings, Sandomierz Cathedral, ritual murder, antisemitic painting, Church doctrine, Jews, matzah, Polish press, Poland, Church prohibitions

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