THE PRESENCE OF OBJECTS: Medieval Anti-Judaism in Modern Germany

THE PRESENCE OF OBJECTS: Medieval Anti-Judaism in Modern Germany On the southwest corner of a large brick Gothic church in the little town of Sternberg in north Germany is a curious stone. Mortared into the wall of a chapel that juts out beside what was once the main portal of the church, the stone bears, deeply embedded in it, large prints of two bare feet, on the edges of which chisel marks are visible. A xeroxed church guide, available on a table inside the porch, mentions it only briefly, explaining that the stone, which was incorporated into the wall in 1496, is one on which the wife of the Jew Eleazar is said to have stood when she tried to sink a desecrated host in the nearby creek. Unable to cast away the host, she supposedly sank into the stone (fig. 1). Located in the green and beautiful Mecklenburg landscape, Sternberg, like most areas of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), is now suffering from massive unemployment and the flight of its youth to the west and to urban areas.1 Its train station is closed; even local buses run there only on weekdays. Yet in the early sixteenth century, it was a prominent enough pilgrimage site to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Common Knowledge Duke University Press

THE PRESENCE OF OBJECTS: Medieval Anti-Judaism in Modern Germany

Common Knowledge, Volume 10 (1) – Jan 1, 2004

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2004 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0961-754X
eISSN
1538-4578
D.O.I.
10.1215/0961754X-10-1-1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

On the southwest corner of a large brick Gothic church in the little town of Sternberg in north Germany is a curious stone. Mortared into the wall of a chapel that juts out beside what was once the main portal of the church, the stone bears, deeply embedded in it, large prints of two bare feet, on the edges of which chisel marks are visible. A xeroxed church guide, available on a table inside the porch, mentions it only briefly, explaining that the stone, which was incorporated into the wall in 1496, is one on which the wife of the Jew Eleazar is said to have stood when she tried to sink a desecrated host in the nearby creek. Unable to cast away the host, she supposedly sank into the stone (fig. 1). Located in the green and beautiful Mecklenburg landscape, Sternberg, like most areas of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), is now suffering from massive unemployment and the flight of its youth to the west and to urban areas.1 Its train station is closed; even local buses run there only on weekdays. Yet in the early sixteenth century, it was a prominent enough pilgrimage site to

Journal

Common KnowledgeDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2004

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