Monument outside St Mary’s Town Church (S06QR2)
Monument outside St Mary’s Town Church
In the late-13th century, a relief mocking the Jewish religion was mounted on the south-east corner of St Mary’s Church (also known as Town Church). Offensive reliefs of this kind showing Jews with pigs – animals which are considered unclean in the Jewish faith – were especially common during the Middle Ages, and there are still about fifty such images in existence. Jews were persecuted in Saxony in the early-14th century and 1440, and expelled in 1536.
The inscription was added to the relief in 1570 and refers to two anti-Semitic treatises published by Martin Luther in 1543: ‘On the Jews and Their Lies’ and ‘Of the Unknowable Name and the Generations of Christ’. The Latin text on the eaves equating the Reformation initiated by Martin Luther to the cleansing of the temple by Jesus (Matthew 21) and condemning ‘Papists’ also dates back to 1570.
The memorial on the ground below the stone relief was unveiled in November 1988, fifty years after the start of the Jewish pogroms in Nazi Germany. The cast-bronze slab shows four uneven paving stones which appear to have been laid on muddy ground. The cracks between them form the sign of the cross. The text surrounding the memorial connects the inscription on the relief to the Holocaust: “The true name of God, the maligned Shem ha-Mephorash, which Jews long before Christianity regarded as almost unutterably holy, died with six million Jews under the sign of the cross.” It is accompanied by the opening words of Psalm 130 “Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord” in Hebrew script. The memorial was made by sculptor Wieland Schmiedel while the inscription was written by author Jürgen Rennert.