Sunday, October 24, 2010

Yellow Star of David

Why did the Nazis choose to make the Star of David yellow?

Of all the numerous laws proclaimed against the Jews by the Germans, one of the most spectacular was the law forcing all Jews, from the age of six, to wear a yellow star on their clothes with the letter “J” or the word “Jood” or the word “Juif”.

My parents and I wore the yellow Star of David when I was a toddler, simply for being Jewish in Romania.

Why did the Nazis choose to make the Star of David yellow?
The yellow Star of David was a cloth patch that we Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis on our outer garments that would mark us in public.

The badge was intended as one more measure to disenfranchise Jews and to reinforce our pariah status.

Less known is the fact that the yellow patch was not invented by the Nazis but resuscitated by them from medieval times.

A degrading yellow badge was introduced by a 9th century Baghdad caliph and subsequently imposed by other Moslem rulers on their Jewish and Christian populations.

When they were in power in Afghanistan in 2001, the Taliban religious police asked local Hindus to carry yellow stickers inside their pockets to be differentiated from the majority Muslim population.

The Catholic 1215 Fourth Council of the Lateran also ruled that Jews ought to wear a yellow badge and other discriminatory outer symbols. European rulers intermittently followed this direction until the time of the French Revolution.

For Christians, the yellow colour has generally signified treason. Judas was represented with a yellow robe. Jews wore yellow. During the period of the Middle Ages, yellow was linked to disorder and madness. Buffoons and madmen were dressed in yellow. Yellow was associated with Lucifer, with sulphur and with traitors.

But in 1948, the yellow Star of David, originally prompted by crude anti-Semitism, was transformed and proudly emerged as the blue Star of David on the flag of the State of Israel.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this informative post. I am a student of history/Jewish history, but I don't think I knew about the yellow star 1000 years ago.

Well done.