The Star of David

In letters to his friend Paul Citroen (1896–1983), with whom he studied at the Bauhaus, Kirszenbaum often included caricatures which were unrelated to the subject of the letters.

The Star of David

In letters to his friend Paul Citroen (1896–1983), with whom he studied at the Bauhaus, Kirszenbaum often included caricatures which were unrelated to the subject of the letters.

For example, at the end of a letter dated January 18, 1932, there is a self-portrait in which Kirszenbaum casually imitates the so-called Hitler salute with a cigarette in the corner of his mouth, mocking the Nazis. However, he does not wear a swastika armband like the Nazis, but proudly displays one with a Star of David, such as the Zionists used from the end of the 19th century as a political symbol for the goal of founding their own Jewish State.

Letter to Paul Citroen, 18.1.1932. © Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin
Karikatur: “Heil Hitler!”

Probably in a reference to the caricature, Kirszenbaum ironically calls himself a “quite goischen [= unJewish]  Jecheskiel” in his greeting to Citroen.

The “Shield of David” (Hebrew: מגןדוד Magen David) with its two inextricably intertwined triangles symbolizes the bond between Jews with God. The Star of David became the emblem of the flag of Israel on May 14, 1948, when the state was founded.

The flag of the State of Israel in Jerusalem
Foto: © Zachi Evenor (Hebräisch:דר צחי אבנור)
Women wearing the white armband for Jews while in line for the post office in Warsaw, 1941
Foto: Ludwig Knobloch. © Bundesarchiv

Kirszenbaum probably never would have imagined in 1932 that all Jews in Poland would be forced to wear a white armband with the Star of David on it after the conquest of Poland by the Wehrmacht in 1939.

On September 1, 1941, the Police Ordinance on the Identification of Jews declared that people above the age of six defined as Jews according to the Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935 had to wear a yellow Star of David “visibly sewn on the left breast side of the garment near the heart.”

A man with the “Jewish Star” on his jacket in Berlin, September 1941
© Bundesarchiv

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Online: https://www.dhm.de/lemo/kapitel/der-zweite-weltkrieg/voelkermord/gelber-stern.html

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