Draft: Yellow Star


The yellow Star of David was a cloth patch that the Nazis forced Jews to wear on their outer garments which would mark them in public. This discriminatory law was enforced throughout the European countries occupied by the Nazis during World War II. The exhibit traces the imposed use of the yellow badge from medieval times through the 1933-1945 years, concluding with the transformation of the yellow Star, prompted by crude antisemitism, to emerge as the blue Star of David on the flag of the State of Israel.

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. 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.

The History of the Yellow Star

The origin of this distinctive symbol was the wearing special signs and badges to mark the Jews off from true believers in the Moslem world back in 9th century. Christian-ruled Europeans adopted the practice from Moslem rulers to impose degrading dress and marks on Jewish populations. Jews were forced to wear Pileum cornutum which is a cone-shaped headdress seen in medieval illustrations of Jews. Louis IX of France and King Edward I of England enacted regulations forcing Jews to wear badges in public in the 13th century. In Austria, Emperor Ferdinand I issued a decree in Vienna ordering Jews wear yellow rings.