Yellow badge

From Academic Kids

Missing image
The yellow badge which Jewish people were forced to wear during the Nazi occupation of Europe: a black Star of David on a yellow field, with the word "Jew" written inside.

A yellow badge is a mandatory mark or a piece of cloth of specific geometric shape, worn on the outer garment in order to distinguish a person of certain religion or ethnicity in public. It is traditionally associated with the persecution of Jewish people. In some countries a badge was accompanied or replaced by identifying garb or hat. In the Middle Ages clothes worn by different groups of people were regulated by law.

The color yellow had been maligned since feudal times. Horses that were yellowish were considered worthless throughout society (as seen in the obsolete phrase, to curry Fauvel, a conventional name of a yellow horse). All other colors were used by knights on their shields, so yellow was left to brand the Jews.


  • 717 Caliph Omar II orders both Jews and Christians to wear a distinguishing mark.
  • 807 Persia Abbassid Caliph Harun al-Rashid orders Jews to wear yellow belt, blue for Christians.
  • 853 Caliph Al-Mutavallil of Persia issues a yellow badge edict.
  • 1005 Fatimid Caliph Al-Hakim orders Jews of Egypt and the Land of Israel to wear bells on their garments and "golden calf" (made of wood) around the neck. In 1301, they were obliged to wear yellow turbans.
  • 1121 A letter from Baghdad describes decrees regulating Jewish clothes: "two yellow badges, one on the headgear and one on the neck. Furthermore, each Jew must hang round his neck a piece of lead with the word dhimmi on it. He also has to wear a belt round his waist. The women have to wear one red and one black shoe and have a small bell on their necks or shoes." (Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews, p.204)
  • 1215 Fourth Lateran Council headed by Pope Innocent III declares: "Jews and Saracens of both sexes in every Christian province and at all times shall be marked off in the eyes of the public from other peoples through the character of their dress." (Canon 68)
  • 1219 Pope Honorius III issues a dispensation to the Jews of Castile.
  • 1222 Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton orders English Jews to wear white band, later changed to yellow.
  • 1228 James I orders Jews of Aragon to wear the badge.
  • 1267 In a special session, the Vienna city council forces Jews to wear Pileum cornutum (a cone-shaped head dress, prevalent in many medieval illustrations of Jews). This distinctive dress is an additon to yellow badge Jews were already forced to wear.
  • 1269 France June 19. St. Louis IX of France ordered all Jews found in public without a badge (AKA rouelle or roue) to be fined ten livres of silver.
Missing image
Jews being beaten, from an English manuscript. Note the yellow badge in the shape of the Tablets of the Law
  • 1274 Edward I of England enforces the decree. The badge was a piece of yellow cloth in the shape of the Tablets of the Law which had to be worn above the heart by every Jew over the age of seven.
  • 1294 Erfurt: The earliest mention of the badge in Germany.
  • 1315-1326 Emir Ismael Abu-I-Walid forces the Jews of Granada to wear the yellow badge.
  • 1321 Henry II of Castile forces the Jews to wear the yellow badge.
  • 1415 Bull of the Avignon Pope Benedict XIII insists the Jews to wear a yellow and red badge, the men on their breast, the women on their forehead.
  • 1434 Emperor Sigismund reintroduces the badge at Augsburg.
  • 1528 The municipal board of Venice allows famous physician and professor Jacob Mantino ben Samuel to wear the regular black doctors' cap instead of Jewish yellow hat for two months (period extended later), upon the recommendation of the French and English ambassadors, the papal legate, and other dignitaries numbered among his patients.
  • 1555 Pope Paul IV decrees, in his Cum nimis absurdum, that the Jews should wear yellow hats.
  • 1566 King Sigismund II passes a law that required Lithuanian Jews to wear yellow hats and head coverings. The law was abolished twenty years later.

In the 20th century, the yellow badge regulations appeared during the Nazi rule as a part of the plan of the Holocaust and were motivated by anti-Semitism.

  • 1933-1945 The Nazi regimes in the occupied countries forced Jews to wear an identifying mark under the threat of death. There was no consistent requirements across Europe as to its color and shape: it varied from white armband to yellow Star of David badge.
  • 1940 The Danes undertake heroic efforts to shelter their Jews and help them escape from the Nazis to neutral Sweden. A popular legend portrays king Christian X of Denmark wearing an armband as he makes his daily morning horseback ride through the streets of Copenhagen, followed by non-Jewish Danes responding to their king's example, thus preventing the Germans from identifying Jewish citizens and rendering the Nazi order ineffective. In the book Queen in Denmark (by Anne Wolden-Ræthinge) the Queen Margrethe II of Denmark says about the legend: "It is a beautiful and symbolic story, but it is not true. The myth about the King wearing the star of David... To me, the truth is an even greater honor for our country than the myth."

See also

External links

de:Judenstern he:הטלאי הצהוב


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