Auction 55: June 21st, 2012


Lot: 343 (AMERICAN JUDAICA). Service on the Day of Atonement by the Israelite Soldiers of the Prussian Army before Metz 1870. Colored lithograph. Text in German, English and Hebrew. 27 x 22 inches.

New York, H. Schile, 1871, $6,000 - $7,000

-This lithograph depicts the Kol Nidre service performed on Yom Kippur 1870, for Jewish soldiers in the Prussian army stationed near Metz (Alsace region) during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.
   The Germans had occupied Metz by August of 1870, however were unable to capture the town's formidable fortress, where the remaining French troops had sought refuge. During the siege, Yom Kippur was marked while hostilities still continued, as depicted in the lithograph.
   It seems surprising that such an image would appeal to American Jews, an event both geographically and politically distant. Perhaps it was an attempt to gain the sympathy of American Jewry. The lithograph is unknown to Singerman, who equally fails to record any of the publisher's other productions.
   A similar image was produced on linen, see Catalogue of the Jewish Museum (London), p. 135, no. 664.


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