During our gathering in June, the Holy Spirit brought the topic of the Wittenberg Jew-Pig to the forefront of our attention. A few initiatives born out of our meetings are working towards grieving, repenting, and requesting the removal of this offense. The purpose of this page is to highlight some of those initiatives, explain how this topic is related to reconciliation in the Body of Christ, and give you the opportunity for concrete action.
What is the relationship between the Jew-Pig and the 500th anniversary of the Reformation?
The Jew-Pig, called “Judensau” in German, is an anti-Semitic sculpture that degrades Jews by depicting them in humiliating positions with a sow. There is a prominent Jew-Pig sculpture on the outside wall of Martin Luther’s home church in Wittenberg, the Stadtkirche (City Church). This church, considered the Mother Church of the Reformation, will be at the center of the 500th anniversary celebrations in 2017. This Jew-Pig is uniquely horrifying among the 30 or so similar sculptures found in Germany, because above it in gilded letters is an inscription that means “The Ineffable Name of God. ” Shockingly, these words were written by Martin Luther in a pamphlet that praises his church’s Jew-Pig sculpture.
What actions are we taking
Our actions are two-fold: repentance and raising awareness.
In our June 2016 gathering, Lutherans and Catholics joined together in repenting to the Messianic Jews in our midst. Catholics put up the sculpture before Martin Luther’s time. Martin Luther commended them and inspired other Lutherans to add the blasphemous inscription. It is appropriate that we repent together. This is an act of profound unity, and points the way to one area where Catholics and Protestants can find common ground – namely, in grief over the terrible actions in our shared history.
The Holy Spirit has stirred many in our midst to initiate additional actions. Some of these are public and visible, while others are private or behind-the-scenes or still in progress. We are delighted to see heart-felt repentance turning into concrete actions of grief, justice and restitution. We endorse all of these actions, and support them in all ways that we can.
One of the most significant public actions is a letter published by Sr. Joela Krüger, a German Lutheran member of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary in Darmstadt. It issues a prophetic call to her fellow German Lutherans, urging them to take the Jew-Pig down for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. This letter is co-signed by the leadership of Wittenberg 2017, at the request of the Marienschwestern, to indicate that while this is primarily a German issue, the rest of the world is watching and waiting for the removal of the Wittenberg Jew-Pig.
Is removing the Jew-Pig a primary objective of the Wittenberg 2017 initiative?
Our objective is reconciliation – that is, the removal of hostility – between Protestants & Catholics, and between all members of the worldwide body of Christ.
If by God’s grace the Lutheran Church were to take down the Jew-Pig from the church in Wittenberg, that would be a significant and symbolic removal of hostility. If they were to join with the Roman Catholics in this action, to remove it together, that would be even more significant.
But even then, it would only be one small step. The work of reconciliation that we envision is large, wide, and deep – the fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer in John 17. This is our objective. Only God can accomplish this!
But every action that we can take towards it, moved and empowered by His Spirit, surely brings joy to the heart of Jesus. The removal of the Wittenberg Jew-Pig would be … will be … a truly joyous occasion!
What actions can I take?
Search your heart and personal history for any thoughts or words that might be offensive to Jews . It can be helpful to remember that Jesus not only was a Jew, but in fact still is a Jew, and fully identifies with His people.
Sign the online petition to remove the Wittenberg Jew-Pig https://www.change.org/p/remove-the-wittenberg-judensau Then post on Facebook that you signed it, and encourage others to read and consider this topic.