Belgian carnival float features puppets of grinning Jews, rat, money bags

Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs condemned the float Sunday at the annual Aalst Carnaval street celebration as “shocking.” It contains “typical, antisemitic caricatures from 1939."

By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ/JTA
March 5, 2019 10:17
2 minute read.
Giant figures depicting Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel (C) and other politicians are seen dur

Giant figures depicting Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel (C) and other politicians are seen during the 87th carnival parade of Aalst February 15, 2015. The Aalst Carnival, which is inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, often shows informal groups . (photo credit: YVES HERMAN / REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later



Participants in a street celebration in the Belgian city of Aalst paraded giant puppets of Orthodox Jews and a rat atop money bags.

Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs condemned the float Sunday at the annual Aalst Carnaval street celebration as “shocking.” It contains “typical, antisemitic caricatures from 1939,” he told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.



The umbrella groups representing Flemish and French-speaking Jews in Belgium, FJO and CCOJB respectively, complained to the federal UNIA watchdog on racism about the display. “In a democracy like Belgium, there is no room for such things, carnival or not,” they wrote.



The group Vismooil’n created the two puppets as their 2019 theme for the Aalst carnival, the local edition of celebrations that take place throughout parts of Europe and Latin America annually in anticipation of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter. Participants prepare floats and dance routines, parading them through town on Carnaval.



The Vismooil’n group, a veteran participant that specializes in hyper-realistic puppets, created the display to address rising prices, they told a Belgian blogger last month. They titled the work “Shabbat Year.”



The display features two giant puppets with streimels, hats favored by some Orthodox Jews, in pink suits. They both have sidelocks. One of the puppets is grinning while smoking a cigar and extending a hand, presumably to collect money. That puppet has a white rat on his right shoulder. Both puppets are standing on gold coins and have money bags at their feet.



In the background is a round window reminiscent of the architecture of many European synagogues and a small box resembling a mezuzah on its right-hand side.



“Everything has become so expensive [we though that] if we do 2019, there would be no more money left for next year,” a member of the group was quoted as saying. “So we all went quiet until we smartly decided to go for the Shabbat Year and that was that. So simple.”



In 2013, a different group designed for the Aalst carnival a float resembling a Nazi railway wagon used to transport Jews to death camps.



The people who designed the float, known as the FTP Group, marched near the float dressed as Nazi SS officers and haredi Orthodox Jews. A poster on the wagon showed Flemish Belgian politicians dressed as Nazis and holding canisters labeled as containing Zyklon B, the poison used by the Nazis to exterminate Jews in gas chambers in the Holocaust.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

RESCUE WORKERS search for survivors and victims in the rubble left after a powerful car bomb destroy
July 16, 2019
U.S. House of Representatives passes resolution commemorating AMIA bombing

By ZACHARY KEYSER

Cookie Settings