Ghet Krakow 2

Racist kitsch begs a deeper question – can Jews really be part of Poland?

During a recent trip to Poland, I came across curious tiny figurines in many market stalls inside the famous Cloth Hall, Krakow. They were good luck charms in the shape of Hasidic Jews, with their long beards and side locks (or peyus). Why were they on sale? Hasidic Jews are a rarely seen phenomenon in contemporary Polish life, so was this what contemporary Poles brought home from Krakow?

The Little Jews of Poland. Author provided

Perhaps these “Little Jews” were reminders of the once vibrant multicultural life of Krakow and Poland before communism and World War Two destroyed all traces of the past? Or perhaps Poles thought that the new wave of Jewish tourists to their country in search of Jewish roots were a prime market? Who knows?

Each Little Jew carries a shiny gold coin, or bright orange money bag. You are supposed to rub the coin or money bag and this will bring you good luck. Apparently, these cute Little Jews, and their perceived money making abilities, will rub off on you!

Read the article by on The Conversation.