The measures enforced in Der Juden Messias to deal with the Jewish threat are drastic. Following the false messiah’s confession, he and the Jews are punished, dispossessed, and expelled from the city. The punishment is especially humiliating. The Jews and their messiah are forced to reenact a well-known caricature: the Judensau, which means they are forced to lie under a sow, suckle on her teats and eat her excrement. This depiction was common in the late Middle Ages and was often found on stone reliefs on many churches – such as on the St. Sebaldus Church in Nuremberg. The image is particularly humiliating, because the pig is considered to be unclean in the Jewish tradition, and according to Christian tradition it is a symbol of the devil. The play Der Juden Messias aims to defame the Jews as threatening and create support for their expulsion from the population. In the years that followed, this became a bitter reality; the city council ultimately received royal permission to dispossess the Jews and expel them from the city. The last Jews left Nuremberg in 1499.
Background picture: Nürenberg's account - Michael Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff, 1493; right: block book depiction of the Judensau, 15th c.