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Pictures of Polish Jews holding coins and lemons?


Bialystoker555 1 | 4
25 Apr 2015 #1
Dzień dobry! I am Jewish and live in London. My grandparents came from Poland before the war. For a number of reasons I have never really connected to my family's past until recently I have been more interested partly due to working with many Polish people in London who find my pigeon Polish highly amusing and I have formed firm friendships with them. I have visited Poland and found it a remarkable experience. My question to the forum is that some of my Polish friends and colleagues have pictures of old Jewish people in their houses often either upside down or holding coins or lemons. At first I instinctively found it insulting and offensive to hear of this (especially the coin and the upside down thing) however recently a Polish friend of mine asked me to bring her a Menorah (Jewish lampstand) from Israel when I visited recently. I was shocked she even knew what a Menorah was but she told me some of her friends have Menorahs at home. Does anyone know about the origin of all of this?

Also my family surname is Zaranski and they were from Białystok, does anyone know the origin of this name, thank you! Dziękuję!
DannyF 1 | 6
25 Apr 2015 #2
Czesc Bialystoker,

This is so intriguing! I'm interested to know what you find out about this.
I'm not Polish, but I put the question to my girlfriend who is, and she said she's not heard of the upside-down pictures with lemons and coins, but she reminded me that her mum has a fridge magnet of a little Jew [sic] which is supposed to bring good luck with money. The thing is, she bought this when we were at the Jewish museum in Kazimierz Dolny, which you might know was a historical centre of Polish Jewish culture. I'm fascinated by the Polish relationship with Jews, and more so by the lingering remnants of eyebrow-raising behaviour that is sometimes exhibited by otherwise progressive, very clever and well-educated people.
jon357 67 | 16,843
25 Apr 2015 #3
I've seen the pictures with the coins but can't say I've noticed lemons. They all seem to be very similar and I think they're considered kitsch nowadays . Perhaps the Jewish guy was seen as an exotic topic for artists years ago Either that or since most luxury products like art in small-town Poland many years ago was by Jewish people who presumably bought from artists who painted what they knew and saw and this started a tradition. There are also wooden carvings of Jewish men with long beards in south Poland.

A quick look on the internet says that the "Jew counting money" was traditionally thought to bring good luck and should hang in the hallway and the "Jew with lemons" one was meant to show a sufficiency of food and drink in the home. That or the lemons were just a splash of colour. It was hung upside down specifically at New Year and on Good Friday. The idea was that the money would symbolically fall out of his pocket and into the householder's.

tematnatopie.pl/zyd-liczacy-pieniadze


  • Money Poland *"''<>


OP Bialystoker555 1 | 4
25 Apr 2015 #4
Thanks jon357 now I understand this more. I guess it's a little more politically incorrect than offensive. I am surprised sometimes when Poles ask me where my beard is or why I'm not dancing but these pictures explain this I suppose, the concept of all Jewish people being religious. I am very intrigued about the Menorah thing also. My family that remained in Poland certainly didn't have any money or good luck, quite the opposite in point of fact!
jon357 67 | 16,843
25 Apr 2015 #5
I guess it's a little more politically incorrect than offensive.

I think so - a combination of the familiar and the exotic a bit like an older more rural version of a picture of a gypsy caravan or even a plastic donkey from Torremolinos in Britain. The religion thing was probably one tangible way that a non-Jew might define and perhaps objectify a Jew in rural Poland. Something that they knew about well because of the synaogue buildings and the food/Hasidic dress rules but different enough to be a way of defining and objectifying people.

The money thing was doubtless because although rural (and indeed urban) Jewish people could be very poor, given the lack of shared meals or shared religious observance a common way for an ordinary gentile Pole to encounter and engage with a Jew was through their work rather than purely socially.

As for Menorahs, they're both decorative and in the days before electricity very practical and of course also easily available in Poland due to the size of the pre-war Jewish community. I've seen lots there both new and old.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
26 Apr 2015 #6
ZARAŃSKI/ŻARAŃSKI: Poznań University onomastician (name researcher) Dr Ewa Szczodruch traces this surname to the word zaranie (dawn as in zaranie dziejów = dawn of history)) or zaranek (early part of the day). I could have also originated as a topo tag from Żar or Zarańsko; there was one noble line amongst the bearers of the Zarański surname.
OP Bialystoker555 1 | 4
26 Apr 2015 #7
Thanks Pol3
I now know more about my name! it sort of explains how as a young medical student in London during my oncology attachment I was assigned to look after a Polish lady dying of advanced cancer. She had been Poland's table tennis champion before the war and thereafter a fighter in the AK and survived and escaped a death march from Aushwitz. Her bed was surrounded by Catholic statues of the virgin Mary and crosses and other Catholic objects. I remember as a young naive Jewish student being mesmerised by her and she kept saying I was her 'sunrise over the forest'. To this day I never understood what she was talking about but now I realise she was referring to my name. Thanks for this!
Nickidewbear 23 | 584
9 Sep 2018 #8
@Bialystoker555, the lemons likely relate to the etrog and lulav; and the coins either have to do with tzedakah, synagogue dues, or even gifts for Sukkot. PS Was the Holocaust survivor for whom you cared a Jewish Catholic?
jon357 67 | 16,843
18 Sep 2018 #9
he lemons likely relate to the etrog and lulav; and the coins either have to do with

They're about neither. Much more about the tastes of people who purchased them.
Virginia Wolf
26 Mar 2020 #10
jon357 You told "I've seen the pictures with the coins but can't say I've noticed lemons. They all seem to be very similar and I think they're considered kitsch nowadays . Perhaps the Jewish guy was seen as an exotic topic for artists years ago...". It's not true. Jew have a lot of prejudice about Polish Goys (term, not very friendly about Polish people, insulting & offensive them). I give you only one name of very known polish, of jews culture peinter,

Samuel Hirszenberg (Polish, 1865-1908) "Banquier juif comptant l'argent (Bankier żydowski liczący pieniądze", 1900.
This fact was fréquent in jews culture. I think, you probably know Bruno Szulc, very known polish, of jewish culture, writer & Drawing Master. You have to know, how very funny, he was drawing jewish community with theirs cultural flaw, not very virtuely. But, it was not jews artists from Poland did it. It was common in Europe & USA.
jon357 67 | 16,843
27 Mar 2020 #11
But, it was not jews artists from Poland did it

It certainly is nowadays. You don't see those pictures anywhere else, and fortunately they're getting rarer here.
Ironside 50 | 10,934
27 Mar 2020 #12
Why? I don't care either way. Seems to me as some leftie made a big deal out of nothing. I have never seen such pictures. /if they are exist somewhere no big deal.

Problem exist in some people head. Fukkers are looking for trouble. F them !
jon357 67 | 16,843
27 Mar 2020 #13
I don't care either way

You evidently 'care' enough to post about it.

I have never seen such pictures.

No surprises, given that you're a long-term expat elsewhere.
Ironside 50 | 10,934
27 Mar 2020 #14
You evidently 'care' enough to post about it.

I don't care if those pictures ARE being produced as we speak by millions or not.

given that you're

Lame. If those pictures were so much a common place as some claims it would bound to see one or two at one point given I'm a native to the country.

how lefties think?
Oh picture or a jew - not your kin - ha - you are a jew hater. lame BS.
jon357 67 | 16,843
27 Mar 2020 #15
I don't care

Doesn't look like that.
Ironside 50 | 10,934
27 Mar 2020 #16
I guess form your skewed leftie point of view. Normal people don't suffer from such a tunnel vision. they understand what I mean.
jon357 67 | 16,843
27 Mar 2020 #17
they understand what I mean.

But do you?
Ironside 50 | 10,934
28 Mar 2020 #18
Sure, I mean pictures or not there is not point in making an issue out of it. Those who are doing that are either dumb or a professional trouble makers/haters.
DonLemon
28 Mar 2020 #19
If those pictures were so much a common place

It's about certain homo Jews putting lemons up their dup@s so they can be sour about Poland.
Virginia Wolf
28 Mar 2020 #20
@jon357
jon357 Your only answer "It certainly is nowadays. You don't see those pictures anywhere else, and fortunately they're getting rarer".

These works can be seen in museums & exhibitions, including in Poland. Hirszenberg and Szulc (he really deserves it) have their place in prestigious museums in New York. That not so much that they deserve it (Szulc really deserves it), but because they are Jewish.

There are non-Jewish Polish artists, better and even brilliant, and there is no Polish work displayed there, not to mention a huge Jewish museum.
Then you don't answer me for your insulting words about the Poles!!!
They are typical of a Jew, and even of a Jew who does not live in Poland and probably has never been there, or, if he comes, he has no contact with Poles and does not want not have one. How then can he know them? This is the case, alas, for most of these Jews and I know many of them.

On the other hand, I noticed that when you are asked the question (myself included), you answer with something else.
Behavior typical of the Jews, where they live, known for centuries, described in the literature, even Jewish, just like, Jews counting the money - famous Jewish Lombards make them still enrich. And they don't even share meals with poor Jews.
jon357 67 | 16,843
28 Mar 2020 #21
They are fortunately rare nowadays, whatever you feel the need to try and say.


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