100960 | GERMANY & FRANCE. “Black Shame” cast bronze Medal.

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    100960 | GERMANY & FRANCE. “Black Shame” cast bronze Medal. Issued 1920. Code Napoléon: On the supposed sexual crimes of German women by French-African soldiers (58mm, 75.63 g, 12h). By K. Goetz in München.

     

    FRANZÖSISCHE RECHTSPRECHUNG (French court ruling) / CODE NAPOLÉON, three French-African soldiers—with overt, caricatured ethnic features—dragging and pursuing German women; in foreground, one hand forces sword into a scabbard held in place (itself an allusion to the alleged rape of German women) / WÜSTLINGE AM RHEIN! (Lechers on the Rhine!), village scene, with numerous French-African soldiers further pursuing German women and creating havoc in the street; various edifices convey the sexual nature of the acts, with inscriptions such as MAROKANER BORDELL (Moroccan brothel), BORDELL / RATHAUS (brothel / town hall), and WEINHAUS / LUST–HAUS FUR NEGER (wine bar / brothel for Africans). Edge: Some filing marks as made.

     

    Kienast 274. Choice Mint State. Light brown surfaces. A very interesting and racially-charged piece evoking the German right-wing sentiments of the time.

     

    Following Germany's defeat in World War I, French and British troops occupied portions of Germany to ensure that reparations would be repaid. In some areas such as the Rhineland, France utilized colonial troops from North Africa for patrolling and occupying—possibly serving as an act of further humiliation—making the local Germans be subject to those who were, in turn, subject to a colonial power. Within Germany, however, sentiments became overtly racialized, with anti-African propaganda found everywhere in the print media, and with caricatures and stereotypes endlessly employed. This biased and unfounded campaign even found its way into numismatics, with many medals featuring iconography that reveals these feelings. At the forefront was the belief that African troops, oversexed and primal, were ravaging German women. Though this campaign subsided in the early 1930's, it certainly wasn't the first appearance of this form of racism, and certainly wouldn't be the last.

     

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