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The yellow badge (or yellow patch), also referred to as a Jewish badge (German: Judenstern, lit. Jews' star), was a cloth patch that Jews were ordered to sew on their outer garments to mark them as Jews in public at certain times in certain countries. It is intended to be a badge of shame associated with antisemitism. The wearing of a yellow badge that was compulsory for Jews in some parts of the Islamic world and Europe in the Middle Ages was revived in Nazi Germany.
In the early Islamic period, non-Muslims were required to wear distinctive marks in public, such as metal seals fixed around their necks. Tattooing and branding of slaves and captives were widespread in the ancient world. However, Islam, like Judaism, forbids permanent skin markings. Likewise, they were not allowed to wear colors associated with Islam, particularly green. The practice of physically branding Jews and Christians appears to have been begun in early medieval Baghdad and was considered highly degrading.
According to Bernard Lewis, Christians and Jews were forced to wear special emblems on their clothes. The yellow badge was first introduced by a caliph in Baghdad in the 9th century, and spread to the West in medieval times. Even in public baths, non-Muslims wore medallions suspended from cords around their necks so no one would mistake them for Muslims. Belts, headgear, shoes, armbands and/or cloth patches were also used. Under Sunni rules, they were not allowed to use the same baths. In 1005 the Jews of Egypt were ordered to wear bells on their garments.
Apart from Jews, Hindus living under Islamic rule in India were often forced to wear yellow badges as well. During the reign of Akbar the Great, his general Husain Khan 'Tukriya' forcibly made Hindus wear discriminatory yellow badges on their shoulders or sleeves.
Medieval Catholic Europe
In the Medieval, largely Catholic Europe, in some periods Jews and Muslims were required to wear distinguishable clothing. These measures were not seen as being inconsistent with Sicut Judaeis. Though not the first ecclesiastic requirement for non-Christians to wear distinguishable clothing, the Fourth Council of the Lateran headed by Pope Innocent III ruled in 1215 that Jews and Muslims must wear distinguishable dress (Latin "habitus")". Canon 68 reads, in part:
- In some provinces a difference in dress distinguishes the Jews or Saracens from the Christians, but in certain others such a confusion has grown up that they cannot be distinguished by any difference. Thus it happens at times that through error Christians have relations with the women of Jews or Saracens, and Jews and Saracens with Christian women. Therefore, that they may not, under pretext of error of this sort, excuse themselves in the future for the excesses of such prohibited intercourse, we decree that such Jews and Saracens of both sexes in every Christian province and at all times shall be marked off in the eyes of the public from other peoples through the character of their dress. Particularly, since it may be read in the writings of Moses [Numbers 15:37-41], that this very law has been enjoined upon them.
Innocent III had in 1199 confirmed Sicut Judaeis, which was also confirmed by Pope Honorius III in 1216. In 1219, Honorius III issues a dispensation to the Jews of Castile, the largest Jewish population in Europe. Spanish Jews normally wore turbans in any case, which presumably met the requirement to be distinctive. Elsewhere, local laws were introduced to bring the canon into effect. The identifying mark varied from one country to another, and from period to period.
In 1227, the Synod of Narbonne, in canon 3, ruled:
- That Jews may be distinguished from others, we decree and emphatically command that in the center of the breast (of their garments) they shall wear an oval badge, the measure of one finger in width and one half a palm in height...
However, these ecclesiastic pronouncements required legal sanctions of a temporal authority. In 1228, James I of Aragon ordered Jews of Aragon to wear the badge; and in 1265, the Siete Partidas, a legal code enacted in Castile by Alfonso X but not implemented until many years later, included a requirement for Jews to wear distinguishing marks. On 19 June 1269, Louis IX of France imposed a fine of ten livres of silver on Jews found in public without a badge (Latin: rota, "wheel", French: rouelle or roue). The enforcement of wearing the badge is repeated by local councils, with varying degrees of fines, at Arles 1234 and 1260, Béziers 1246, Albi 1254, Nîmes 1284 and 1365, Avignon 1326 and 1337, Rodez 1336, and Vanves 1368. The "rota" looked like a ring of white or yellow. The shape and color of the patch also varied, although the color was usually white or yellow. Married women were often required to wear two bands of blue on their veil or head-scarf.
- Each Jew, after he is seven years old, shall wear a distinguishing mark on his outer garment, that is to say, in the form of two Tables joined, of yellow felt of the length of six inches and of the breadth of three inches.
In German-speaking Europe, a requirement for a badge was less common than the Judenhut or Pileum cornutum (a cone-shaped head dress, common in medieval illustrations of Jews). In 1267, in a special session, the Vienna city council required Jews to wear a Judenhut; the badge does not seem to have been worn in Austria. There is a reference to a dispensation from the badge in Erfurt on 16 October 1294, the earliest reference to the badge in Germany.
As with all sumptuary laws, enforcement of the rules was variable; in Marseilles the magistrates ignored accusations of breaches, and in some places individuals or communities could buy exemption. Cathars who were considered "first time offenders" by the Catholic Church and the Inquisition were also forced to wear yellow badges, albeit in the form of crosses, about their person.
The yellow badge is different from the Jewish hat (or "Judenhut"), a cone-shaped hat, which is seen in many illustrations from before this date, and remained the key distinguishing mark of Jewish dress in the Middle Ages. From the 16th century, the use of the Judenhut declined, but the badge tended to outlast it, surviving into the 18th century in places.
After the German invasion of Poland in 1939 there were initially different local decrees requiring Jews to wear a distinctive sign, during the General Government. The sign was a white armband with a blue Star of David on it, in the Warthegau a yellow badge in the form of a Star of David on the left side of the breast and on the back. The requirement to wear the Star of David with the word Jude (German for Jew) inscribed in faux Hebrew letters was then extended to all Jews over the age of six in the Reich and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (by a decree issued on September 19, 1941, signed by Reinhard Heydrich) and was gradually introduced in other German-occupied areas, where local words were used (e.g., Juif in French, Jood in Dutch).
One observer reported that the star increased German non-Nazi sympathy for Jews as the impoverished citizens who wore them were, contrary to Nazi propaganda, obviously not the cause of German failure in the east. In Czechoslovakia, the government had to ban hat tipping toward Jews and other courtesies that became popular as protests against the German occupation. A whispering campaign that claimed that the action was in response to the United States government requiring German Americans to wear swastikas was unsuccessful.
- Possible date of the Pact of Umar which stipulates that Christians (and by implication also Jews) living in Muslim lands are required to wear distinctive clothing. Although most historians question the historicity of the pact, the use of distinguishing marks is consistent with documentary and archaeological evidence from 7th and 8th century Iraq and Syria. The pact itself is thought to be an invention of later jurists seeking justification for certain cultural practices that had developed over time.
- A decree of the Abbassid Caliph Al-Mutawakkil, reported by the 10th century historian Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, requires Christian and Jewish subjects to wear honey-coloured hoods and belts of a particular type. Distinguishing marks are also prescribed for their slaves.
- Fatimid Caliph Al-Hakim, orders Jewish and Christian residents to wear bells on their garments and a "golden calf" (made of wood) around the neck when bathing with Muslims.
- Start of less tolerant policy towards Christians and Jews by the Seljuk authorities in the Abbasid empire. Existing laws imposing distinctive dress are enforced. Non-Muslims in Baghdad are forced to wear signs on their dress.
- Non-Muslims are required to wear distinctive signs on their turbans.
- Abbasid Caliph Al-Muqtadi decrees that the "non-believers" had to wear yellow headgear and girdles of various colors, and a sign of lead around their necks to show they had to pay the poll-tax. Women had to wear shoes of different colors, such as one red and the other black.
- A letter from Baghdad describes decrees regulating Jewish clothes: "two yellow badges, one on the headgear and one on the neck. Furthermore, each Jew must hang round his neck a piece of lead with the word dhimmi on it. He also has to wear a belt round his waist. The women have to wear one red and one black shoe and have a small bell on their necks or shoes." 
- During the rule of the Islamist Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the Hindu minority in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan were forced to wear yellow badges in public to identify themselves as such as part of the Taliban's plan to segregate "un-Islamic" and "idolatrous" communities from Islamic ones. The decree was condemned by the Government of the United States as a gross violation of religious freedom, with congressmen and several lawmakers wearing yellow badges on the floor of the Senate during the debate as a demonstration of their solidarity with the Hindu minority in Afghanistan, and the chairman of the US Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, compared the decree to the earlier practice of the Nazi regime. Widespread protests against the Taliban regime broke out in Bhopal, India, and the Government of India condemned this decree as a violation of religious freedom.
Medieval Catholic Europe
- Fourth Lateran Council headed by Pope Innocent III declares: "Jews and Saracens of both sexes in every Christian province and at all times shall be marked off in the eyes of the public from other peoples through the character of their dress." 
- Pope Honorius III issues a dispensation to the Jews of Castile. Spanish Jews normally wore turbans in any case, which presumably met the requirement to be distinctive.
- Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton orders English Jews to wear a white band two fingers broad and four fingers long.
- Synod of Narbonne rules: "That Jews may be distinguished from others, we decree and emphatically command that in the center of the breast (of their garments) they shall wear an oval badge, the measure of one finger in width and one half a palm in height." 
- James I orders Jews of Aragon to wear the badge.
- The Siete Partidas, a legal code enacted in Castile by Alfonso X but not implemented until many years later, includes a requirement for Jews to wear distinguishing marks.
- In a special session, the Vienna city council forces Jews to wear Pileum cornutum (a cone-shaped head dress, common in medieval illustrations of Jews); the badge does not seem to have been worn in Austria.
- 1269, June 19
- France. (Saint) Louis IX of France orders all Jews found in public without a badge (French: rouelle or roue, Latin: rota) to be fined ten livres of silver. The enforcement of wearing the badge is repeated by local councils, with varying degrees of fines, at Arles 1234 and 1260, Béziers 1246, Albi 1254, Nîmes 1284 and 1365, Avignon 1326 and 1337, Rodez 1336, and Vanves 1368.
- The Statute of Jewry in England, enacted by King Edward I, enforces the regulations. "Each Jew, after he is seven years old, shall wear a distinguishing mark on his outer garment, that is to say, in the form of two Tables joined, of yellow felt of the length of six inches and of the breadth of three inches." 
- 1294, October 16
- Erfurt. The earliest mention of the badge in Germany.
- Emir Ismail Abu-I-Walid forces the Jews of Granada to wear the yellow badge.
- Henry II of Castile forces the Jews to wear the yellow badge.
- 1415, May 11
- Bull of the Avignon Pope Benedict XIII orders the Jews to wear a yellow and red badge, the men on their breast, the women on their forehead.
- Emperor Sigismund reintroduces the badge at Augsburg.
- The Council of Ten of Venice allows the newly arrived famous physician and professor Jacob Mantino ben Samuel to wear the regular black doctors' cap instead of Jewish yellow hat for several months (subsequently made permanent), upon the recommendation of the French and English ambassadors, the papal legate, and other dignitaries numbered among his patients.
- Pope Paul IV decrees, in his Cum nimis absurdum, that the Jews should wear yellow hats.
- King Sigismund II passes a law that required Lithuanian Jews to wear yellow hats and head coverings. The law was abolished twenty years later.
- Frederick William I of Prussia abolished the mandatory Jewish yellow patch in return for a payment of 8,000 thaler (about $75,000 worth of silver at 2007 prices) each.
- 1935, 15 September
- The Nazi regime announces the Nuremberg Laws, which strip Jews of German citizenship and ban intermarriage between Jews and those of German blood.
- 1938, August 17
- Jewish Germans and stateless Jews with Austrian citizenship are required to adopt additional middle names (mostly Israel or Sarah, few other derogatory names considered "Jewish" were alternatively possible) to be used at any occasion such as signatures, visit cards, addresses, firms etc.
- 1938, October
- Jewish Germans had to turn in their passports to get them stamped in a black J. As Jewish Austrians had been denied German citizenship, their Austrian passports became void.
- 1939, January
- Jewish Germans and Austrians had to adopt special identity cards to be carried on them whenever away from home.
- 1939, September and October
- A number of local German occupational commanders ordered Jewish Poles in their areas to wear an identifying mark under the threat of death. There were no consistent requirements as to its color and shape: it varies from a white armband to a yellow Star of David badge.
- 1939, 23 November
- Hans Frank ordered all Jewish Poles above the age of 11 years in German-occupied Poland to wear white armbands with a blue Magen David on.
- A popular legend portrays king Christian X of Denmark wearing the yellow badge on his daily morning horseback ride through the streets of Copenhagen, followed by non-Jewish Danes responding to their king's example, thus preventing the Germans from identifying Jewish citizens. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has explained that the story was not true. No order requiring Jews to wear identifying marks was ever introduced in Denmark.
- 1941, June 4
- Jews in Independent State of Croatia ordered to wear "Jewish insignia".
- 1941, July
- Jewish Poles in German-occupied Soviet-annexed Poland, Jewish Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians as well as Soviet Jews in German-occupied areas were obliged to wear white armbands or yellow badges.
- 1941, August 8
- All Romanian Jews were ordered to wear the yellow badge.
- 1941, August 13
- The yellow badge was the only standardised identifying mark in the German-occupied East; other signs were forbidden.
- 1941, September 1
- Jewish Germans and Jews with citizenship of annexed states (Austrians, Czechs, Danzigers) from the age of six years were ordered to wear the yellow badge when in public.
- 1941, September 9
- Slovakia ordered its Jews to wear yellow badges.
- Romania started to force Jews in newly annexed territories, denied Romanian citizenship, to wear the yellow badge.
- 1942, March 13
- The Gestapo ordered Jewish Germans and Jews with citizenship of annexed states to mark their apartments or houses at the front door with a white badge.
- 1942, April 29
- Jewish Dutch people forced to wear the yellow badge.
- 1942, June 3
- Jewish Belgians forced to wear the yellow badge.
- 1942, June 7
- Jews in occupied France were ordered to wear a yellow star, but the Vichy Regime refused to comply with that.
- 1942, August
- With the German annexation of Luxembourg, the yellow badge was introduced there.
- 1942, August
- Under German pressure, Bulgaria ordered its Jewish citizens to wear small yellow buttons, but contravention was not prosecuted.
- 1942, November
- With the occupation of the French Zone libre Jews there were also forced to wear the yellow badge.
- 1944, March 31
- After the occupation of Hungary, the German occupants ordered Jewish Hungarians and Jews with defunct other citizenships (Czechoslovakian, Romanian, Yugoslavian) in Hungarian-annexed areas to wear the yellow badge.
- Badge of shame
- Cathar yellow cross
- Christianity and antisemitism
- Dhimmi laws
- History of antisemitism
- Islam and antisemitism
- Judenhut - a medieval Jewish hat, first worn by choice and later mandatory
- Nazi concentration camp badges
- Nuremberg laws
- D'Ancona, Jacob (2003). The City Of Light. New York: Citadel. pp. 23–24. ISBN 0-8065-2463-4. "But the wearing of a badge or outward sign — whose effect, intended or otherwise, successful or not, was to shame and to make vulnerable as well as to distinguish the wearer…"
- Robinson, Chase F. (2005). "Neck-Sealing in early Islam". Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 48 (3): pp. 401–441. doi:10.1163/156852005774342885. Retrieved 2006-08-09.
- Hourani, Albert, A History of the Arab Peoples, London: Faber and Faber, 1991, ISBN 0-571-16663-6, p.117
- Bernard Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites: An Inquiry Into Conflict and Prejudice, 1999, W. W. Norton & Company press, ISBN 0-393-31839-7, p.131
- Lewis, Bernard. The Jews of Islam, Princeton University Press, June 1, 1987, pp. 25-26.
- Jewish Encyclopedia: Yellow badge
- Harbans, Mukhia (2004). The Mughals of India. Blackwell Publishing. p. 153. ISBN 978-0-631-18555-0.
- Nijjar, Bakhshish Singh (1968). Panjāb Under the Great Mughals, 1526-1707. Thacker. p. 128.
- Medieval Sourcebook: Twelfth Ecumenical Council: Lateran IV 1215, Canon 68
- Norman Rose in Medieval Jewish Civilization: An Encyclopedia (Routledge)- "Jewish Clothing".
- Schreckenburg, Heinz, The Jews in Christian Art, pp. 15 and passim, 1996, Continuum, New York, ISBN 0-8264-0936-9.
- Medieval Sourcebook, Las Siete Partidas: Laws on Jews  accessed 18-09-2006
- Eli Birnbaum. "This day in Jewish History". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2006-08-09.
- Schreckenburg:15, although Piponnier and Mane, p. 137 say red was commonest for badges of all shapes, followed by yellow or green, or red and white together.
- Piponnier and Mane, p. 137.
- Schreckenburg: 305.
- "A Day in the Life of 13th Century England". BBC. Retrieved 2006-09-05.
- [http://(Jewish Encyclopedia yellow badge op. cit)
- Françoise Piponnier and Perrine Mane; Dress in the Middle Ages; p. 137, Yale UP, 1997; ISBN 0-300-06906-5.
- Schreckenburg, Heinz, The Jews in Christian Art, p. 15, 1996, Continuum, New York, ISBN 0-8264-0936-9, though the Jewish Encyclopedia cites a reference from 1208 in France. See the Jewish Encyclopedia for the Judenhut being more widespread than the badge.
- Schreckenburg: 308–329.
- Encyclopedia of the Holocaust (at the Museum of Tolerance).
- Polizeiverordnung über die Kennzeichnung der Juden (came into force September 19, 1941).
- Buildings Integral to the Former Life and/or Persecution of Jews in Hamburg
- Smith, Howard K. (1942). Last Train from Berlin. Knopf. pp. 195–199, 203–204.
- al-Mutawakkil's decree of 850 (JVL)
- Roumani, Maurice M. (Summer 2003). "The Silent Refugees: Jews from Arab Countries". Mediterranean Quarterly (Duke University Press) 14 (3): pp. 41–77. doi:10.1215/10474552-14-3-41.
- Fatimids and Seljuks: 909 CE - 1100s CE. How Spain Became the Intellectual Center of the Jewish World (jewishgates.com)
- Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews (1987), p.204
- Taliban to mark Afghan Hindus,CNN
- Taliban: Hindus Must Wear Identity Labels,People's Daily
- US Lawmakers Condemn Taliban Treatment Of Hindus,CNSnews.com
- US lawmakers say: We are Hindus,Rediff.com
- India deplores Taleban decree against Hindus,Rediff.com
- Fourth Lateran Council, Canon 68
- [http://(Jewish Encyclopedia yellow badge op. cit)
- Jacob Mantino ben Samuel, (Jewish Encyclopedia)
- Amos Elon: The Pity of It All: A History of the Jews in Germany, 1743-1933 (Metropolitan Books, 2002) p.15. ISBN 0-8050-5964-4. See talk page for conversion.
- Anne Wolden-Ræthinge (1990) Queen in Denmark, Copenhagen: Gyldendal, ISBN 87-01-08623-5
- Did King Christian X of Denmark wear a yellow star in support of the Danish Jews? (USHMM Research Library). Accessed 2006-08-17.
- Gunnar S. Paulsson, "The Bridge over the Øresund", Journal of Contemporary History, June 1995.
- "Notice regarding the obligatory wearing of Jewish insignia and the marking of Jewish trades, stores and companies.". Jasenovac Memorial Site. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
- Richard J. Evans, The Third Reich at War, 1939-1945, Penguin Books, 2008, p. 231
- Cf. Polizeiverordnung über die Kennzeichnung der Juden (police ordinance on the marking of Jews).
- Die Juden in Deutschland, 1933–1945: Leben unter nationalsozialistischer Herrschaft, Wolfgang Benz (ed.), Munich: Beck, 1988, ISBN 3-406-33324-9, pp. 618seq.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Yellow badge.|
Yellow badges in the Middle Ages
- The Jewish Badge at About.com
- Jewish medieval clothing - article by Norman Roth
- The badge, hat and clothing laws for Jews in the Middle Ages (from Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, with many pictures)
- Origins of the Yellow Star -Ancient Islamic origin of the Yellow Star
- Yellow Badge in Art
Yellow badges in the Nazi period 1939-1945
- A Yellow Star of David Button, Which the Bulgarian Jews were Forced to Wear in 1941 with the Onset of the German Occupation from the Yad Vashem artifacts collection
- "Wear It With Pride, The Yellow Badge" by Robert Weltsch Juedische Rundschau, No. 27, April 4, 1933
- Jewish badge and armbands 1939-1945. How Jews were marked with Jewish stars and armbands by the NS regime in ghettoes and concentration camps (from Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, with many fotos)
Denmark: The king against the yellow badge
- An Exemplary Response - Denmark
- Rescue of the Danish Jews at auschwitz.dk
- King of Denmark and yellow stars at Snopes.com's Urban Legend website