Jews in Worms Wearing the Compulsory Yellow Ring Badge (Late 16th Century)


In the 15th century, most Jews were expelled from the larger cities and territories of the Holy Roman Empire. Around 1600, Jews accounted for a mere 0.2–0.5% (approx.) of the general population of the Empire. Over the course of the Early Modern period, the Jewish population rebounded, but members of the growing Jewish community were marginalized and stigmatized. Mandatory dress codes (e.g. the need for Jews to wear yellow ring badges) aimed to make Jews recognizable and distinguishable from Christians. These two colored pen-and ink-drawings show a man and a woman in Jewish dress, complete with compulsory yellow ring badges.


Source: Jews in Worms wearing the compulsory yellow ring badge, late 16th century. Colored pen-and-ink drawings. Reprinted in Marcus zum Lamm, Thesaurus Picturarum, Bd. 23, fol. 121, 122r, Darmstadt, Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek, Sign. Hs. 1971, XXIII. Also reprinted in Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation. 962 bis 1806. Altes Reich und Neue Staaten 1495 bis 1806. Catalogue, edited by Hans Ottomeyer, Jutta Götzmann, and Ansgar Reiss. Dresden, 2006, pp. 388–89.

Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Darmstadt

Wolfgang Treue, Geschichte der jüdischen Gemeinde in der Reichsstadt Frankfurt am Main zu Beginn der Frühen Neuzeit 15201650 (as part of Germania Judaica IV) (forthcoming).

Jews in Worms Wearing the Compulsory Yellow Ring Badge (Late 16th Century), published in: German History Intersections, <> [November 29, 2023].