The Yellow Badge

There’s an old saying that “clothes make the man”. It suggests that your clothes tell the world who you are and what you are about. From the 7th century in Islamic countries and from the 13th century in Christian countries, Jews were forced to wear different clothes or a different hat-כּוֹבַע – in order to be identified by the population of the particular country they were in.

This item of clothing or hat was actually a sign of disgrace- -אוֹת קָלוֹן – for the Jewish community. When you think about the yellow badge-טְלַאי צָהֹב- that the Jews from the age of six were commanded to wear in the Ghettoes of Nazi Europe, you must take into account that this wasn’t something new – this trend began in the Middle Ages and yellow in particular was the color for Jews in Islamic countries.


In 1939, all the Jews in Poland were forced to wear a yellow Star of David with the caption of the word “Jew” in the language of the place, for example, “Jude” in German.
To this day, the yellow Star of David is still one of the best known symbols of Jewish incarceration in ghettoes and camps during the Nazi Holocaust. People of other groups that were targeted by the Nazis, like Homosexuals and Gypsies, had to wear a different badge. As a direct reaction to this badge the IDF decided to award the badge of courage in the same color- yellow.

We pray that the world will never again see another Holocaust.

Photo: Ilana Shkolnik (Pikiwiki)

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