RACIAL PROFILING, 1509: The Jewish pawnbroker.
From a nasty diatribe against the Jews by the convert Johann Pfefferkorn:When someone comes to a Jew with an article to be pawned, the Jew knows that that person is under duress.
- The Christian shows him a ring, expecting a certain amount of money for it. The Jew inspects it all round and replies: No, I cannot lend you that much. The Christian is in desperate need for money and says: How much then will you lend me? Then the Jew turns the pawn back and forth, inspecting it closely and, after a long examination, says: A ring, of all things! And he names a small sum he is willing to lend on it, say, one gulden.
- The Christian takes the gulden in the hope that he will soon be able to redeem his pawn, but he becomes poorer by the day, and when one year is over and the Christian does not redeem his pawn, which is worth much more than the loan, it has passed by default to the Jew for the small sum he lent for it.
- If the Christian comes before the year is over to settle his account, interest has accrued on it and his debt now amounts to 1 gulden, 34 pence, and 8 hellers. The Christian cannot pay and begs the Jew to let the interest accrue together with the initial loan at the usual rate. Then the Jew replies: With pleasure, but you need to bring me more collateral. And that is what the Christian does.
- The second year, the original loan plus the interest amounts to 2 gulden and 46 pence and 4 hellers. The Christian cannot pay it and begs the Jews, as before, to let the interest accrue. But if he cannot bring him more collateral, the Jew takes the pawn into the city and publicly offers it for sale. Thus the Christian is embarrassed before a number of people, and so he brings everything he has in his house and privately hands it over to the Jew. Now that the Jew has for one gulden goods valued at a hundred gulden or more, the poor Christian has nothing left to pawn and runs away and must live in poverty for the rest of his life. This happens a great deal and often.
(Image from The Calculation of Ruprecht Kolperger, 1491)