In the dispute over the “Judensau” relief on the Wittenberg town church in Saxony-Anhalt, a man has filed a constitutional complaint after his defeat at the Federal Court of Justice (BGH), as announced. A spokesman for the Federal Constitutional Court confirmed receipt of the letter on Wednesday in Karlsruhe. Dietrich Düllmann, who converted to Judaism in 1978 and has called himself Michael since then, wants the court to have the anti-Jewish sandstone relief from the 13th century removed.

His lawyers are demanding that the BGH judgment be overturned and the case referred back to the Court of Justice. The relief is to be removed “in view of the serious violation of personal rights associated with it, not only of the complainant, but of every Jew in Germany,” says the constitutional complaint, which is available to “Spiegel” and the German Press Agency.

The relief shows a sow whose teats are being suckled by two people who are supposed to be identified as Jews by their pointed hats. According to the BGH, a figure considered a rabbi lifts the animal’s tail and looks into the anus. In the Jewish faith, pigs are considered unclean.

The BGH had decided in June that a floor plate and a display with an explanatory text would transform the church community from the “shame” into a “memorial”, according to the highest civil judges in Germany in Karlsruhe (Az. VI ZR 172/20). The decision was met with criticism and incomprehension.

An expert advisory board has recommended that the parish church council of the Wittenberg town church “promptly accept” the anti-Jewish relief “Judensau”. A spokesman for the committee said on Tuesday. It is necessary to “bring about a clear change in the previous situation, which removes the sculpture with the title from the current visibility”.

The best way to do this is “by accepting the sculpture and bringing it into a context that adequately contextualises it,” says the statement at the final meeting of the expert panel convened in 2020.

According to the current status, the parish church council wants to meet at the end of August to discuss the recommendations. The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled in June that the sandstone relief from the 13th century known as “Judensau” on the Wittenberg town church does not have to be removed.