shtreimel is the Jewish hat with the most mysterious story behind it. Today considered as a holy hat which emphasizes the divine in the head of his wearer, the legend has it, that it is the biggest sign of humiliation ever imposed on the Jews of Europe.
It started during the Fourth Council of the Lateran under Pope Inocent III. when in Canon 68 was proclaimed:
Jews and Saracens of both sexes in every Christian province must be distinguished from the Christian by a difference of dress. On Passion Sunday and the last three days of Holy Week they may not appear in public.
In consequence Jews had to wear a special headgear as well.
In the Netherlands and other European countries the outcasts were forced to wear a fur tail (fox tail) on their back.
In this context Jews wrapped fur tails around their hats.
A further story I read was that in Russia Jews wrapped fur tails around their kippot that they remain unrecognized in the public and couldn't be identified as Jews.
Another hat which humiliates the Jewish people was the Jewish Hat.
© picture from A History of Jewish Costume
© picture: Raymond Faure
Reenactment in Goslar, Germany
See as well the very instructive film:
and the article:
by Michal Friedlander