The Story of the Prague Golem


AG: The story goes that a rabbi in Prague was fed up with the pogroms and violence against the Jews in their ghetto. He created a man out of clay and imbued him with the word “emet” to describe god and it became a fierce protector of the ghetto. It successfully fought off violent goyim for some time, but eventually turned on its creators, and went on a violent rampage against the ghetto. It was destroyed by scratching off the ‘e’ in “emet” changing god to “death”. The ghetto in Prague was a real place that existed for hundreds of years. The Jews there had once been slaughtered by the local population


AG: I’d definitely heard the word and the general concepts all over the media since I was a kid. “Golem” is a common association for any sort of creature made out of inorganic materials. I didn’t become more familiar with the specific legend until I played the video game “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream”, which includes a scenario where the Jews of a Nazi concentration camp have built a golem, and you have to help them complete it. I studied it in more detail when I took an ancient to late middle ages Jewish history class in undergrad.


The story of the golem is prevalent throughout Jewish culture as a protector. While some Jewish people genuinely believe in the creation of the golem, the story more serves as a lesson of how only God can create life. This belief is reflected in other Abrahamic religions as well. In Islam, it is forbidden to draw faces due to a similar belief.