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July 05, 2002 - Image 97

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-07-05

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Szyk looked for a broader audience
and his anti-Nazi cartoons landed in
magazines such as Look and Collier's.
The New York Post hired Szyk as well.

Political Activist

The exhibit features 145 original
pieces, many showcasing Szyk's efforts
to produce anti-Hitler art.
In one of his most famous images of
Hitler, Anti-Christ, Szyk placed skulls
in Hitler's eyes and showed the Angel
of Death holding the slogan of
Germany and Jews being marched
into slavery.
In another cartoon, Szyk showed
Hitler's favorite composer, Richard
Wagner, unleashing music from his
piano propped up by a bomb and
German leaders marching and display-
ing their brutality.
As Szyk became more of a political
activist, he began advocating for the
creation of a Jewish army and state.
He supported militant Zionists such as
Vladimir Jabotinsky and coupled the
promotion of Israel with the need to
help European Jews flee their fate.
The campaign, called "Action Not
Pity," urged American Jews to save the
millions who were being killed.
In a full-page ad in the New York
Times on Feb. 8, 1943, Szyk's Tears of
Rage illustration — which depicts Jews
dying — accompanied the call for
action from organizations that wanted to
rebuild Palestine as a nation for the Jews.
Indeed, Szyk resurrected some of his
best-known illustrations and trans-
formed their message into art advocat-
ing for a Jewish state.
In an ad for the American League
for a Free Palestine, he drew a modern
version of the "Four Sons" from the
Haggadah, depicting the wise son as a
U.S. citizen who wants to help the
Jews and the wicked and simple sons
as ignorant of the Jews' plight.
Szyk never moved to Israel, but he
lived long enough to see its creation.
He illustrated the Israeli Declaration
of Independence and included Moses,
Aaron and Hur as the watchdogs of
the nation's security.
In some of his work, Szyk placed
himself in the images, perhaps to show
his awareness that much of his art
interprets Jewish history.
This exhibit demonstrates that
Szyk's work is now part of Jewish his-
tory as well.


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