[USHMM #93704/Irvin Ungar through the Arthur Szyk Society; Original materials: Graphite and ink on board; Original dimensions: 7 1/2" x 10 15/16"] "Illegal" Immigrant Ship and the Mayflower,1946 When
World War II ended in 1945, Szyk devoted his political energies to winning popular support for the creation of a modern Jewish state in Palestine. He dramatized the conflict in Palestine in terms that many in the United States could understand, as a struggle for freedom and independence against British tyranny.
In this drawing, Szyk compared the plight of Jews seeking a home in Palestine to that of the Pilgrims, seeing both as victims of British tyranny: the latter because they could not worship openly in England, and the former because they were denied entry into Palestine. On the back of the artwork is a reference to the Smyrna, an immigrant ship intercepted by the British navy as it sailed toward Palestine in 1946.
[Historical film footage: Jewish refugees arrive in Haifa and are interned
The ship Henrietta Szold, carrying more than 500 Jewish illegal immigrants from Greece to Palestine, arrived in Haifa on August 14, 1946. British authorities immediately interned the immigrants and deported them to British internment camps on the island of Cyprus.
[Interview: Steve Luckert
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C. 2002
Playing time 1:20]
Dr. Steve Luckert, curator of The Art and Politics of Arthur Szyk, speaks about Szyk's love for the United States and American history. He describes how Szyk saw "in American history the struggle for freedom that he would later portray in the Jewish struggle for a state in Palestine."
Refugees crowd the rail of the Aliyah Bet ("illegal" immigration) ship Josiah Wedgwood, anchored at the Haifa port. British soldiers detained the passengers in the Atlit internment center.
Palestine, June 27, 1946.
[USHMM #36003/American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee]
A view of a British detention camp which held 11,000 Jewish immigrants to Palestine.