[USHMM #93762/Dr. Samuel Halperin, Washington, D.C.;Original dimensions: 13 3/4" x 10 3/4" x 3/8"] United Palestine Appeal 1941 yearbook
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Szyk’s political activism on behalf of Europe’s Jews was intimately linked with his support ofZionism.His images in support of the modern Jewish state welded the bravery of the ancient Hebrews with the valor of the “new Jews” who forged a homeland in Palestine, serving as a fitting culmination to an artistic career dedicated to showing the world that the Jews were a heroic people, steeled by adversity and triumphant in spirit.
Arthur Szyk designed this poster in 1941 to publicize and mobilize support for the creation of a Jewish army to fight against the Axis powers and to rescue persecuted Jews in Europe. This piece, created for the mainstream Zionist United Palestine Appeal, depicts a Jewish soldier as the hope of liberation for Europe’s persecuted Jews (lower left) and the defender of Zionist pioneers in Palestine (lower right). The Star of David is inscribed with Roman-era Rabbi Hillel’s famous adage, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?”—a phrase that appears frequently in Szyk’s work as an individual and national injunction.