United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The Statute of Kalisz, 1926-1930: Italian page, 1928
The Art and Politics of Arthur Szyk
jewish artist

The Statute of Kalisz, 1926-1930: Hebrew page, 1927
The Statute of Kalisz, 1926-1930: English page, 1928
[USHMM #93807/Irvin Ungar through the Arthur Szyk Society;
Original dimensions: 15 3/16" x 12 11/16"]
The Statute of Kalisz, 1926–1930: Italian page, 1928
In the Statute of Kalisz, a legal document issued in 1264, Polish duke Boleslaw the Pious guaranteed Jews particular rights in his domains. The Statute stands as unusual example of religious toleration in an intolerant age. In 1926, following Marshal Jozef Pilsudski's coup d'etat in Poland, Szyk turned to this medieval document for inspiration. Dedicated to Pilsudski, who was regarded as a friend of the Jews, the illuminated manuscript constitutes a plea for toleration. It depicts the economic benefits that Jews had brought Poland and their heroism in the struggle for freedom against the country's enemies.


Detail from Italian page showing scene from Lodz
On this page, Szyk depicted a scene from his youth showing Jews and Poles in Lodz fighting on the barricades against tsarist troops during the 1905 Russian Revolution. The figures in the center hold flags emblazoned with the Polish and Hebrew initials for the Polish Socialist Party, Pilsudski's political organization.




 
The Statute of Kalisz, 1926-1930: Hebrew page, 1927

[USHMM #93808/Irvin Ungar through the Arthur Szyk Society; Original dimensions: 15 3/16" x 12 11/16"]
The Statute of Kalisz, 1926–1930: Hebrew page, 1927
Detail from Hebrew page Detail from Hebrew page
The illustrations on this page depict Berek Joselewicz’s Jewish Legion defense of the Praga district of Warsaw against Russian troops during the Kosciuszko Uprising of 1794. Szyk dedicated the plate to the memory of his Polish co-religionists who died fighting for their country.



 
The Statute of Kalisz, 1926-1930: English page, 1928

Exhibition tour
exhibition
tour
[USHMM #93809/Irvin Ungar through the Arthur Szyk Society; Original dimensions: 15 3/16" x 12 11/16"]
The Statute of Kalisz, 1926–1930: English page, 1928
Detail from English page showing Casimir Pulaski Detail from English page showing St. George Detail from English page showing Hayim Salomon
Among the Statute’s 45 illuminated plates are translations of the original Latin document into Polish, Hebrew, Yiddish, Italian, German, English, and Spanish. The English-language page, geared for both British and American audiences, displays St. George and the dragon. This representation of Great Britain and the battle between good and evil is coupled with portraits of two figures from Poland who played roles in the American Revolution, Casimir Pulaski and Hayim Salomon.




 
[Exhibition tour with video illustration:
Statute of Kalisz, English page

Playing time 1:11

Narration from audio tour produced by Antenna Audio.]




Listen to the description of Statute of Kalisz, English page, from the audio tour produced to accompany the Museum's exhibition. The video clip highlights features described in the narration.




Introduction
Wartime Caricaturist
Action - Not Pity
Szyk resources
Wartime Caricaturist
MORE Szyk


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