United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Wartime Caricaturist The Art and Politics of Arthur Szyk

Modern Moses, 1943
"If there was ever an artist who believed that ...
action - not pity
United Palestine Appeal 1941 yearbook
Examine this artwork
United Palestine Appeal 1941 yearbook, Detail

Jewish Artist
Wartime Caricaturist

Berlin Sportpalast: To the Shelter, 1942
Illegal Immigrant Ship and the Mayflower, 1946
Israel in Chains, 1939
De Profundis, 1943

action - not pity

...an hour of valor was better than a lifetime of furtiveness and cringe...
During World War II, Arthur Szyk was perhaps the most prominent artist in the United States advocating the rescue of Jews. When Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, the artist immediately began attacking the regime for its anti-Jewish policy, but his fervor increased with the outbreak of war. By 1940, he realized that Nazi antisemitism was of an “exterminatory brand” and he sought to bring the suffering of the Jews to the world’s attention. The Allies, he believed, were treating the plight of the Jews like “pornography”; “nobody denies it, but you cannot discuss it in polite society.”

The slogan “action—not pity” served as the watchword for the Zionist Revisionist
Bergson group, and it appeared on many of their advertisements.

Jewish Artist
Wartime Caricaturist
Action - Not Pity
Szyk resources
Szyk resources

Tears of Rage
...it was Szyk. "
- Ben Hecht
Declaration of Independence for the State of Israel, 1948
To Be Shot as Dangerous Enemies of the Third Reich, 1944
Moses, Aaron, and Hur, 1949
Oh Ye Dry Bones, Hear the Word of the Lord, 1944
Related Articles
The Holocaust
The Final Solution
Jewish Brigade Group
Aliyah Bet
Establishment of the State of Israel
Displaced Persons
The Aftermath of the Holocaust