United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Haggadah page, 1935
The Art and Politics of Arthur Szyk
jewish artist

[USHMM #71420/Forest Group LLC (Janger Family Collection), Chicago;
Original materials: Watercolor, gouache, graphite, and ink on paper;
Original dimensions: 14" x 12"]

Haggadah page: Star of David with "Seder Shel Pesach" in Hebrew, 1935
When Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, Szyk had already begun planning to illustrate the haggadah, the text read yearly by Jews at Passover to commemorate the Exodus from ancient Egypt. It recounts the oppression of the Jews, their resistance, and their struggle for a homeland. As such, it celebrates national liberation.

Szyk's Haggadah served as both an attack on the Nazis and a Zionist plea. He originally planned to paint swastikas on the Egyptians and dedicate it to Germany's Jews. Although anxious printers forced Szyk to remove the Nazi emblems, the allusions to contemporary events are unmistakable. Taken from
Exodus 2:11, this scene illustrates the murder of a Hebrew by an Egyptian. It dramatizes the brutal oppression of the Jewish people in ancient Egypt. In his portrayal of the Egyptian, Szyk makes a subtle allusion to the Third Reich, depicting the perpetrator with an armband similar to those worn by the Nazis.

Wartime Caricaturist
Action - Not Pity
Szyk resources
Wartime Caricaturist