United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Arthur Szyk
jewish artist

[USHMM #93772/Forest Group LLC (Janger Family Collection), Chicago; Original dimensions: 14" x 12" ]
Moses, Aaron, and Hur, 1935

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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 biblical Exodus from ancient Egypt. The haggadah recounts the oppression of the Jews, their resistance, and their struggle for a homeland. As such, it celebrates national liberation. Szyk found inspiration in the story of Moses and the triumph of the Jews over their enemies. Szyk’s Haggadah served as both an attack on the Nazis and a Zionist plea.

This scene draws upon
Exodus 17:8–13, which recounts the ancient Jews’ battle against their enemy, Amalek, as they marched toward the Promised Land. To the left of Moses is his brother Aaron, the High Priest, and to the right is Hur, a military leader. These two men are holding up Moses’ arms. According to the Bible, as long as Moses held up his arms, the Hebrews would win the battle against the Amalekites. If Moses were to lower his arms, the Israelites would lose.

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