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Poster promoting enlistment for the Jewish Brigade designed by the Shamir brothers

Object | Accession Number: 2011.270.3

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    Brief Narrative
    Poster encouraging Jewish enlistment in the British army with the goal of establishing a Jewish Brigade in Palestine created by Gabriel and Maxim Shamir in 1941. The brothers, both graphic designers, created many works that helped shaped the culture and political environment in Palestine before and during World War II, and in Israel following its independence. Great Britain had ruled Palestine under a League of Nations mandate since 1920. Beginning in 1940, the Jews of Palestine were permitted to enlist in units of the British Army attached to the East Kent Regiment. In the following years, many petitions requesting that these Jews be allowed to fight as a single unit under the Jewish national flag were submitted to the British government. In September 1944, the government responded to the petitions by establishing the Jewish Brigade. It included more than 5000 Jewish volunteers living in Palestine and was the only independent, national Jewish unit to serve in WWII. The Group served under the Zionist flag. It served in combat during the final battles for the liberation of Italy. The British dissolved the Brigade in the summer of 1946.
    Artwork Title
    The Order On Everyone’s Lips
    creation:  1941
    creation: Palestine
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
    front, bottom, printed, black ink : Hebrew characters [Here is the order on everyone’s lips: / From ten thousand to twenty thousand!]
    front, bottom left, printed, white : Hebrew Characters [Shamir]
    Designer: Gabriel Shamir
    Artist: Gabriel Shamir
    Publisher: St?udyo ha-ah?im Shamir
    Guttel (Gabriel) and Maxim Scheftelowitsch (later Shamir), were born in 1909 and 1910 respectively, in Libau, Russia (now Liepaja, Latvia), to a Jewish couple. Following World War I (1914-1918), and the subsequent collapse of the Russian Empire, the Republic of Latvia was established. Both brothers were trained at the Charlottenburg School of Arts in Berlin, Germany: Gabriel from 1926 – 1930, and Maxim from 1928 – 1933. While Maxim was still in school, Gabriel worked at design firms in Berlin and Stockholm, Sweden. In 1933, following Maxim’s graduation, the brothers moved to Riga, Latvia, and opened their own design studio, Scheftelowitsch Brothers, in their parent’s apartment. Both brothers married and started families. In approximately 1935, Gabriel and Maxim immigrated to Tel Aviv, Palestine, and changed their surname to Shamir. They settled their families into an apartment, from which they ran a graphics and advertising studio, Sṭudyo ha-aḥim Shamir. They designed posters, advertisements, and labels for consumer products using modern language and their own distinctive text styles. They often included Zionist iconography, Palestinian landscapes, pioneering stereotypes, and images of soldiers in their works. They were also among the founding members of the Association of Jewish Commercial Artists in Palestine.

    Following World War II (1939-1945) and the establishment of the State of Israel, the brothers expanded their repertoire to include designs for national books, currency bills and coins, emblems, journals, medals, pamphlets, stamps, and many other items. In 1949, they won first prize for designing the State Emblem for Israel, and in 1958, they won the competition to design 4 of the new currency bills issued by the Bank of Israel, with some elements contributed by Jakob Zim. The studio was commissioned to create messages to help increase support for national bond purchases, compulsory education, and the war on the black market. Their work was dynamic and drew heavily from the constantly changing elements of Israeli culture as it grew more defined. They modernized their designs and distinctive fonts to reflect the needs of their customers and audiences, while still drawing from the traditional cultural elements that defined their earlier work. In 1974, they closed their studio, but continued to work independently. Gabriel retired and served as a volunteer designer for graphics needed by hospitals, non-profits, and universities. Maxim continued working and focused on stamp designs for African, Asian, and Central American nations. Maxim, aged 80, died in 1990, and Gabriel, aged 83, died in 1992.

    Physical Details

    War propaganda
    Physical Description
    Rectangular color poster printed on medium weight, offwhite paper depicting 4 uniformed soldiers in left facing profile from the chest up. The men do not have detailed features, the elements of their faces and uniforms are instead highlighted by the placement of green, and orange ink layered over each other to create a brown shade. They have brown hair and orange skin, with their faces and necks in brown as though in shadow beneath their helmets. They wear matching green uniforms with brown details: a low, domed helmet with a flared rim and fastened chin strap in green and a collared jacket with a shoulder strap. The helmet edges overlap and the uniforms merge together at the bottom. There are two, full-width lines of large, bold, black Hebrew text printed across the bottom. The artist’s signature is printed on the bottom left. In the background, there are narrow, elongated, offwhite clouds against an orange sky. The edges are folded and torn, and some ink has bled onto the back.
    overall: Height: 5.875 inches (14.923 cm) | Width: 11.875 inches (30.163 cm)
    overall : paper, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The poster was acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2011.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2024-04-01 11:41:21
    This page:

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