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The Museum’s Collections document the fate of Holocaust victims, survivors, rescuers, liberators, and others through artifacts, documents, photos, films, books, personal stories, and more. Search below to view digital records and find material that you can access at our library and at the Shapell Center.
Block of four postage stamps from Liberia, denomination of 1, with art work by Arthur Szyk. Stamps are multi-colored and show two male figures walking along with baskets on their backs.
Arthur Szyk was born on June 16, 1894, to Jewish parents, Solomon and Eugenia Szyk in Łódź, Poland, which at the time was part of the Russian Empire. He had his first public art exhibition at age fifteen, and then went to Paris, France, for formal art training at the Academie Julian. He visited Palestine in 1914 with a group of Polish-Jewish artists and studied Muslim art. Upon his return, he was conscripted into the Russian Army and served about six months in World War I. He married Julia Liekerman in 1916, and they had a son, George, in 1917. In 1918, Poland regained independence, but continued to fight a series of regional wars to secure its boundaries. Between 1919 and 1920, during Poland's war against the Soviet Bolsheviks, Syzk served as a cavalry officer and artistic director of the Department of Propaganda for the Polish army regiment quartered in Łódź.
In 1921, he and his family moved to Paris where his daughter, Alexandra was born the following year. He was well known for his magnificent illuminations and book illustrations, in a style reminiscent of Persian miniatures. He worked on several significant projects in France, including illustrating the Statute of Kalisz and the Haggadah, and a series of watercolors on the American Revolutionary War. The great themes of his most admired work, democracy and Judaism, were already well established, earning him both fame and significant commissions. In 1934, Szyk traveled to the United States for exhibitions of his work and to receive the George Washington Bicentennial Medal, awarded by the U.S. Congress. He resided in England from 1937-1940 to supervise the publication of Haggadah. In 1939, following Germany's invasion of Poland, he focused on producing anti-Nazi editorial cartoons published in many Western newspapers and magazines.
In late 1940, he immigrated to the United States with his family. He became a leading anti-Fascist political caricaturist as well as an advocate for Jewish rescue. His experience of the Holocaust was personal: in 1943, his 70 year old mother, Eugenia, and her Polish companion were deported from the Łódź ghetto and murdered in Majdanek concentration camp. In addition to his widely published satirical art, Szyk devoted a great deal of time and energy to the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe, and to promoting the establishment of an independent Jewish state in Palestine. Szyk received his US citizenship in 1948. In 1951, he was investigated by the United States House Un-American Activities Committee as a suspected Communist. His son, speaking on his behalf, declared his non-affiliation with any Communist organization. That same year, on September 13, Szyk died at 57 of a heart attack.
Learn about over 1,000 camps and ghettos in Volume I and II of this encyclopedia, which are available as a free PDF download. This reference provides text, photographs, charts, maps, and extensive indexes.