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Poster of a Jewish Communist soldier gloating at hanged war heroes

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.351

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    Poster of a Jewish Communist soldier gloating at hanged war heroes

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    Brief Narrative
    Poster with a cartoon of a Jewish Bolshevik gloating over a street with Transylvanian war heroes hanged from scaffolds during the Red Terror of Bela Kun's short lived Hungarian Soviet Republic. The collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of World War I (1914-1918) and the 1917 Russian Revolution led to political instability. Bela Kun, born Bela Cohn to a Jewish father, was radicalized as a Communist while a POW in Russia. In 1919, he led a coup and established a Communist regime. One of the goals was to restore Hungary's prewar borders by reclaiming Transylvania. There were large scale executions of anti-communists and perceived opponents and widespread acts of arbitrary violence. The hanged men in the poster wear the traditional costume of the Kalotaszeg region of western Transylvania (now part of Romania), where the majority of the population were Reformed Presbyterian Hungarians, unlikely to support a Communist regime. After about four months, Kun's Hungarian Soviet Republic was overthrown by Romania. This poster is one of more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic visual materials.
    Artwork Title
    Ezert Harcoltunk?
    Alternate Title
    Is this why we fought?
    publication/distribution:  1919
    publication: Sopron (Hungary)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    front, top right, black ink : EZÉRT HARCOLTUNK? [Is this why we fought?]
    front, bottom right, black ink : ROTTIG-ROMWALTER NYOMDA R.-T. SOPRON [Rottig-Romwalter Printers Plc. Sopron]
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Publisher: Rottig Romwalter Printing
    Artist: Manno Miltiades
    The Katz Ehrenthal Collection is a collection of more than 900 objects depicting Jews and antisemitic and anti-Jewish propaganda from the medieval to the modern era, in Europe, Russia, and the United States. The collection was amassed by Peter Ehrenthal, a Romanian Holocaust survivor, to document the pervasive history of anti-Jewish hatred in Western art, politics and popular culture. It includes crude folk art as well as pieces created by Europe's finest craftsmen, prints and periodical illustrations, posters, paintings, decorative art, and toys and everyday household items decorated with depictions of stereotypical Jewish figures.

    Physical Details

    Physical Description
    Poster printed in black ink on light brown paper of a drawing of an oversized uniformed soldier looking at a row of men hanging on single frame gallows on the sidewalk in front of a row of homes. A crying woman and child stand near the foremost gallows; a grieving woman clings to the base of the next 3 gallows. The hanged men wear traditional Transylvanian dress: gatya, or heavily pleated, flowing white pants, blouses, and black vests with war medals. The soldier wears a cap with a 5 point star badge and ribbons, a tunic, a Tom Browne belt with 3 stick grenades, jodphurs, puttees, and boots. He stands in the middle of the street, fists on hips, a riding crop in his right hand, body forward, head in right profile. He has stereotypically Jewish features: large, fleshy ears and a huge curved nose, and glares at the hanged men with an angry expression of approval. A church steeple with a cross is visible near the end of the street. The Hungarian caption is in the top right.
    overall: Height: 24.875 inches (63.183 cm) | Width: 35.250 inches (89.535 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 donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016 by the Katz Family.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Special Collection
    Katz Ehrenthal Collection
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:30:29
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