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Cartoon of a Russian bear urging a poor Jew to go to England

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.658

Political cartoon created by artist Alfred Bryan, and published in 1891 by the English comic periodical, “Moonshine." Alfred Bryan was an English illustrator who created cartoons for “Moonshine” and many similar publications during the late-19th century. “Moonshine” combined social and political commentary with humor in stories and cartoons. Comic periodicals were popular in England throughout the 19th century. In the image, an indignant Jewish man stands before a stern-looking, anthropomorphized bear symbolizing Russia. Next to the man, an opulently dressed, English-Jewish businessman urges the man to immigrate to England. The cartoon mockingly satirizes the very real plight of late-19th century Russian Jews. Many in Russia falsely blamed Jews for the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881. As a result, antisemitism and Jewish persecution became increasingly harsh. Over the next several decades, pogroms broke out in towns and villages throughout Russia, laws restricting Jewish movement and life were passed, and Jews were expelled from Moscow. In response to the persecution, many Jews emigrated. Over 2 million Jews left Eastern Europe, and approximately 120,000 of those settled in England. However, the Jews face nativist and antisemitic sentiments in England as well. Jews were accused of taking jobs from locals, pushing up rent prices, and exacerbating the horrible working conditions. In 1905, the English Parliament passed the Aliens Act, which denied “undesirable immigrants” entry into the country. Although the wording of the act was vague, it was used to target Jewish and Eastern European immigrants. The image, showing a Jew inviting another foreign Jew into the country highlights these nativist sentiments. This political cartoon is one of more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic visual materials.

Artwork Title
The Jews in Russia, Moonshine, February 28, 1891
publication/distribution:  1891 February 28
publication: London (England)
Political cartoons.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 18:13:49
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