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Set of US poster stamps encouraging people to donate to a humanitarian organization

Object | Accession Number: 2017.227.39

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    Set of US poster stamps encouraging people to donate to a humanitarian organization

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Partial sheet of poster stamps distributed in 1941 by the American Federation for Polish Jews. The design was created by the Jewish artist, Arthur Szyk, to develop public interest in the Federation’s humanitarian efforts. Szyk was himself an immigrant born in Łódź, Poland, and lost his mother in the Holocaust, making the Federation’s mission a personal cause for him. Although they were not valid for postage, poster stamps could be affixed to letters and envelopes as fund-raising, propaganda, and educational tools. The American Federation for Polish Jews was founded in 1908 in New York City as the Federation of Russian-Polish Hebrews, and changed their name in the 1920s. During the Holocaust, the American Federation coordinated with the World Federation to provide relief and assistance to Jews living in Poland.
    Date
    issue:  1941 May 18
    Geography
    issue: New York (N.Y.)
    distribution: United States.
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum collection, gift of Gregg and Michelle Philipson
    Markings
    front, top, within frame, printed, white : THEY SHALL NOT DIE
    front, bottom, within frame, printed, white : AMERICAN FEDERATION / FOR / POLISH JEWS
    front, bottom, margin, printed, blue ink : AMERICAN BANK NOTE CO. LITHO.
    Signature
    front, bottom right corner, within frame, printed, blue ink : ARTHUR SZYK
    Contributor
    Distributor: American Federation for Polish Jews
    Designer: Arthur Szyk
    Printer: American Bank Note Company
    Biography
    Arthur Szyk (1894-1951) was born 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 15, 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 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 in Łódź. In 1921, he and his family moved to Paris where his daughter, Alexandra was born the following year.

    Szyk was well known for his 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, the Haggadah, and a series of watercolors on the American Revolutionary War. The themes of his most admired works, 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 US Congress. He resided in England from 1937-1940 to supervise the publication of the Haggadah. In 1939, following Germany's invasion of Poland, he focused on producing anti-Nazi editorial cartoons published in many Western newspapers and magazines. During the German occupation of Poland, his 70 year old mother, Eugenia, and her Polish companion were forced to live in the Łódź ghetto. In 1943, they were transported to Majdanek concentration camp and killed.

    In late 1940, Szyk immigrated to the United States with his family. He became a leading anti-Fascist political caricaturist as well as an advocate for Jewish rescue. 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 pushed for 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. Later that year, on September 13, Szyk suffered a heart attack and died at age 57.

    Physical Details

    Language
    English
    Classification
    Posters
    Object Type
    Poster stamps (lcsh)
    Genre/Form
    Stamps.
    Physical Description
    Row of four rectangular poster stamps, separated by perforated edges, on cream paper with blue printed images and an adhesive backing. The left edge is unperforated. All four stamps bear the same markings and image featuring three figures. On the left is a man wearing a kippah and an armband with the Star of David. In the center is an elderly, Jewish man with a large beard, wearing a wide-brimmed hat, a white armband with the Star of David, and a tallit under his long, dark coat. The elderly man has is left arm around an elderly woman to the right, who is wearing decorated tichel. The central image is placed inside a decorative frame with an arched top and set within a blue rectangle. There is scrollwork within each corner. The slogan is printed across the top and the distributing organization is across the bottom. The artist’s name is printed within the frame in the lower right corner, and the name of the printer is across the bottom. The left edge has staining that extends onto the back, and the two stamps on the right have a long, diagonal crease. On the back, the rightmost stamp has a blue misprint.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 2.000 inches (5.08 cm) | Width: 6.000 inches (15.24 cm)
    Materials
    overall : paper, ink, adhesive

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Szyk, Arthur, 1894-1951.

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The stamp was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2017 by Gregg Philipson.
    Record last modified:
    2024-01-16 14:25:23
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn562739

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