Who is Arthur Szyk?
When Hitler invaded Poland, caricaturist and activist Arthur Szyk was drawn to action. His pen became a weapon against hatred and injustice.
Szyk was a proud Polish-Jew, and later, also a proud American. He was an incredibly talented artist who could create finely detailed and elegant “medieval” Jewish art as well as political and satirical caricatures—which he did the moment Nazi boots stepped onto Polish soil. He expressed his feelings with an energetic palette of dramatic color and the use of exaggerated features to humiliate the people he despised and glorify those he wanted to portray as heroic or powerful.
“Art is not my aim, it is my means,” Szyk proclaimed. His artwork became his way of participating in the war against the Nazis and the Axis powers. He was on a mission, literally “to alert and inform the Americans about the gravity of the situation in Europe.” Eleanor Roosevelt described him as “a one-man army” for the Allied cause.
Ever an activist, his later artwork allowed him to become a voice against Jim Crow, the KKK and lynching.
Kathy and Harlan Crow
Gregg and Michelle Philipson Collection and Archive
Jan Karski Polish School of Dallas
A special thanks to 70kft for graphic design.