Szyk works go on exhibit in Germany

Germany is featuring the works of Jewish artist Arthur Szyk, who used his paintbrush as a weapon against Nazi fascism.

“Arthur Szyk –Drawing against National Socialism and Terror” opened Thursday at the German Historical Museum. Some 200 works are on display, including merciless caricatures of Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito.

The artist’s “motto was action, not pity,” said his daughter, Alexandra Bracie, 85, who came to the opening from her home in Florida. Her father, who died in 1951, “didn’t want people to say, ‘Those poor Jews,’” said Bracie, who is visiting Germany for the first time.

Szyk’s works were familiar to millions of Americans during the war; GIs reportedly even brought them to the front. Szyk also illustrated fairytales, biblical stories and the famous Hagaddah known by his name.

The current exhibit in Germany features works from the collection of Irvin Ungar, director of the California-based Arthur Szyk Society, and Rinjiro Sodei, a Japanese scholar.

Born in Poland in 1894, Szyk emigrated to the United States with his family in 1940. Already famous in Europe, he rapidly attained renown in the United States as a political cartoonist, pressing for U.S. support of Europe in its fight against Hitler. Szyk’s works were seen in the pages of such magazines as Colliers, Time and Esquire.

After the war, Szyk advocated for Israel’s establishment and against racism in the United States. He died in 1951 at the age of 57.

The Berlin exhibit will be open through January 4, 2009.

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