Abroad in UK & Canada
1937 - 1940
The Szyks relocate to the United Kingdom.
Szyk works with Beaconsfield Press to supervise the publication of The Haggadah.
The Haggadah includes this dedication page to King George VI, and features St George fighting the dragon, symbolic of good fighting evil. The page draws the King’s attention to ‘the Afflictions of my people, Israel” and is signed by Szyk. The page also features a self-portrait, showing Szyk leaning against a medallion, in what appears to be military dress, holding a palette and brushes.
Nazi violence against German Jews increases in intensity.
Germany marches into Austria. The Munich Agreement is signed by Germany, Great Britain, and Italy, allowing the annexation of parts of Czechoslovakia by Germany.
The Sturmabteilung paramilitary forces and non-Jewish civilians carry out a bloody anti-Semitic pogrom resulting in the deaths of many Jews, unchecked by the Nazi authorities. Synagogues and Jewish businesses were ransacked and smashed. 30,000 Jews were interned in Concentration Camps.
Called Kristallnacht, these events were widely reported; Szyk would have been aware of these atrocities while working in the UK on The Haggadah. This unpublished dedication page contains the words: “This is presented to our brothers, the Jewish people of Germany and Austria, who were persecuted because of their race and their faith and who gave their lives for the sanctification of God’s name.”
Nazi invasion of Western Poland begins World War II.
Anschluss unifies Germany and Austria. The German/Soviet non-aggression pact divides Poland between the two nations. The Soviets invade Eastern Poland after the Nazi invasion of the West.
In Poland Greets her Good Neighbors, Szyk depicts a struggling Poland (shown as a Polish soldier), beset on one side by Germany (in the form of Hitler) and on the other by the Soviet Union (represented by by Stalin).
The Glorious Days of the Polish American Fraternity is exhibited.
Commissioned by the Polish government, this large series of works was shown at the Polish Pavilion at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. It explored the relationship between Poland and the US through significant contributions made by individual Poles to the history of the US.
This work celebrates the friendship between President Woodrow Wilson and Ignacy Paderewski (the Polish premier), who both worked for freedom and democracy. Paderewski drafted the 13th of Wilson’s 14 points, which argued for peace post-World War I, calling for a free and independent Poland.
The Haggadah is published.
The Times declares it to be ‘worthy to be placed among the most beautiful of books that the hand of man ever produced.’
It was first published in an exclusive limited edition, available by subscription. Bound in blue Morocco leather, with silk endpapers, it was printed on parchment. It has since been reprinted a number of times, and is well known among Jewish communities around the world.
War and “Kultur” in Poland is shown at the Fine Arts Society in London.
This exhibition was a series of 72 wartime caricatures that examined the plight of Poland.
Szyk travels to Canada and US at the request of the British government and Polish government-in-exile.
Szyk’s role is to heighten American awareness of the War in Europe. Along with caricatures and cartoons, he designs poster stamps to aid the British American Ambulance Corps.
The Halifax Herald publishes a story that declares that Szyk is an artist who is mobilized for war, and that message of his caricatures and cartoons has such power that Hitler has put a price on his head.
Nazis invade France, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway.
Je Maintiedrais … Someday my Prince Will Come shows a traditionally costumed Dutch girl chained to a post while an imposing and grotesque Nazi figure threatens her with a knife. Holland, the home country of Anne Frank, saw the Nazi take-over of the administrative apparatus of its government in May 1940. By June of 1942, the year this drawing was created, the Jews of Holland were required to wear the yellow star.