Arthur Szyk, a “Soldier in Art”

by Bennett Muraskin   ALTHOUGH ARTHUR SZYK (1894-1951) is best known today for his Illuminated Hagaddah (1940), still widely used at Passover seders, he was in many ways a political artist, a self-described “soldier in art,” who used his talents to attack fascism, call for the rescue to European Jewry from Nazi-occupied Europe, promote the American war effort and make […]

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The Rent Striker

On this day in 1907, 16-year-old Pauline Newman launched a rent strike involving 10,000 families in lower Manhattan, after months of organizing among housewives and teenage sweatshop workers. The strike lasted two weeks and won rent reductions for about 2,000 households. Leaders of the settlement house movement then urged capping rents throughout the city at […]

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July 19: Operation Paperclip

The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff took over management of some 1,600 captured German scientists, engineers and technicians on this date in 1945. The bulk of them would have their records expunged of Nazi links and then be evacuated with their families to America, where they would work, with security clearance, to help develop armaments […]

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October 11: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Jews

Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the U.S. from 1933 to 1945 and a progressive activist throughout the 1940s and ’50s, was born in New York on this date in 1884. She shared her patrician class’s low-grade anti-Semitism during her younger days, but by 1935, according to her biographer, Blanche Wiesen Cook, “she spoke out against […]

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August 30: Dorothy Schiff’s New York Post

Dorothy Schiff, granddaughter of the famed financier Jacob Schiff and owner-publisher of the New York Post during its liberal hey-day, for nearly four decades, died at 86 on this date in 1989. Married four times and involved with many other men, she was wealthy throughout her life and, according to Francesca Tillona at the Jewish […]

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April 9: Marian Anderson at the Lincoln Memorial

Denied by the Daughters of the American Revolution the opportunity to sing at their Constitution Hall in segregated Washington, D.C., Marian Anderson gave an open-air concert at the Lincoln Memorial on this date in 1939. The event was arranged by her Jewish manager, Sol Hurok, with the backing of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt (who resigned […]

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February 12: Einstein Opposes the H-Bomb

Appearing on this date in 1950 on the first edition of Today with Mrs. Roosevelt, a weekly television show hosted by Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert Einstein spoke out against U.S. development of the hydrogen bomb, for which President Harry Truman had announced a crash research program two weeks earlier. “If successful,” Einstein warned, “radioactive poisoning of […]

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March 3: Arthur Murray

The man who taught America how to ballroom dance, Arthur Murray (Moses Teichmann), died on this date in 1991, one month short of his 96th birthday. An immigrant to the U.S. at age 2, he began teaching night classes in dance at age 17 while working as a draftsman; among other jobs he held was […]

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November 13: Dame Harriet Cohen

Harriet Cohen, a British pianist who played a 1934 concert with Albert Einstein to raise funds for the rescue of Jewish scientists from Nazi Germany, died on this date in 1967. Cohen was one of the best-known and most-photographed classical musicians of her day and had active friendships with Eleanor Roosevelt, George Bernard Shaw, D.H. […]

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