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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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Premature Anti-Fascism

LOOKING BACK AT THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR by Bennett Muraskin Published in the Summer 2016 issue of Jewish Currents Discussed in this essay: Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1938, by Adam Hochschild. Princeton University Press, 2016, 288 pages. FOR THE AMERICAN LEFT, the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939, was a noble […]

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Belafonte’s Uncompromising Career

A Fearlessly Progressive Star by Paul Buhle From the Spring, 2015 issue of Jewish Currents Reviewed in this Essay: Becoming Belafonte: Black Artist, Public Radical, by Judith E. Smith. University of Texas Press, 2014, 221 pages. LAST NOVEMBER, when Harry Belafonte accepted the “Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award” from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and […]

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February 16: The Madison Square Garden Riot

At a mass Socialist rally at Madison Square Garden on this date in 1934, organized to protest the massacre of 1,000 Austrian socialists by the fascistic regime of Engelbert Dollfuss, some 5,000 members of the Communist Party engaged in disruptive, brawling tactics to prevent Matthew Woll of the American Federation of Labor and New York […]

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December 13: From Prisoner to Prime Minister

After two years of imprisonment in Buchenwald and Dachau, Léon Blum became prime minister of France for the third time on this date in 1946. The first Jew and first socialist to have served in that position, Blum remained in the country after the Nazi invasion and used his 1942 treason trial to excoriate the […]

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