Szyk’s artistic work during the last years of his life was defined by two political themes. For one thing, he supported the Zionist movement in its goal of founding a Jewish state. The artist had already during the war campaigned for an increased Jewish immigration to the British mandate of Palestine. The proclamation of the state of Israel in May 1948 was the fulfillment of a long-held dream for the steadfast Zionist. For another thing, he portrayed his adopted homeland of the United States as the ideal of a society based on liberty and democracy. Even before immigrating in 1940, the artist had created works on the events and personages surrounding the War of Independence. He saw parallels between the American pursuit of national sovereignty and the Polish nation’s desire for freedom. Compelling works, however, also pointed out threats to democracy, such as the discrimination against African Americans or the excessive anticommunism of the McCarthy era.
Do Not Forgive Them, Oh Lord,
For They Do Know, What They Do!...
New Canaan, 1949
Burlingame, Kalifornien: Irvin Ungar