Warsaw 1943; Serigraph [293]

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Authors
Shahn, Ben, 1898-1969
Issue Date
1963
Type
Image
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en_US
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Abstract
In 1940 the Nazis created a ghetto in Warsaw to confine the Jewish population, which they began liquidating in July of 1942. When the Nazis arrived in April 1943, they were met with armed resistance. But they used tanks and flame throwers, and only a few of the Jews survived. Shahn's print commemorates the courage of the people and the futility of the resistance.
Shahn loved calligraphy. The print is stamped with his "chop," or seal, a modified version of his calligraphic alphabet, made when he and his wife Bernarda visited Japan in 1960.
Below the man is a Hebrew prayer, also used earlier (c. 1962) by Shahn in the print "Martyology". It was suggested by his neighbor Morris Bressler and is taken from a 13th century Musaf service for Yom Kippur. It was based on a legend of a second century execution by Hadrian often Hebrew sages in Palestine. They were martyred for teaching the Torah, but also, according to legend, as punishment for the ten sons of Jacob not punished for selling Joseph. Translation (re Prescott, "The Complete Graphic Work of Ben Shahn"): "These martyrs I will remember, and my soul is melting with secret sorrow. Evil men have devoured us and eagerly consumed us. In the days of the tyrant there was no reprieve for the ten who were put to death by the Roman government." Or (re McNulty, "The Collected Prints of Ben Shahn"): "These martyrs I will remember and my soul is tom with sorrow. In the days of our trials there is no one to help us."
Signed: in red with brush, lower right above calligraphy; orange-red chop at upper left
Edition: Unknown/97 Japan paper
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For more information about this work, contact KCollegeArtCollection@kzoo.edu.
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Kalamazoo College
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