VISIT BY FIU STUDENTS STUDYING THE HOLOCAUST
This Tuesday, the Wolfsonian library hosted the first of two scheduled visits by Professor Oren B. Stier and the students taking his Holocaust class on FIU’s Biscayne Bay campus. Oren Stier earned his PhD. from the University of California, Santa Barbara and serves as the graduate program director in the department of Religious Studies and the director of the Judaic Studies Program at Florida International University. Oren was a recipient of a Mellon infusion grant that allowed him to spend some time before the start of this current semester visiting the Wolfsonian. Working with Mellon grant coordinator, Jon Mogul and the library staff, Professor Stier preselected visual arts objects suited towards exposing his students to the Third Reich’s propaganda campaign that preceded and paved the way in Germany and the occupied territories for the mass deportations of Jews to the Nazi death camps. The students will be picking a museum object or library artifact and writing a five hundred word essay analyzing the visual message, historical context, etc. The second half of Professor Stier’s class will be coming to do the same this coming Friday. Here are a few of the items that the class had the chance to see.
Lest we conclude that the National Socialists’ hateful anti-semitic propaganda campaign went unchallenged, I’ve decided to include in this blog a couple of images designed by Arthur Szyk, a Jewish artist born in Łódź, Poland in 1894. In 1936, Szyk completed his Hagaddah, but was unable to find a publisher in Poland owing to some of the blatantly anti-Nazi images included in the work. The following year, Szyk moved to England, publishing the latter work—sans the anti-Nazi references. In December, 1940, he again relocated, this time to New York City where he continued to produce anti-Nazi propaganda. Inspired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech in 1941, Szyk created an illustrated version of the same well before Norman Rockwell published his own iconic version. The same year, he published The New Order, a book of anti-Nazi caricatures, and in 1943 Szyk illustrated the cover of another booklet championing his people’s cause.