Posters and leaflets of early 20-century Jewish parties and movements

The collection contains unique campaign materials of the early twentieth century, for instance, 1904–1908 revolutionary proclamations, which denounced war and autocracy and called for an armed uprising, or 1917 posters and appeals to the Jewish population of Ukraine on the eve of elections to the Constitutional Assembly and the city council. The diversity of posters illustrates the variety of opinions present in Jewish communities before the 1917 Bolshevik coup as well as intense activity of Jewish socialist parties such as Poale Zion (Workers of Zion), the Bund (General Jewish Labour League in Lithuania, Poland, and Russia), SERP (Jewish Socialist Workers Party), and the Zionist Union.

Overall, the collection includes nearly 170 units of storage. Among them, there are posters of the Bund, Poale Zion (Kyiv, Kharkiv, Katerynoslav, Simferopol, Oleksandrivsk, and Mariupol), SERP (Kyiv and Melitopol), the Jewish National Democratic Bloc (Kyiv), and other Zionist organizations as well as posters of Kyiv organizations of Yidishe Folkspartei (Jewish People’s Party), the Free Jewish Community, and the Jewish Socialistic Bloc.

The majority of the election campaign posters are calls to vote for the list of a certain party. Here are some typical mottos and slogans from Jewish election posters: “Who is with us?… Who is against us?… Vote for the Poale Zion list”, “To all Jewish workers: vote for the Bund list!”, “To the Zionist youth of Kyiv…”, “On 15 November, in the hall of the Pedagogical Museum: general meeting of the Zionists”, “Meeting of Zionist shekel givers will take place in the hall of the Great Synagogue”, “An open letter to the Jewish workers of Odesa…”, etc.  

It is worth stressing the distinctive graphic expressiveness of pre-election posters: being printed with single-colour paint on a cheap paper, they almost “shout out” slogans and list numbers. Using only compositional tools and combining them skilfully, playing with contrasts of sizes and thickness of letters, digits, and lines, typographers achieved a considerable propaganda effect.    

The collection of posters and other campaign materials can be of interest to historians and political scientists who study Jewish organizations as well as political parties and movements of the early twentieth century. Moreover, these materials can be useful for experts in public relations who study the evolution of political advertising.

Archival file No. Title  Number of documents Notes
1 Posters and leaflets. The Bund Party 45 1904–1917. Call to the Jewish population concerning mobilisation. Election campaigning
2 Posters and leaflets. Poale Zion Party 23 1907–1917. Election campaigning
3 Posters and leaflets. Zenrei Zion (Zionist People’s Party) 2 Announcements of events (the report Foundations of Our Worldview, lectures “Bilus” and “Prophets”).  
3 Posters and leaflets. Adas Isroel community. 2 Election campaigning
3 Posters and leaflets. SERP Party 22 Election campaigning
3 Posters and leaflets. Folkspartei 2 Election campaigning 
3 Posters and leaflets of various Zionist organizations 31 Election campaigning. Announcements of events (“Twelfth anniversary of Theodor Herzl’s death”, “A report by N. S. Sirkin”)
Ahdut (Unity) Party 1 Leaflet, 1917
4 Volunteer Army (Russian White movement) 5 Leaflets against pogroms
4 Posters and leaflets of charitable associations 4 Calls for fundraising (for the army, Jewish theatre in Palestine, etc.). 
4 Posters and leaflets. Jewish National Bloc 10 Election campaigning
5 Poster. Petrograd Zionist organization 1 Election campaigning
5 Poster. Petrograd Zionist organization. Kolomensko-Narvsky and Spasski districts 1 Jewish rally
5 Poster. Bund Party 1 People’s rally in connection with “Palestinian Declaration”
5 Poster. Central Bureau of the Jewish Section of the Communist Party Central Committee (Yevsektsiia)  1 Call for subscription to and distribution of the newspaper Der Emes (Truth)
5 Poster. Jewish Socialist Workers Party 1 Election rally
5 Poster. Kyiv Province Committee of the Communist Party 1
6 Member fees payer’s card  1
6 Form of a deputy’s card  1
6 Leaflet. Tarbut (Culture) Society 1 About the celebration of Simchat Torah 
6 Form 1 Ballot paper form for elections to the Provisional Jewish National Council
6 Kamianets-Podilsky Security Committee 1 Announcement about guarding of the city
6 Child Care Commission of the Kyiv Committee of the Society to Help War-Affected Jewish Population 1 Questionnaire form 
6 Kamianets-Podilsky Security Committee 1 Resolution about streets cleaning.
6 Abram Karnibad (Reb-Abele) 1 Letter offering to lecture
6 Abram Karnibad (Reb-Abele) 1 Programme of “Artistic Literary Reading”
Abram Karnibad (Reb-Abele. 1
6 Sanitary Committee of the Warsaw Jewish community 1 Proclamation of the Sanitary Committee of the Warsaw Jewish community
6 Jewish Committee to Help War Victims 1 “From the Jewish Committee for Comprehensive Help to War Victims”
6 United Jewish Socialist Workers Party 1 Announcement of a rally
6 Leaflet 1 “Free People’s Secular School of Mother Tongue”