The posters in the exhibition document a time when posters were a very important means of communication. They disseminated information when other forms of mass media had not yet developed or were in their formative stages.
During the interwar period, posters became a ubiquitous presence on Jewish streets. Advertisements, announcements, and calls for action, they were pasted onto walls, wooden fences, or onto the round "public announcement" kiosks which could be found on many street corners. Some posters announced theater performances, sports events, and literary readings. Others urged Jews to improve their lives through financial independence, awareness of health and hygiene issues, and political change through collective action. Campaign posters urged Jews to vote for candidates running for seats in the Polish Parliament or local city councils.
Most of the posters in the YIVO Archives were collected by YIVO when it was still headquartered in Vilna. Printed on poor-quality paper, plastered to the walls, reflecting fleeting moments of history, they were not meant to survive into the future. They open a window into a period of unprecedented flourishing of Eastern European Jewish political and cultural life. Funding for the exhibition was provided by the A. Jurzykowski Foundation and the Trust for Mutual Understanding in New York, Dr. George Szabad, the Batory Foundation, and the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.
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