April 23, 2007

Victor Vashi


Continuing our hiatus posts about past cartoonists we admire, today we highlight Victor Vashi. This cartoon is from his 1967 book RED Primer for Children and Diplomats, which I highly recommend. The book is long out of print, but used copies can be found online. And fortunately the link above is a Web site featuring the entire book. From the text on the back of the book:

Mr. Vashi cartooned his way through the years of Nazi and Soviet occupation of his country [Hungary]. He emerged from these experiences with no visible changes in his optimistic outlook or sunny personality.

The Nazis "loved" his tart cartoons, so much so that they ordered him to stay on for fifteen years. Fortunately, he managed to be engaged elsewhere during his "trial" and never served the sentence.

The Russians later became equally "fond" of his humor. He was locked in solitary confinement and was overlooked the day they cleaned out the Godollo Prison Camp, sending all able-bodied males to Siberia. This undoubtedly saved his life, but left him available for a "death march" to another concentration camp. Thus began the Communist indoctrination.

In December of 1948 Mr. Vashi managed to escape to Austria. In the process of making his way to America, he cartooned for a number of European newspapers ...

Mr. Vashi seriously considered writing a book, but after thinking it over decided to tell a story in cartoons, this time for the benefit of "children and diplomats." This primer is the result.

The foreword states that the book's message is clear: "Those who do not read history are condemned to repeat it." There's no reason to believe that the donkey in the cartoon is meant to represent Democrats, but considering their recent overtures to the likes of Syria's Assad, the cartoon fits.

Posted by Forkum at April 23, 2007 02:49 PM