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Cartoon by Karl Schwesig of Nazi soldiers bowing to a part human/part animal puppet

Object | Accession Number: 1988.5.2

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    Cartoon by Karl Schwesig of Nazi soldiers bowing to a part human/part animal puppet


    Brief Narrative
    Satirical ink drawing created by Karl Schwesig in February 1938 in Antwerp, depicting Nazi soldiers bowing to a marionette caricature of the Duke of Windsor, formerly Edward VIII of Great Britain, whose given name was David. He abdicated the throne in 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson. The couple accepted an invitation from Hitler's government and visited Nazi Germany in October 1937. It is from a series of eight political cartoons published in an illegal newspaper, the Kolner Rosenmontags-Zeitung (Cologne Rose Monday Newspaper). The newspaper was distributed at the Cologne Carnival on Rose Monday before Lent in early 1938. The printer in Cologne was unable to smuggle the dangerous drawings out of Germany, so he kept them in his shop, where they were damaged by a fire during the war. After Hitler came to power in January 1933, Schwesig, a Communist, was arrested and jailed for 16 months. After his release in 1935, he lived in Antwerp, Belgium. On May 10, 1940, Germany invaded Belgium. Schwesig was arrested and sent to Vichy France, where he was held in St. Cyprien, Gurs, Noe, and Nexon internment camps. In 1943, he was sent to Ulmer Hoeh prison in Dusseldorf, Germany, where he was liberated by American forces in April 1945.
    Artwork Title
    Schade, dass der junge David Heisst
    Alternate Title
    Pity, that the boy is called David
    Pity the Young David Heisst
    Series Title
    creation:  1938 February
    creation: Antwerp (Belgium)
    distribution: Cologne (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
    Artist: Karl Schwesig
    Subject: Karl Schwesig
    Karl Schwesig was born on June 19, 1898, in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. His father was a miner. From 1916 to 1918, Schwesig served in the German Army during the First World War (1914-1918). In 1918, Schwesig began studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Dusseldorf. In 1921, he left the conservative academy and joined the Junge Rhineland artist group. In 1924, Schwesig cofounded the satirical magazine Die Peitsche (The Whip). The right wing Nazi Party was growing rapidly in popularity duirng the 1920s and Schwesig was an outspoken anti-Nazi. He joined the Communist Party in the late 1920’s.

    Hitler came to power in Germany in January 1933 and the country was soon ruled by a Nazi dictatorship. On July 11, 1933, Schwesig was arrested for his anti-Nazi commentary. He was detained by the SA and interrogated for the names of colleagues who also resisted the Nazis. He was sent to Ulmer Höhe prison in Dusseldorf. In 1934, he was convicted of treason and served his sentence in Bendahl prison in Wuppertal. After his release on November 18, 1934, Schwesig was granted political asylum in Belgium and lived in Antwerp. In 1937, his German citizenship was revoked and his property in Germany was confiscated by the Nazi regime.

    On May 10, 1940, Germany invaded Belgium. Schwesig was arrested and deported to St. Cyprien internment camp in Vichy France. In October, he was moved to Gurs internment camp after St. Cyprien was destroyed by flooding. In February 1941, he was transferred to Noé internment camp. In March 1943, he was sent to Nexon internment camp and classified as a politcal prisoner. In June, Schwesig was sent to Fort Romainville prison in Paris and in July to Ulmer Höhe prison in Dusseldorf. Throughout his imprisonment, Schwesig drew images of daily life in the camps. Schwesig was liberated in Ulmer Höhe after American forces captured Dusseldorf on April 17, 1945. The war ended when Germany surrendered on May 7. Schwesig stayed in Dusseldorf. He died, age 57, in 1955.

    Physical Details

    German French
    Physical Description
    Drawing in ink on uneven paper with a torn, burnt left side. It is a cartoon of a large parade float with 2 rows of uniformed Nazi officials with swastika armbands, bending over with straight arms, displaying 2 swastikas on their rears. The ground around them is covered with swastikas. They are paying homage to an oversize marionette head of a man with parted hair and a complacent smile, a depiction of the Duke of Windsor. He is in a chariot, holding the reins of a horse with the head of a lion, symbol of Great Britain, with female breasts in a see-through bra. Near his head is a banner with the phrase: Walli soit qui mal y pense!, a play on the chivalric Order of the Garter motto, Shame on him who thinks of it, substituting Walli (Wallis Simpson) for the word him. The marionettes are controlled by strings held by a large arm extending from a dark tunnel labeled SIMPSON-TUNNEL in the background. To the right of the tunnel entrance is a tall man wearing a suit, bowler hat, and monocle, resembling Prime Minister Chamberlain. He holds a long spear stuck through a pair of woman's bloomers; another pair of spear stuck bloomers are next to the left side entrance. Along the front and side panels of the float is the phrase: Schade, das der Junge David Heisst [Schade, dass der junge David Heisst.]
    overall: Height: 10.625 inches (26.988 cm) | Width: 14.125 inches (35.878 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, paint, graphite
    front, lower right corner, pencil: L (?) sp
    back, upper center, red pencil : II.
    back, lower left corner, stamped, purple ink : Nachlaß Karl Schwesig [Estate Karl Schwesig]

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The drawing was acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1988.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:28:31
    This page:

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