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Cartoon of Mickey and Minnie Mouse created prewar by a Romanian high school student

Object | Accession Number: 2004.436.2

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    Brief Narrative
    Cartoon belonging to Ladislaus Farkas drawn by Kalman Wavrek depicting Mickey and Minnie Mouse. In 1922, Wavrek graduated from the Oradea Gymnasium in Romania with classmate Ladislaus Farkas. Ladislaus later received a Ph.D in chemistry and worked at the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institut fur Physikalische Chemie in Berlin, Germany. On April 7, 1933, a law was enacted forbidding Jewish civil servants from holding public positions. Farkas lost his job. He went to work in England, and then in 1935, emigrated to Palestine after accepting an offer from Chaim Weizmann to teach at Hebrew University. During the war, Farkas developed chemical applications used by the military. His parents, Istvan and Anna, and niece, Kati, were murdered at Auschwitz.
    Artwork Title
    Mickey and Minnie Take a Ride
    received:  approximately 1922
    creation: Oradea (Romania)
    received: Oradea (Romania)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Leorah Kroyanker
    Artist: Kalman V. Wavrek
    Subject: Kalman V. Wavrek
    Subject: Ladislaus Farkas
    Kalman Wavrek graduated in 1922 from the Oradea Gymnasium, in Oradea, Romania. It was directed by the Premonstratensian Order of France, but had many Jewish students. He had artistic talents and drew cartoons and caricatures, including one of his graduating class, which included Ladislaus Farkas, a chemist who became the first professor of physical chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1935.
    Ladislaus Farkas was born in 1904 in Dunaszerdahely, Hungary (Dunajskaa Streda (Slovakia)). He was the son of Istvan, born on August 17, 1874, in Szeni Mihaly, Romania, and Anna Patzauer, born on November 11, 1883, in Szerencs, Hungary. His brother, Adalbert, was born in 1906. The family moved to Oradea, Romania, where his brother, Paul, was born on August 1, 1909. Istvan owned a drugstore and was chairman of the merchant’s association. The family was observant and attended the Neolog synagogue. Paul became a pharmacist and worked with his father.

    Ladislaus graduated from the Oradea Gymnasium in 1922 and then, with his brother Adelbert , studied chemistry at the Technische Hochschule in Vienna. In 1924, Ladislaus attended university in Berlin. He received a diploma in chemical engineering in December 1926 and his Ph.D on February 24, 1928. He and Adalbert went to work at the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institut fur Physikalische Chemie. From 1928 to 1933, Ladislaus was the personal assistant to the Insitut’s director, Fritz Haber, a Nobel Prize winning chemist.

    Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany in 1933. On April 7, 1933, the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service was passed, forbidding Jewish civil servants to hold public positions. Under this law, Haber, a Jewish convert to Christianity, was forced to fire Farkas. Haber resigned and found Ladislaus a position in Cambridge, England, at the Institute of Colloid Chemistry. Adalbert joined him and they lived on a stipend from the Central British Fund for German Jewry. In 1935, on the prior recommendation of Haber, Chaim Weizmann, an organic chemist and Zionist leader, offered Ladislaus the position as the first professor of physical chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Ladislaus accepted and moved to Palestine. Adalbert arrived in 1936, and became a senior research assistant. Haber planned on moving to Palestine to work with Ladislaus, but died in Switzerland on January 27, 1934.

    In 1939, Ladislaus was appointed head of the Central Committee for the Development of Chemical Industry (CCDCI). On July 16, 1940, Ladislaus married Hannah Aharoni, a microbiologist. His brother Adalbert and his American wife left Palestine for the United States in 1941, due to lack of funding. In his position at CCDCI during the war, Ladislaus conducted research that produced glassware and chemicals needed by the Allies, and developed applications used in the medical, military, and industrial sectors.

    The war ended in May 1945. Ladislaus left for England in the summer of 1945. While there, he learned that his parents had been killed in Auschwitz concentration camp in June 1944. He returned to Palestine and continued his work. In October 1946, his brother Paul and his wife, Eva, emigrated to Palestine and opened a pharmacy. They had been imprisoned in multiple concentration camps during the Holocaust, and their five year old daughter, Kati, was murdered in Auschwitz on June 2, 1944.

    In the months leading up to the 1948 War of Independence, Ladislaus left his laboratory. Hannah and their daughter, Leorah, fled to Tel Aviv where a second daughter, Ruth, was born in April 1948. In the late fall of 1948, Ladislaus planned a trip to the US to purchase equipment for Hebrew University, Hadassah Medical Center, and the Israeli Air Force. On December 30, he boarded a chartered Pan African Corporation flight staffed with Mahal volunteers, an organization which brought arms and Jews from Arab countries to Israel. The plane crashed north of Rome, Italy, killing all passengers and crew. Ladislaus was 44 years old.

    Physical Details

    Object Type
    Cartoons (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Ink and watercolor drawing on offwhite rectangular cardstock depicting a smiling Mickey Mouse driving a vintage car with a waving Minnie riding in a backwards facing seat. The square, vented, engine block has a conical yellow hood ornament and an oval sign with APJAT. Candles in holders sit on the front fenders. Mickey wears red shorts, and Minnie a blue skirt and blue shoes. Both wear yellow gloves. In front of the windshield Mickey’s tail curls up and holds an upward facing red arrow. The reverse has pencil and orange watercolor marks. The artist’s signature is in the front lower right corner.
    overall: Height: 3.500 inches (8.89 cm) | Width: 5.375 inches (13.653 cm)
    overall : cardboard, ink, watercolor, graphite
    front, lower right corner, black ink : K. v. Wavrek

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The cartoon drawing was donated to the United States Holocaust Museum in 2004 by Leorah Kroyanker, the daughter of Ladislaus Farkas.
    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:
    2023-06-21 11:33:11
    This page:

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