Cartoons and caricatures were an inseparable part of newspapers and magazines in Lithuania before WW2 and a witty way of presenting an ironic look into politics, economics and general trends of the modern society.
As the genre is almost nowhere to be seen (and read) these days, it’s interesting – and quite funny indeed – to take a look at some of the drawings that were published back then. The dedicated folks at the Kaunistics department of the Kaunas County Public Library have done a tremendous job in the archives – if you read Lithuanian, too, you’re welcome to take a look at the virtual exhibition of interwar jokes and caricatures. We’ve translated a handful of the cartoons below.
IN THE BOOKSTORE
- My dear, do buy the book by Alūnaitis. He’s a very interesting writer!
- Which book of his have you read, dear?
- Oh no, I haven’t read any of his books. I did see him this summer in Palanga [a trendy resort by the Baltic sea] earlier this year, though.
Diena. – 1937, December 19, p. 1.
A TEMPORARY CRAZE
“Every boutique in Kaunas is having a sale now”
- What the hell has happened to Mrs. Smarkuvienė? Is she sick in the head to be running like that?
- Oh no, she’s just trying to make it to the sale.
Diena. – 1938, January 30, p. 1.
VISITING AN EXHIBITION
“Oh, those manners in Kaunas! It’s all much simpler in the province…”
Diena. – 1936, June 28, p. 1.
“Not every Kaunasian knew how to use the telephone in the beginning. It’s a fact.”
COOK: Just look at how educated the young lady is, she has no problem speaking with the English machine”.
Diena. – 1936, November 1, p. 1.
EXPORT, POLITICS AND THE FESTIVE SEASON
“Our export surpasses our import”
- Have you heard that we export more than we import?
- No wonder – our farmers produce a whole lot of bacon yet our ladies are so slim they don’t need a lot of foreign garments.
Diena, 1936, October 18, p. 1.
IN A LIVING ROOM
- How can you live with the fact she’s lying in your bed?!
Diena. – 1937, May 16, p. 1.
IN A BIG RESTAURANT
- Waitress, do you remember what I ate the last time I was here?
- A schnitzel, perhaps?
- I’d like to have something else now, then, as that one smelt of soap.
- You’re wrong, dear sir. Our schnitzel smells of gasoline. So, you must have eaten zwiebel klops.
Diena. – 1937, December 12, p. 1.
THE FINAL EXPLANATION
“A lot of car accidents take place in Kaunas. Kaunasians are often fined for inappropriate walking. Here are two facts put together”.
- Officer, please note I am lying correctly across the street
Diena. – 1937, August 8, p. 1.
All cartoons taken from the archives of the Kaunas County Public Library