Image Courtesy: Google Doodle

Erich Ohser (18 March 1903 – 5 April 1944) was a German cartoonist, best known for his work under the pseudonym “e.o. plauen.” Also known for his strip Vater und Sohn (“Father and Son”).

Life and Career

He was born on 18 March 1903 in Untergettengrün, Germany (now Czech Republic). Ohser began his career as a commercial artist, designing advertisements and working as an illustrator for various publications. In 1928, he started creating cartoons for the German satirical magazine “Simplicissimus.” He adopted the pseudonym “e.o. plauen,” which stands for “Erich Ohser from Plauen,” his hometown.

Ohser’s most famous creation was the comic strip “Father and Son,” which he started drawing in 1934. The strip featured a middle-aged father and his young son and was notable for its simple, expressive style and its humorous yet poignant depictions of everyday life in Nazi Germany. Despite its popularity, the strip was controversial with the Nazi authorities, who felt it was too critical of the regime. In 1940, Ohser was forced to cease production of “Father and Son” under pressure from the authorities.

Ohser continued to work as a cartoonist and illustrator during World War II, creating anti-Nazi caricatures for underground publications. In 1944, he was arrested by the Gestapo and accused of distributing anti-Nazi propaganda. He was held in custody for several weeks before taking his own life in his cell on April 5, 1944.

Today, Ohser is remembered as one of the most important cartoonists of the 20th century in Germany, and his work is still widely admired for its humor, humanity, and artistic skill.

He continued to work under pseudonyms, and from 1940, began again to produce cartoons on political themes. He was arrested on charges of expressing anti-Nazi opinions. On 5 April 1944, the day before his trial, Ohser committed suicide in his cell.

Award and Legacy

Despite his relatively short career, Erich Ohser’s contributions to cartooning and satire have had a lasting impact.

In 1948, Ohser was posthumously awarded the prestigious Wilhelm Busch Prize, which recognizes excellence in German-language comic art. In 1989, a museum dedicated to Ohser and his work was opened in his hometown of Plauen, Germany.

Ohser’s most famous creation, “Father and Son,” has been translated into several languages and continues to be popular around the world. The strip’s depiction of a loving but flawed father-son relationship, as well as its satirical commentary on life under Nazi rule, have made it a classic of the genre.

Ohser’s influence can also be seen in the work of many contemporary cartoonists, who cite him as an inspiration and a pioneer of modern comic art. Despite the tragic circumstances of his death, Ohser’s legacy as an artist and satirist continue to be celebrated and appreciated today.

On 18 March 2018, Google celebrated Erich Ohser’s 115th birthday with a doodle.

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