2 Oct 2008

Russian cartoonist Boris Yefimov dies

8:05 am on 2 October 2008

A Soviet cartoonist who lampooned Adolf Hitler in World War II and the United States during the Cold War, has died. Boris Yefimov was aged 108.

His portrayals of Hitler as a crazed ridiculous figure in cartoons published in Soviet newspapers in World War II were aimed at sustaining morale at the front.

Red Army soldiers cut out his cartoons and kept them in their pockets.

In later interviews he said the Nazis put him on a list of Soviet figures to be hanged if Moscow were captured.

On the orders of dictator Josef Stalin, he depicted the United States in the form of a mean-looking Uncle Sam bristling with missiles. A dollar sign was included in case readers missed the point.

Yefimov received the Soviet Union's highest state awards for his work.

His career began during the Russian civil war after the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917.

His brother, journalist Mikhail Koltsov, was killed in the purges overseen by Stalin in the 1930s.

Yefimov was also once a friend of revolutionary leader Leon Trotsky, who was killed in exile.

During his career, Yefimov saw Lenin speak in 1922, witnessed Hitler in Berlin in 1933 and covered the Nuremberg trials of Nazi leaders after World War II.