Caricatures of censorship

Cover illustration: Hier Zensur – wer dort? (Censorship Here. Who’s Calling?)
Cover illustration of H. H. Houben’s book Hier Zensur – wer dort? (Censorship Here. Who’s Calling?) by Thomas Theodor Heine, 1918
Image is public domain

Caricatures of censorship

Poking fun at the authorities

Satires that the censor understands are rightly banned.

Karl Kraus, 1910

Caricatures are extremely well suited to staging a critical confrontation with repression and the banning of unwanted publications. Censors and their edicts are put on view in exaggerated and distorted images drawn with a sharp pen. And how is the censor portrayed? Happily holding scissors in his hand, always ready to cut out whatever is unwanted.

A good caricaturist is capable of laying bare censorship’s inherent contradictions in a particularly effective way and making them transparent for a wide audience. The struggle for press freedom being fought in many European countries at this time in the 19th century led to a high point in political and socially critical caricature.