Victor Vashi was a Hungarian political cartoonist who "cartooned his way through the years of Nazi and Soviet occupation of his country."
Little is recorded on the life of Victor Vashi. Most of the information available is from the text on the back of his book Red Primer for Children and Diplomats. He also co-authored a satirical cartoon book called "The Sing Along with Khrushchev Coloring Book," cleverly written from the perspective of Khrushchev's granddaughter writing to her pen pal Caroline Kennedy.
He was imprisoned by the Soviets in the Gödöllő prison camp. Locked in solitary confinement, Victor was overlooked the day when all able-bodied men were sent to Siberia. Victor managed to escape to Austria in December 1948. He eventually wound up in the United States.
In 1963 and 1964 Victor Vashi was living at 810 A Street, S.E. in Washington, D.C., while working at McCoy Art Studio, on Connecticut Avenue, owned by Tom McCoy of Bethesda Maryland.
In the 1970s he was the chief cartoonist for the Machinist union newspaper at its headquarters on Connecticut Avenue near Dupont Circle in Washington D.C. He was very kind and doted on the children of headquarters executives who visited, even entertaining and giving drawing tips to young talent. It is rumored that he returned to Hungary at the end of his life, where he lived a short while before he died.
Victor Vashi was a graduate of the Hungarian Royal Academy of Fine Arts.
Victor Vashi's early career was a cartoonist for one of Budapest's leading newspapers, the 8 Orai Ujsag.
Victor's style is similar to that of American political cartoonist Herbert Block. Although, discrete evidence of study or influence by Herbert Block cannot be determined.
After his escape to Austria, Victor cartooned for various newspapers around Europe
- Salzburger Nachrichten of Salzburg
- Wiener Kurier of Vienna
- Hungaria of Munich
- Emigrans Szabad Szaj of Paris
- Paraat of Amsterdam
And was featured throughout his career in other newspapers
- Magyarsag of Pittsburgh
- Kepes Magyar Magazin of New York
- The Machinist and Machinist Journal of Washington D.C.
- Federation of Hungarian Former Political Prisoners of New York
The Sing along with Khrushchev Coloring Book
This may form Vashi's first work in book form and satirically staged a letter from Khrushchev's granddaughter, "Nyetochka," to Caroline Kennedy. The 24 pages of text and cartoons are written from the perspective of Nyetochka and makes fun of her "grandpa" and socialist uncles, such as her favorite "Uncle Fidel," who she recommends to color "a dirty brown," or her "Uncle Nehru", who she recommends coloring a "shocking pink." A cartoon of the Berlin Wall suggests "color West Berlin green, because the grass is always greener on the other side. For East Berlin a kind of drab will do." Khrushchev appears throughout as a caricature wearing only one shoe, a reference to his famous shoe pounding spectacle at the United Nations.
The text of the book was written by Ilona Fabian with all the cartoons drawn by Vashi. The coloring book was published in the United States in 1962 by the Sov-o'Press (perhaps part of the satire) – suggesting a private printing.
Red Primer for Children and Diplomats
This is Victor Vashi's magnum opus, an historical account of the rise of the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1967. The book's foreword states, "Those who do not read history are condemned to repeat it." The book is a mix of pen and ink sketches.
The book was first published in the United States in June 1967 by Viewpoint Books (which no longer exists). It is now available online.