Cartoon historian Mark Bryant looks at the career of Victor Weisz (Vicky), for whom the Hungarian Uprising and its repression by Soviet tanks proved a political turning-point and the catalyst for some of his most powerful cartoons.
The year 2006 marks not only the fiftieth anniversary of the Hungarian Uprising but also the fortieth anniversary of the death of one of Britain’s greatest political cartoonists of recent times, Vicky (Victor Weisz), who had Hungarian Jewish parents and whose relatives still live in Budapest today. The 1956 Uprising and its brutal suppression by the Soviet Union were widely covered in Fleet Street and on November 17th that year a special 100-page edition of Picture Post was published entitled ‘Cry Hungary!’ and devoted exclusively to the conflict. The magazine had itself been started by a Hungarian, Stefan Lorant, and this issue contained contributions from a wide variety of British journalists and photographers, with all profits going to a relief fund for the Hungarian people. Also, because of his links to the country, it contained a feature on Vicky entitled ‘A Son of Hungary Feels the People’s Suffering’ illustrated by two of his Daily Mirror cartoons.