Gerard Hoffnung

Mark Bryant on the lesser-known caricature work of the German-born Gerard Hoffnung, one of postwar Britain’s best-loved cartoonists.

The year 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of the sudden death at just 34 of Gerard Hoffnung. Best known for his comic drawings for Punch and as a broadcaster, raconteur, tuba player and the creator of the Hoffnung Music Festivals at the Royal Festival Hall in the 1950s, he was also a gifted caricaturist. Born Gerhardt Hoffnung in the Grünewald district of Berlin on March 22nd,1925, he was the only child of a corn merchant and an amateur artist. A childhood friend was the musician André Previn. After attending a Jewish school adjacent to the home of SS leader Heinrich Himmler, he moved to Florence in December 1938. He and his mother eventually came to England while his father went to Haifa, Palestine to join his grandfather who had opened a bank there.

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