BORN KIEV, SEPTEMBER 28, 1900. DIED MOSCOW, OCTOBER 1, 2008, AGED 108.
AN OUTSTANDING political cartoonist, Boris Yefimov epitomised a complete and long chapter in Soviet and Russian-Jewish history, writes Ze’ev Ben Shlomo.
Born Boris Fridland, he changed his surname because of antisemitism. His father was a poor Jewish shoemaker from Bialystok.
His older brother Mikhail changed his surname to Koltsov and became Russia’s most celebrated foreign correspondent and a Soviet agent in the Spanish Civil War — until shot on Stalin’s orders.
He was immortalised as Karkov, the Soviet agent in Madrid, in Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls. Boris meanwhile continued an uneasy and uneven relationship with Stalin.
He achieved his greatest heights with his savage anti-Nazi cartoons of the Second World War, which became classics in their own right and earned Hitler’s undying hatred.
After the war Boris Yefimov focused on the United States but his attacks on Uncle Sam lacked the ferocity of his hatred for Nazism.
He successfully resisted Soviet pressure to condemn Israel following both the 1956 Sinai campaign and the 1967 Six-Day War.
But he had no hesitation in attacking Israel as part of the Western world, especially after the right-wing Likud party came to power in 1977.
A cartoon of this period shows Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, toothless and emaciated, riding on the back of Uncle Sam.
He received many honours from the Soviet and post-Soviet state. Twice married, he is survived by a son.