Boris Ye­fi­mov


The Jewish Chronicle - - Obituaries -

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.

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