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Hitler's Rise To Power in Europe

The image illustrates the Gulliver like giant, Adolf Hitler, with miniaturized versions of the leading European politicians idling about, including Lord Halifax, British foreign secretary, Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister, Mussolini and statesmen from France, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Hungary, Greece, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Romania and Yugoslavia;

The map is one of the final political cartoon maps drawn by Emery Kelen and Alois Derso, shortly before they left Europe for America in December 1938.

The map was published in the June 1938 edition of Ken Magazine.  As noted by the PJ Mode Collection of Persuasive Cartography at Cornell University website description for one of the other political satire maps from the same work:

Ken was a controversial anti-fascist magazine, first published in April 1938. It was distinguished by unusual and powerful graphics like this one and a number of articles on the Spanish Civil War by Ernest Hemingway. The magazine failed in August 1939 as a result of wariness by advertisers and a boycott by the Catholic Church (Baptista 2009, 109-115).

The map was drawn by Derso and Kelen.  Emery Kelen was born in Györ, Hungary in 1896. He met Alois Derso in 1922 in Lausanne. Sharing similar biographical backgrounds, both being Jews from Hungary and artists, they became friends and collaborators for the next 30 years – the first 20 years in Europe and the last 10 years in the United States.

During the 1920s and 1930s, Kelen and Derso worked in Europe illustrating inter-war Europe with their cartoons. As witnesses to this history, they drew caricatures of famous diplomats and statesmen of the day and satirical cartoons of their activities. They were also the dedicated pictorial reporters of the meetings and delegates of the League of Nations. As active members of the international press corps, their work was eagerly sought after providing a humorous daily record of events at a time when cameras were not allowed in the conference rooms. Their work was published widely in the European press.

Kelen and Derso departed Europe on December 13, 1938, aided by friends who recognized the impending dangers facing them due to both being Jewish and their past public criticism of Hitler’s rise to power.

Emery Kelen Biography

After the First World War, in which Kelen participated as a soldier of the Austro-Hungarian Joint Army, he attended from 1919 the painting school Hans Hofmann in Munich.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Kelen worked with his friend and colleague Alois Derso as a political draftsman for newspapers across Europe, including Illustrated London News.  Le Rire, Tribune de Genève and Tempo.  He also worked as a book illustrator. For example, in the series "What is not in 'Baedeker'" (Berlin band) - here with Derso - and "Wat riveted in Baedeker state" (Amsterdam band).

On October 13, 1938, both emigrated to New York . There they worked for Ken, Esquire, New York Times, New York Post, Christian Science Monitor and the Washington Post.

From 1948 to 1956 Kelen worked as the first television producer of the United Nations Information Office. After retiring, he published numerous books, including a biography of Dag Hammarskjöld and several children's books.