70 Hungarian postcards to the 70-year-old Israel

Just a few lines – DOSH

Kariel Gardosh (1921–2000) – cartoonist

By Tamás Politzer - 2018-02-15

Translated from the Hungarian original: Bea Sara Goll

Anyone trying to create a piece of ironic, satirical, or funny writing will put together dozens, hundreds or thousands of words into sentences, and then polish, cut or edit the text, striving to let the point of the joke, the god-given point make the biggest bang... This is not an easy job, but I still think using words to express humor and irony is easier than displaying them graphically.
 

The truly talented cartoonist is one who does not merely illustrate an author’s sentences of a joke, but tells the joke in his drawing himself.


The DOSH (דוש) acronym used in the title is the signature of an Israeli cartoonist born 1921in Budapest as Goldberger Károly. His family name was changed to Gárdos. According to the artist list of today's most renowned auction house in Budapest, he is a "graphic artist, caricaturist; an artist of Hungarian origin living in Israel since 1948." The names Gardos, Kariel, Dos are also included in this designation. In the Magyar karikaturisták adat- és szignótára  [Hungarian Cartoonists' Data and Signature Lexicon], there is an article about the cartoonist, and his signature is also included under the name of Gardos Kariel.

As a twenty-something youth, he was ignored by his home country, persecuted, sent to a forced labor camp wearing the yellow star; his family members were murdered. As a survivor, he attended the Humanities faculty of Szeged University, worked at the daily Népszava, and 1946 registered to the Paris Sorbonne as Kariel Gardosh.

 

In 1948 he arrived in the ancient New Country, and became a citizen of the State of Israel at its birth.

 

Srulik – the symbol of Israel

 

Some pedantic scholars would say one opts for drawing instead of writing because of a lack of language skills. But we are lucky he did! Together with his contemporaries - journalists of Hungarian origin - Tomi Lapid, Ephraim Kishon and the cartoonist Zeev (Farkas) – they became recognized as eminent thinkers, critics and stylists for Israel’s rebirth. In their works, they not only presented the contemporary Israel - the extraordinary period of the country's history forging a strong and proud national existence from the founding of the state through the sacrifices of the wars - but their personality and works became representative of Israel, both at home and abroad.

 

Dosh took it as far as to create a cartoon character in the 1950s who (yes, who!) became Israel's symbol. This character  is SRULIK – who, for decades, has been featured daily in the biggest daily newspaper Maariv's cartoon section, as well as in marketing of Israeli products and companies (El Al, Coffee Oshem), and as a logo of state events and institutions.

 

My favorite is the sabra, dressed in a cool khaki uniform, Israel-blue hat and combat boots, with a mischievous ear-to-ear grin and a corkscrew haircut.

Another Srulik wearing shorts and flip-flops, galloping for peace on a rocking horse (!) confirms my introductory phrase: one can convey important, complex messages with just a few lines...

Another favorite of mine is Srulik supporting the menorah tree that symbolizes the fate of Judaism and the meaning of Israel in a single cartoon:

Srulik and the Queen of England?

There aren’t many cartoonists who became diplomats. Gardosh is one who became the cultural envoy of his homeland in London in the 1980s.


Let's just imagine: what Srulik would have thought about that, what he could he have said to his British counterpart, the corpulent John Bull? Did the Queen refer to John Bull as a symbol of her empire, to which the cartoonist-turned-diplomat  might have responded, smiling, yet with due respect: "Your Majesty, may I remark that I had, before my appointment, acted as a father figure to Srulik, the symbol of Israel...?”

Srulik's father received many awards: Prizes named after Herzl, Nordau, Jabotinsky, and Sokolov.


If you want to find out more, check out the srulik.co.il website and look for the cartoon museum.

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