Cover Osteuropa 3/2021

In Osteuropa 3/2021

Sharp needles
Polish culture and Polish cartoons

Arkadiusz Łuba

Deutsche Fassung


Cartoons are a form of expression of public debate that gain particular significance in times of suppression and a lack of political freedom. Poland, which has experienced many such episodes throughout its history, already began developing diverse versions of this genre from the 19th century onwards. One first high point came between the two world wars. In socialist Poland, political cartoonists turned to indirect criticism in order to escape the censors, and developed highly refined ways of doing so. When censorship fell away in 1989, new freedoms suddenly became possible, while at the same time, the number of satirical magazines declined. With the growing political pressure under the PiS government, cartoons have gained in importance once again – a fact that is reflected in the huge popularity of the well-known cartoonists on social media.

(Osteuropa 3/2021, pp. 131–154)