The French Jewish cartoonist Georges Wolinski has long entertained his compatriots with drawings spoofing romance and sexuality, as well as making serious points about politics and society. In collections such as “Everything is Politics” (Tout est politique) from Les editions Temps actuels and “The Right-Wing Plan” (Le Programme de la droite) Wolinski offers merciless caricatures of the French far-right wing politician Jean-Marie Le Pen.
A memoir by his wife Maryse Wolinski out earlier this year from Les éditions du Seuil mulls over how Yiddishkeit has inspired her husband’s achievements. Entitled “George, If You Only Knew,” (Georges, si tu savais), her account traces how Wolinski was born in Tunis to Lola Bembaron, a Tunisian Jew, and Siegfried Wolinski, a Polish Jew. The latter, fleeing Europe’s pogroms, settled in Tunisia to open a wrought iron manufacturing business. In 1936 Siegfried Wolinski would be murdered by a disgruntled ex-employee, and although Georges was only a toddler at the time, he tells his wife today: “The ghost of my father has haunted me all my life.”