Skip To Content

Making His Mark, Cartoons From Dachau To Miami

Recently the Forward received a donation of 66 cartoons drawn by a survivor of Dachau. And they are a lot of fun!

The more accurate way of saying it, I guess, is that 66 drawings by the Forward’s in-house cartoonist were returned to our archive. Lillian Silver, daughter of former editor Simon Weber, brought us the working copies from the folders her late father had taken home with him.

As Chana Pollack, the Forward archivist and chief piner after missing objects, observes, these drawings could easily have been lost. Unwieldy sheets of stiff paper with drawn works in progress were not easy to carry home nor were they the sort of items that one would keep safe forever.

Image by Paul Markison

Silver did say that her father worked more from home as he aged, but that does not explain the survival of this art. Weber, who shlepped the drawings out into deepest Brooklyn, seems to have had a soft spot for Paul Markison — known professionally as “Mark.” And we’re grateful to his family for the safe return of his work.

Mark, who passed away in Boca Raton, Florida, in September, was born in Budapest. He told our contributing editor Eddy Portnoy that he went to art school before he was imprisoned in Dachau, and that he arrived in America in 1947 at the age of 23.

Jack Rich was a well-known labor writer and labor editor of the Forward. Through family friends, Rich saw Mark’s work for the “Hat Worker” — the organ of the hat cap and millinery union — and brought Mark to the Forward.

In the early 1960s, as chief cartoonist Samuel Zagat approached retirement, Mark took over for the Forward. His style is infectious, whether dealing with politics like Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev or the KKK or social trends such as the arrival of “hippy” culture or the enduring strangeness of the summer season when wives leave the city and husbands stay to “work.”

Image by Paul Markison

Some of the subjects of the cartoons have been lost (or at least mislaid) — for example. we aren’t sure why the cow has a lock on her udders (see below left) — but the cartoons are now carefully archived. They were lovingly catalogued by our volunteer archivist Arlene Bronstein, who finished that task just before her own untimely passing in September.

Image by Paul Markison

Throughout his long tenure at the Yiddish Forward, Mark needed approval for his cartoons. While that’s a fate that also befell Art Spiegelman, Ben Katchor and Eli Valley, his successors at the English Forward, they at least had a language in common with their readers.

Strange though it may seem, the last full time cartoonist for the Yiddish Forverts spoke Hungarian and English, but not Yiddish. Because of his linguistic lack, the older writers at the paper called him “the goyishe kid.”

But Mark had the last laugh.

Dan Friedman is the executive editor of the Forward. Follow him on Twitter at @danfriedmanme

(Thanks to Eddy Portnoy and Chana Pollack for archival and research help.)

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.