2018-02-09 Back to list

Interwar Jokes in Kaunas: A Caricature Gallery

The dedicated folks at the Kaunistics department of the Kaunas County Public Library have done a tremendous job in the archives. We’ve translated a handful of the cartoons they found.

Cartoons and caricatures were an inseparable part of newspapers and magazines in Lithuania before WW2 and a witty way of presenting an ironic look into politics, economics and general trends of the modern society.

As the genre is almost nowhere to be seen (and read) these days, it’s interesting – and quite funny indeed – to take a look at some of the drawings that were published back then. The dedicated folks at the Kaunistics department of the Kaunas County Public Library have done a tremendous job in the archives – if you read Lithuanian, too, you’re welcome to take a look at the virtual exhibition of interwar jokes and caricatures. We’ve translated a handful of the cartoons below.

mid diena19371219p1k 1IN THE BOOKSTORE

- My dear, do buy the book by Alūnaitis. He’s a very interesting writer!
- Which book of his have you read, dear?
- Oh no, I haven’t read any of his books. I did see him this summer in Palanga [a trendy resort by the Baltic sea] earlier this year, though.

 Diena. – 1937, December 19, p. 1.

mid diena19380130p1k 1 


“Every boutique in Kaunas is having a sale now”

- What the hell has happened to Mrs. Smarkuvienė? Is she sick in the head to be running like that?
- Oh no, she’s just trying to make it to the sale.

Diena. – 1938, January 30, p. 1.

mid diena19360628p1k 1VISITING AN EXHIBITION

“Oh, those manners in Kaunas! It’s all much simpler in the province…” 

Diena. – 1936, June 28, p. 1.

mid diena19361101p1k 1COLLEGE 

“Not every Kaunasian knew how to use the telephone in the beginning. It’s a fact.”

COOK: Just look at how educated the young lady is, she has no problem speaking with the English machine”. 

Diena. – 1936, November 1, p. 1.


“Our export surpasses our import” 

- Have you heard that we export more than we import?
- No wonder – our farmers produce a whole lot of bacon yet our ladies are so slim they don’t need a lot of foreign garments.

Diena, 1936, October 18, p. 1.

mid diena19370516p1k 1


- How can you live with the fact she’s lying in your bed?!

Diena. – 1937, May 16, p. 1.

mid diena19371212p1k 1 IN A BIG RESTAURANT

- Waitress, do you remember what I ate the last time I was here?
- A schnitzel, perhaps?
- I’d like to have something else now, then, as that one smelt of soap.
- You’re wrong, dear sir. Our schnitzel smells of gasoline. So, you must have eaten zwiebel klops.

Diena. – 1937, December 12, p. 1.

mid diena19370808p1k 1THE FINAL EXPLANATION

 “A lot of car accidents take place in Kaunas. Kaunasians are often fined for inappropriate walking. Here are two facts put together”.

- Officer, please note I am lying correctly across the street 

Diena. – 1937, August 8, p. 1.

All cartoons taken from the archives of the Kaunas County Public Library


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