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Rosenberg, Pnina: "Mickey Mouse in Gurs – Humour, Irony and Criticism in Works of Art Produced in the Gurs Internment Camp." In: Rethinking History 6 (2002), S. 273–292.
|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Rosenberg2002
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Keywords: "Mickey aux Camp de Gurs", Anthropomorphismus, Deutschland, Disney, Holocaust, Intertextualität, Rosenthal. Horst, USA
Collection: Rethinking History
Gurs, near the Pyrenees, was the largest camp in the occupied zone of France. In spite of the deplorable conditions in the camp, cultural activities flourished, as in other French internment camps in both zones. In addition to conferences, concerts and plays, this extensive artistic creativity included the works of several artists, who produced drawings and watercolours and mounted exhibitions. The artists, who were political and/or racial refugees, used their works of art, through irony and satire, as a means of protest against the French authorities, who, contrary to hopes and expectations, had turned out to be a collaborator of the Nazi regime. Among the many works of art produced in Gurs those of Horst Rosenthal (Breslau 1915–Auschwitz 1942) deserve special attention. He left behind two graphic novels—»Mickey au Camp de Gurs. Publiee sans l'authorisation de Walt Disney« (»Mickey Mouse in the Gurs internment Camp. Published without Walt Disney's Permission«) and »Le Journee d'un héberge: Camp de Gurs 1942« (»A Day in the Life of a Resident: Gurs Internment Camp, 1942«) (Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine, Paris). Each of these booklets vivdly depicts daily life in Gurs. The former is narrated from the point of view of Mickey Mouse, while the latter is written in fairy tale style as a ›book of hours‹, with an omnipresent author who records and illustrates a day in the life of the young ›resident‹. The humorous cartoon-like images, together with the naive, amusing and ›childish‹ texts, stand in sharp contrast to the harsh reality of the camp, thus enhancing the criticism which lies behind them. In an ironical twist of history, Rosenthal's »Mickey Mouse« can be seen as the forerunner of Art Spiegelman's »Maus«, but, tragically, Rosenthal did not survive to witness his artistic legacy.
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