E.O. Plauen

E.O. Plauen was the pseudonym of Erich Ohser (1903–1944). In the 1920s, he studied art in Leipzig and began a career as a cartoonist and illustrator. He moved to Berlin in 1927, and began collaborating with his friend, the writer Erich Kästner, including drawing illustrations for Kästner’s first book of poetry (which would later be burned by the Nazis). Ohser’s caricatures of high-ranking Nazis such as Goebbels and Hitler led to his being banned from publishing after they took power. Unable to use his own name, he paired his initials, “E.O.,” with “Plauen,” the town he grew up in, and using this pseudonym created Vater und Sohn in 1934; it appeared in the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, to great acclaim, until 1937. Though he was allowed to return to regular magazine work in 1940—his caricatures of Stalin were especially popular—he was arrested four years later by the Gestapo for disparaging the regime. The day before his trial, he committed suicide in his cell.