ANTI-HITLER "PERSIAN" PROPAGANDA PRINTS
Most unusual and scarce set of five satirical prints, each 9" x 13 1/2", featuring derogatory depictions of Adolf Hitler, Josef Goebbels, Benito Mussolini, Hideki Tojo and other world leaders, all in the style of Persian "miniature" illustrations, and portraying scenes from the "Shahnameh", the national epic of Iran. Each scene bears a caption in Farsi, explaining the action. The first scene in the sequence depicts Hitler as King Zahhak, the arch-villain of the epic, with two snakes rising from his shoulders bearing the likenesses of Mussolini and Tojo. A small hoofed demon bearing the likeness of Goebbels serves the ruler coffee and hashish, and turbaned guards with pistols and swastika armbands surround the palace. The next scene depicts Hitler-Zahak and Goebbels indiscriminately whipping and killing his subjects, with previous victims suspended behind him and more being led in by guards. In the third scene, Hitler-Zahak dreams of three kings, in the likenesses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin, setting out from a palace intent on killing the despot. In the next scene, the hero of the epic, the blacksmith Kaveh rises up against Hitler in the name of justice, exclaiming: "O Shah I am Kaveh in demand of justice. There must be a limit to oppression; oppression must always have a just cause." In the final scene, Kaveh leads away a trussed-up Hitler-Zahak slung over the back of a horse, escorted by the three "kings", and with the Goebbels-like imp tied by the legs to the horse''s tail. A sixth scene, depicting Hitler-Zahak being nailed to Mount Damavand, has only been found as a black-and-white post card, and is not present here. These illustrations were created by the Egyptian-born British graphic artist Kimon Evan Marengo, whose pen-name "Kem" appears at the corner of each scene. They were created and distributed in Iran around the time of the Tehran Conference in 1943, and were intended to encourage pro-Allied sentiments following the invasion of Iran by British and Russian forces in 1941, resulting in the exile of Shah and the elevation of his son, Reza Pahlavi, to the throne. Each shows light adhesive residue on the verso, else very good to fine.