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Royal Film Company

Vater & Sohn

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Royal Film Company

The father’s bushy eyebrows and gigantic moustache have been etched into the reader’s memories around the world just as much as the cheeky hairstyle of the son. These „father and son“ (Vater & Sohn) cartoons are what made the Cartoonist and Illustrator Erich Ohser from Plauen world-famous. Ohser illustrated the books of his friend Erich Kästner when he first became a father in the 30s. The family resides in Berlin, there isn’t any mention of affluence, but there’s enough to get by and Ohser is a proud and happy father. However, the family’s idyllic life with his wife, Mrs Marigard and their son is soon to be disturbed. Ohser detests the National Socialists and makes them look laughable in his cartoons. After the Nazis come to power, he is put under vocational prohibition and it is through Marigard’s work as an Illustrator, that the family gets by. Ohser is suffering from the ban, looks after their son, withdraws from society. Only through a loop-hole, through the non-politically motivated „father and son“– stories, does he get permission to work as an illustrator. „Father and son“ gets successful over night. The Ohsers are doing well, until a short while later the success is to be exploited by the rulers. Ohser himself is being used and can’t do anything about it – he wants to safeguard his family and at the same time continue his life as an honest and straight man. Both will not be possible for him. Ohser starts to caricature the allies for the paper „Das Reich“ and suffers from the shabby propaganda work for the Nazis. Pressure and fear is the permanent companion of the young family. Conflicts with his wife Marigard and his son Christian escalate, and force the otherwise apolitical Ohser to take sides. He has a fall-out with Christian. The passive resistance and the Nazi-Cartoons from years prior will be his doom. When one night, during air raids in a bomb shelter, he rants on about the regime, a former neighbor listens in. Denunciation and his arrest follow. Ohser meets his family one last time and manages to reconcile with his son. In his farewell letters, Ohser tries to save his friend Erich Knauf, who was arrested alongside him – unsuccessfully. In the end Erich Ohser hangs himself in a Gestapo prison, to escape his certain death-sentence. Christian accepts the legacy and passes Ohser’s anarchistic love for freedom from „father and son“ on to his children and grandchildren.


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