In exile

Robert Hans Olschwanger in front his caricatures
Robert Hans Olschwanger in front his caricatures, approx. 1944
German Exile Archive 1933-1945 at the German National Library, estate Robert Hans Olschwanger

In exile

Political caricaturist and commercial artist

Das Deutschland ist nicht mehr, das ich einst kannte.
Dass ich es liebte, sagen Dir die Zeilen,
Die ich empfunden, als ich noch im Lande
Wo ich geboren, doch nicht durft' verweilen.

[The Germany I once knew no longer exists. The lines I composed while I was still in the country of my birth, the country which no longer allows me to stay, show you how much I loved it. (ed. trans.)]

From Robert Hans Olschwanger’s ballad Die Geschichte eines Verbrechens (The story of a crime)

Robert Hans Olschwanger reached Peru in mid-February 1939 at the age of 34. Having secured a contract with the daily newspaper La Prensa, he was immediately able to start work as a commercial artist and caricaturist. Initially he did not speak a word of Spanish, but unlike many writers, the artist found this no obstacle. As a caricaturist, he was immediately able to comment on international political events with no need for words.

Peru appears to have been greatly interested in German politics, since many of the caricatures he published in the daily press dealt with the subject of Nazi Germany. His work met with great acclaim. That same year, he was engaged by another major daily newspaper, La Crónica, which offered him an exclusive contract.

After using the pseudonym OLS in Germany, Olschwanger now signed himself WAN, another sequence of letters from his surname. Over the six years of war that followed, he published caricatures that provided a daily commentary on global political events. However, the drawings were not just satirical but often also in bitter earnest, especially when he tried to convey the scale of the Nazis’ crimes. To this end, he constantly followed the latest news on the radio and in the press. He worked indefatigably. Various Peruvian companies also engaged him as a freelance commercial artist at the same time.