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"The Waldheim Truth"

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Austria (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1986 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Deix, Manfred, born 1949 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    offset lithograph

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of the American Friends of the V&A; Gift to the American Friends by Leslie, Judith and Gabri Schreyer and Alice Schreyer Batko

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case 3G, shelf DR27

This poster shows a series of caricatrures in the signature style of Austrian satirical illustrator Manfred Deix. The images mock the Austrian politician and diplomat Kurt Waldheim. The conservative Waldheim served two terms as United Nations Secretary General (1972-1981) and was elected President of Austria from 1986-1991. During his election campaign, he was strongly criticised for downplaying his role in the Nazi atrocities of World War II, when he served as an army lieutenant from 1942-1945. Deix scathingly seizes on what he perceives as the politician's dishonesty and inability to recollect important facts. In one image, Waldheim's "twin" naievely wonders "where are all these people going?" while looking at a group of deported Jews. In others, he remarks "the Balkans? I don't know that place!" and ironically admonishes to "keep away from war crimes".

Physical description

Satirical illustration of Kurt Waldheim

Place of Origin

Austria (made)


ca. 1986 (made)


Deix, Manfred, born 1949 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

offset lithograph

Marks and inscriptions

The Waldheim Truth
translated from the German

Whaaat? I'm supposed to be Waldheim? That picture must be a fake! Waldheim wears longer pants! Maybe I'm his doppelgänger [shadow self]! Wait! Just a moment: I remember - I'm his twin!! I live underground with the NS Student Association. Now I'm back 'cause Germany needs smart people. You can't rely on "Kurtl", I don't trust him. We look alike, but I'm not Kurt.

I like sports and play because I'm so disinterested in politics! What can be nicer than chasing butterflies just as in my days of youth? Getting hunting trophies with like-minded youths? The Riding Club is so harmless, I would like to join them - I'll join the riding team and have a lot of fun!

[addressing himself to people from the Balkans] I'm Kurt from Austria! I think all humans are alike. A Russian wounded my foot, therefore I will now start as a translator: "O Sole Mio!" "Celentano!" "C'est la vie!" "Je t'aime!" "Ti Amo!" "I love you baby!" "Oh La la." From now on, I'll be there for you - and when we get to know each other a little better, you can call me "Ostmark-Kurti"!

Hello, you partisans! You probably already guessed that I have to interrogate you. Only three questions, then I'll quit: Tell me: Do you like the Nazis? If not, I'll forgive you both. Are you trying to end my life? Yes? Well, OK, I'll forgive you. And now a "Schnäpschen" [a bit of hard liquor] - or beer? Long live Tito! Greet him for me! Wait! You must also promise me: keep away from war crimes!

[looking at deported Jews] Where are all these people going? From Saloniki to Tessin? To go fishing at the sea? To go climbing in the Andes? To hunt bears in Canada? I know - They're going to Ibiza! Or maybe into the tropic regions to Negroes, Zebras and Antilopes? To Trinidad? To the Comoran Islands? Maybe to start drilling there for oil? Or maybe to the South Pacific Coast? Dear God, if only I knew!!

[when interviewed later] I knew of nothing and never had something bad planned. I never hurt anyone - as far as I can remember! The Balkans? I don't know that place! Where is this foreign country? I must have forgotten... Oh God! Now I remember! Getting older isn't easy, you know - memory lapses! You!! Don't look at me so inquiringly! I only did my duty and was totally civil in those days! You can ask my wife.

Deix/ distributed by the JG, SJÖ, VsStÖ, RF and NFJ
surname of artist/ Youth wings of Austrian Parties


Height: 59 cm, Width: 84 cm

Object history note

NB: The term "negro" was used historically to describe people of black (sub-Saharan) African heritage but, since the 1960s, has fallen from usage and, increasingly, is considered offensive. The term is repeated here in its original historical context.

Descriptive line

"The Waldheim Truth" political poster satirising Austrian politician and diplomat Kurt Waldheim in a series of caricatures by Manfred Deix. Austria, ca. 1986.


Paper; Ink

Subjects depicted

Propaganda; Politics; Satire; Caricatures


Prints; Propaganda; Politics; Caricatures & Cartoons; Posters


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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