GHOSTS OF THE PAST: In his most biting political cartoon yet, Karl Lagerfeld points the finger at German Chancellor Angela Merkel after a far-right party won seats in the German parliament for the first time in half a century.
Lagerfeld blamed Merkel’s decision to let more than one million refugees into the country since 2015 for the rise in support for the Alternative for Germany party, which won nearly 13 percent of the vote in the German federal elections, making it the third-largest party in the country.
The sketch, scheduled to be published on Saturday in the monthly magazine supplement to the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, shows Adolf Hitler telling Merkel: “Thank you very much for inadvertently allowing my descendants to be represented in parliament.” A distraught Merkel asks: “What have I done?”
Lagerfeld has contributed caricatures to the monthly magazine since it was launched in February 2013. Though he does not vote, he frequently targets politicians including Merkel.
“I am beside myself!” he said of the rise of right-wing populism in Germany. “I hoped that something like this would never happen again in my life,” added Lagerfeld, who grew up in Germany under the rule of Hitler’s Nazi Party. “I am ashamed of Germany,” he added.
Alfons Kaiser, managing editor of the magazine, said: “His wit is unique. His sketches show that he stands in the great tradition of German political cartoons and was influenced particularly by ‘Simplicissimus,’ the leading German satirical magazine of the pre-war times, which he read as a boy.”
In 2015, Lagerfeld gave his take on the Greek debt crisis with a sketch showing Merkel and Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund — both wearing dour expressions — dumping coins into a wooden barrel.
The scenario alludes to the Danaides in Greek mythology, who were condemned to pour water forever into a leaky vessel for having murdered their husbands. The women came to represent the futility of a task that can never be completed. Lagerfeld’s caption read: “The barrel of the Danaides: A Greek invention!”