MAD Magazine and the Holocaust

MAD Magazine and the Holocaust

by Grant Gochin

MAD Magazine was a staple of American satire for generations. It was a formative architect of American humor, spawning an untold number of artists, journalists, creators, humorists, movies, and television shows. I ascribe my own particular sense of humor to having been fascinated by MAD Magazine in my youth.

Al Jaffee was best known as the American political cartoonist who contributed to MAD Magazine from the 1950s until 2020. From 1927 to 1933 he lived in provincial Lithuania, in his parents’ native town of Zarasai.

Al Jaffe and MAD Magazine personify the Jews of Zarasai. Zarasai is today a tiny, irrelevant village, in remote Eastern Europe. From Zarasai, was formed the American sense of humor.

So, what happened to Jaffe’s Jewish community from Zarasai, Lithuania?

On Tuesday, 3rd of Elul, August 26, 1941, eight thousand Jews from Zarasai and surrounding communities were taken to a forest near Dusetos, and murdered. I know of no survivors, so, the only source of information was from the murderers themselves.

Lithuanians tell us they never saw anything, none of them knew anything, nobody heard anything. There were no smells coming from the slaughter of eight thousand human lives. But, nonetheless, information leaks out.

It was Lithuanians who proudly selected the location for the murders of their Jewish neighbors. Lithuanians eagerly identified and rounded up their Jewish co-citizens, including Al Jaffe’s mother. They enthusiastically drove the innocent Jews to their pre-prepared killing fields with utter cruelty and savagery. This was their entertainment.

Full article here.