Alsace is a region in the east of today’s France that has changed hands four times between France and Germany during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. When Hansi (born Jean-Jacques Waltz) was born in 1873, it had been two years since the Prussian army marched into Alsace, and the province remained under German annexation until the end of World War I.
Hansi recalled his years at the German school in Colmar as among the worst of his life. Above all, he hated the history lessons, in which the teacher forced the French students to learn about Prussian conquests and the defeat and humiliation of French Alsace.
In 1912, Hansi decided to write his own history of Alsace for children. He wanted to show them how much pride they could have in their past and to hear the story from their own side.
The first edition was published in Paris with great success. However, because of its satirical gibes at all things German, Hansi was given a heavy fine and a warning from the German authorities in Colmar. Soon after, he was sentenced to a year in prison for “insulting the German officer corps.”
The present book is a hand-picked selection from L’Histoire d’Alsace and L’Alsace Heureuse by Hansi. It is full of his trademark colorful and detailed pictures of Alsatian life, as well as his critical and humorous portrayals of the occupying Germans.
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Hansi (1873–1951) was born Jean-Jacques Waltz in Colmar, in the French region of Alsace. A pro-French activist in a German-occupied area following the Franco-Prussian War, he worked as an artist and produced satirical drawings that mocked German authorities. In 1908, he began publishing under the pseudonym “Oncle Hansi,” or just “Hansi.” He was imprisoned several times, including in Leipzig in 1914, from where he escaped back to France to join the military during World War I. In 1941, the Gestapo nearly assassinated him, but he fled to Switzerland. He never recovered from his injuries and died in Colmar in 1951. He is a hero in Alsace, where his books and drawings are widely reproduced.Review:
'In Alsace, you can't miss Hansi's paintings of idyllic village life... In 1912 and 1919 he published two picture books on the history and identity of Alsace. The most beautiful images and words from the two books are available in German or English, as you choose. They will enable tourists to enjoy the idyll and understand the identity of Alsace.' -- Alsatiques, December 2010
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Descripción Floris Books, 2010. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería P11086315767X