The cartoon features two figures standing near an open safe. The front figure is placing items such as valuable cups into a sack and is wearing a mask across his face. The second figure is next to the safe wearing a German WWI overcoat and a German pickelhaube military helmet. He has a moustache and is looking in some disbelief towards the thief.
Ben strange signature bottom right.
The cartoon was published in the Western Mail on 30 November 1917 and was accompanied by the caption:
Buglers broke into the Kaiser's palace in Wilhelmshaven and carried off numerous urns, Portland vases, and ancient weapons of great artistic value. (Cable). Bill Hohenzollern to Bill Zykes: "Donner und blitzen, tog, tog toant eat tog!"

Historical information

The Cartoon
The cartoon shows Kaiser Wilhelm II, dressed in slippers, an overcoat, and his distinctive spiked helmet (pickelhaube), pleading with a masked burglar who is emptying the contents of the Kaiser’s safe into his sack. On the ground are vases, trophies, weapons, a box with a lid prised off, numerous documents and a crow-bar. Bill Hohenzollern says to Bill Zykes “Donner und blitzen: tog toant eat tog”.
The text notes that the Kaiser’s palace at Wilhelmshaven had been burgled and various items of artistic value stolen.

The cartoon is poking fun at the burglary suffered by the Kaiser in November of 1917, and the loss of some very valuable items (independently reported in a number of newspapers in Australia). Strange is making the point that the Kaiser and the robber are the same - ‘two of a kind’- vicious robbers without remorse. By calling Kaiser Wilhelm ‘Bill Hohenzollern’, Strange turns him into a commoner with the Anglicised version of the name ‘Wilhelm’ and the use of the family name of the ruling family of Germany - ‘Hohenzollern’. This was a common practice throughout WW1 with numerous cartoonists taking away the Kaiser’s royal lineage. The Bill Zykes character is possibly meant to represent Bill Sikes, the cruel thug and thief of Charles Dickens’ book Oliver Twist.

The comments made by Bill Hohanzollern to Bill Zykes are interesting , ‘Donner und blitzem, tog toant eat tog’. The phrase can can only be partially translated into English. Strange often uses a corrupted form of German in his cartoons. Whilst ‘Donner und blitzen’ literally means thunder and lightning this phrase might also refer to the reindeer of the song, Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer (although the history of the song is interesting in that the reindeer are initially called Dunder and Blixem). The phrase ‘tog toant eat tog’ has no translation. Possibly is the phonetic sounding, if said in a mocking German accent, of 'dog don't eat dog', or mockingly implying that the Kaiser is saying a thief should not steal from a thief.



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Artist's signature bottom right [Ben Strange]

Statement of significance

The Ben Strange cartoons are historically significant as they depict many key figures linked to the history and development of both Western Australia and Australia. Political figures who regularly appeared in his cartoon’s included John ‘Happy Jack’ Scaddan, the Premier of Western Australia from 1911 until 1916, and William ‘Billy’ Hughes, the Prime Minister of Australia from 1915 to 1923.

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City of Armadale - History House

City of Armadale - History House

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Two figures standing near an open safe. The front figure is placing items into a sack. The second figure is looking in disbelief towards the first.

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