Library Collections: Louis Raemaekers

Louis Raemaekers (1869-1956) was a Dutch painter and cartoonist who rose to prominence during the Great War for his anti-German stance. 

Shortly after the Germans invaded Belgium, Raemaekers became one of their fiercest critics and used his graphic cartoons to back up his views. He believed strongly that Holland should give up its neutrality and join the Allies. His work was at times confiscated by the Dutch government and he was strongly criticised for endangering Dutch neutrality. 

In late 1915 Raemaekers left for London where his work received much acclaim. He moved to Britain permanently in 1916 before embarking to America in 1917 on a propaganda drive. He gave lectures and interviews and met Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt. It is said that his efforts were one of the biggest propaganda drives of the Great War. 

In the monastery library, we are lucky to hold a limited edition collection of one hundred of Raemaeker’s cartoons produced by the Red Cross. Entitled ‘The Great War: A Neutral’s Indictment’ the works are one of only 1050 made in 1916. A series of prints, signed by the artist include many satirical drawings of German aggression and Dutch impotence. Some of the cartoons are shown below. 

Left to right: Holland to Belgium. ‘Outwardly I must be neutral, inwardly I am full of pity and sympathy.’ 

The Widows of Belgium

The Wonders of Culture