Ungerer Tomi


28.11.1931 - 09.02.2019

Writer, illustrator, cartoonist.


Jean-Thomas “Tomi” Ungerer, born  28 November, 1931, Strasbourg, France.

The son of a watchmaker, lost his father at the age of three. After the defeat of France in 1940, he survived the annexation of Alsace by the “Third Reich” and the policy of Germanization, and in 1945 he witnessed the battles during the liquidation of the “Colmar Cauldron” by the Allied forces, which he later told in his autobiographical works. He gained worldwide fame thanks to works for children and youth in French, English and German with his own illustrations, as well as erotic drawings and advertising. Throughout his life, he took a pronounced political position, sharply opposed racial segregation, condemned the US war in Vietnam, the nuclear arms race and the election of Donald Trump as US president. Ungerer’s creative heritage reaches 40 thousand drawings. He presented about 11 thousand drawings, as well as sculptures and toys to the museum dedicated to him in Strasbourg.

Since the 1950s he lived in the USA, where by the end of the 1960s he had gained controversial fame as an author of erotic graphics and books on BDSM topics. Once, speaking at a conference on children’s literature, he said: “If people didn’t fuck, there would be no children, and without children you would lose your job.” Views of this kind created problems with publication in the United States, and around 1970 Ungerer and his wife moved to Canadian Nova Scotia, and two years later settled in Ireland.

In the United States, Ungerer attracted the attention of the FBI because of anti-war speeches, and in Ireland he received threats from French nationalists for speaking in favor of reconciliation with Germany. He published in Charlie Hebdo and equated the terrorists who attacked the editorial office of this satirical weekly with the Nazis.

Died  9 February , 2019 in Cork, Munster, Ireland.


  • 1972: “Mention” — Critics’ Award, Children’s Literature Fair in Bologna (Italy) for illustrations for Barbara Hazen’s book Guillaume l’apprenti sorcier.
  • 1980: Golden Brezel.
  • 1983: Burckhardt Prize of the Goethe Foundation in Basel.
  • 1995: Grand National Prize of Graphic Arts (Grand Prix national des arts graphiques).
  • 1998: H. K. Andersen Prize for Illustrations.
  • 2004: Honorary Doctor of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.
  • 2005: Award “e.o.plauen Preis” (Erich Lake) for a set of graphic works.
  • 2008: French-German Prize of the Berlin Academy.
  • Grand Prix of the French-German Prize for Journalism (PFAJ).
  • 1967: “Mention” — Critics’ Award, Children’s Literature Fair in Bologna (Italy) for Jean de la Lune.


  • 1984: Commander of the Order of Arts and Literature.
  • 1990: Knight of the Legion of Honor.
  • 1993: Officer of the Order of Merit for the Federal Republic of Germany, for activities in the field of French-German relations.
  • 2001: Officer of the Legion of Honor.
  • 2004: Knight of the Order of Academic Palms.
  • 2013: Commander of the Order of Merit.
  • 2017: Commander of the Legion of Honor.


Reference: Wikipedia, 2019



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