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Anti-Fascist Propaganda Pack for the Siege of Leningrad, 1943

In 1943 a pack of ‘anti-fascist’ playing cards was designed by Vasiliy Andrianovich Vlasov mocking the rulers of Germany and the Axis powers.

Towards the end of 1941 Stalin gave orders that playing card production was to be resumed in Leningrad and a pack of ‘anti-fascist’ playing cards was designed by Vasiliy Andrianovich Vlasov mocking the rulers of Germany and the Axis powers. Working under difficult conditions and with no electricity, the pack was finally ready for distribution in 1943 in an edition of about 700 copies. The characters portrayed are from those countries that had attacked Russia in 1941: Germany, Romania, Italy and Finland. The Queens and Aces are allegories of the times and the Joker shows Goebbels

Russian anti-fascist playing cards published in 1943
Russian anti-fascist playing cards published in 1943
Russian anti-fascist playing cards published in 1943

Above: a selection of the original cards from 1943, with Russian indices, also showing the cropping guide marks and colour palette. Images courtesy Valentin Krasavin.

Modern re-prints

re-print of the Anti-fascist playing cards published by Peterhof State Museum, 2010 re-print of the Anti-fascist playing cards published by Peterhof State Museum, 2010

Above: a re-print of the Anti-fascist playing cards published by Peterhof State Museum, 2010. Images courtesy Valentin Krasavin.

REFERENCES & CREDITS

Mētra, Jānis: Propaganda Pack for the Siege of Leningrad, in "The Playing Card" Vol.32 no.3, Nov/Dec 2003, IPCS, England.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.


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