During the Second World War, there were two brave New Zealander’s who became thorns in Hitler’s side. He developed a burning hatred of them (along with countless others) and did his best to have them killed. One worked on exposing him for the fool he was and the other tried her best to thwart his army’s activities in France.

Hitler and his Troops


Born in Dunedin in April 1891, David Low became fascinated with cartoons after discovering them in Punch and began dabbling with a pencil. He had his first cartoon published when he was just 11 years old. It represented the local authorities as lunatics because of their reluctance to remove certain trees that obstructed traffic. At this young age, he also created cartoons for the Salvation Army’s magazine the War Cry.  David never finished school. He preferred to spend his time studying a local Christchurch artist drawing in Cathedral Square. After a period of sending his cartoons to Australian editors, he was offered a position on The Bulletin. In 1918, a collection of his caricatures was published in The Billy Book . Being focused on bigger things, David sent copies of the book to English editors and in 1919 he was offered a position with The Star, a London evening newspaper.  His political cartoons soon became popular with Londoners and in 1927 he was offered more money to work for the Evening Standard newspaper on condition he was given complete freedom from editorial interference. From this time, David Low became a household name across England for his political cartoons, usually criticizing the politicians who were making unpopular decisions on a wide range of issues. He was seen as the people’s champion and even spent time as a commentator on the BBC.

David Low


During the1930s, David created numerous cartoons about the Austrian Civil War and the Italian war in Ethiopia. He also created controversial cartoons on the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin as well as the Spanish Civil War. This was a time of developing turmoil so for some light relief from the grim news he also produced humorous Low and Terry cartoons spoofing the London social scene. David’s work made him one of the most popular and best known cartoonists in Britain right through the 1930s and 40s especially with his clever caricatures of European dictators. He was offered a knighthood for his insightful cartoons but turned it down (he finally accepted it in 1962).

Low responded to Hitler’s decision to withdraw Germany from the Geneva Disarmament Conference in Geneva in October 1933, by drawing a powerful cartoon, The Difficulty of shaking hands with Gods. ”

This cartoon created a focused awareness with the British public about the dangers created by the rise of the Nazis. In November, 1933, he drew a cartoon of a bonfire outside the League of Nations building, with Hitler saying “It worked at the Reichstag – why not here?” Hitler was furious and David’s cartoons were immediately banned from appearing in Nazi Germany.

David Low was on a roll with his anti-Nazi drawings and in 1937 he created a biting series of strips titled Hit and Muss (Hitler and Mussolini), but after Germany made official complaints he substituted a composite dictator, Muzzler. Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels informed Lord Halifax, the British Foreign Secretary at the time that Low’s anti Nazi cartoons were damaging British relations with Germany!!! With his Kiwi ire burning, the complaint probably encouraged David to produce even more controversial material poking fun at the German dictator and his belligerent behaviour.

2 cartoons from


During the Second World War, David Low’s cartoons graphically (and cleverly) illustrated the state of Europe at the time, and the danger Britain faced from Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin. David pulled no punches in showing the terror that the Nazis were inflicting on the countries they conquered. These cartoons also provided a much needed element of humour to make the message more palatable to the British public.


After the war David discovered his name was listed in the Sonderfahndungsliste G.B. (“Special Search List Great Britain”) also known as the Black Book. The information was ordered by Reinhard Heydrich and contained names of people, including British nationals and European exiles to be immediately arrested by the SS after the occupation of Great Britain. Apparently Hitler was so incensed with David’s portrayal of him in his cartoons that David Low’s name was 5th on the list of 2,820 in the Black Book marked for extermination. David didn’t stop with lampooning the German dictator. He also produced numerous cartoons mocking Stalin so it would be fair to assume he was also on the Russian dictator’s hit list.

David Low died at his home at 33 Melbury Court in Kensington in 1963 and a blue plaque was placed outside his home to commemorate him. These plaques have been placed on the walls of various homes across Britain to honour the influential people who lived there and who made valuable contributions to Britain and its way of life.


Nancy Wake was a real life Wonder Woman. Her wartime exploits were extraordinary.

In 1943, Wellington born Nancy Wake was the Gestapo’s most wanted person with a 5-million-franc price on her head.

Nancy Wake (the famous people)

In the 1930s, Nancy worked in Paris as a European correspondent for Hearst newspapers. While on an assignment in Vienna she was shocked to witness roving Nazi gangs randomly beating Jewish men and women in the streets. This violence made her aware of the dangers Hitler and the Nazis posed to Europe. When war broke out, Nancy was in England and joined the Special Operations Executive which had been formed to undertake espionage and sabotage in occupied Europe.

On the night of 29 April 1944, this plucky kiwi was parachuted into Auvergne, and the Forest of Tronçais. Upon discovering her tangled in a tree, Captain Tardivat, the leader of the unit she was to work with, greeted her remarking, “I hope that all the trees in France bear such beautiful fruit this year.”, to which she replied in blunt kiwi fashion, “Don’t give me that French shit!” Her mission was to act as liaison between the French resistance and London. She also became a courier and helped organize an escape network. By 1944, she had over 7,000 freedom fighters under her guidance and between them they fought 22,000 Germans and killed an estimated 1,400 of them while suffering only 100 casualties themselves.

French Resistance Fighters


Nancy and her husband purchased a house in Marseilles and used it to hide downed Royal Air Force pilots then organized their escape back to England. Because of this dangerous work, she was in constant danger and the Gestapo called her the ‘White Mouse’ as she consistently avoided capture. On one occasion to replace codes destroyed in a German raid, Nancy rode a bicycle for more than 500 kilometres (310 mi) through several German checkpoints to get the vital information delivered to London. “A little powder and a little drink on the way, and I’d pass the German posts and wink and say, ‘Do you want to search me?’ God, what a flirtatious little bastard I was.”

During a German attack on another resistance group, Wake, along with two American officers, took command of a section whose leader had been killed. Her famous fighting spirit was clearly demonstrated when she killed an SS sentry with her bare hands to prevent him from raising the alarm during the attack. On another occasion when confronted by a group of Germans, she provided rifle cover which allowed the fighters she was with to flee without losses.

She was almost shot on a number of occasions and her greatest escape from the enemy involved a 50 hour trek over the Pyrenees to Spain. The Germans discovered her plan and despite leaping from a moving train to evade them, she was captured and hauled off to the local Gestapo police station. Despite being tortured for four days, she gave them nothing, not even her real name. They let her go and a few weeks later she made it through the Pyrenees in the back of a coal truck, and from there she sailed through U-Boat infested waters to reach London. Again her courage and resourcefulness saved her life. She thought her husband was safe but after the war, she discovered he had been killed shortly after she reached Spain.

Nancy Wake in Action (deadliest fiction Wiki)

Nancy was known for the vast amounts of alcohol she consumed. Even the soldiers she worked with were staggered at her booze intake. She had a dramatic life filled with more peril than most other kiwi women (or any woman for that matter) ever experience. Her book, The White Mouse became a best seller and a TV movie about her life was also well received. She died in Kingston Hospital in England in August 2011 at the age of 98. Just 14 months earlier, on the 3rd of June 2010, a plaque commemorating her war exploits was unveiled on Oriental Parade in Wellington, a short distance from where she was born.

Nancy Wake Tribute on Oriental Parade

Nancy Wake and David Low certainly used their skills and boldness to help fight the evil that had gripped Europe during the dark years of Nazi occupation. Because they had the Kiwi ‘can do’ attitude, David and Nancy saw their roles as nothing extraordinary. I’d say they quite enjoyed giving Hitler and his Nazis the ‘fingers’!!!

Ceidrik Heward

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