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The Katyn Forest Massacre

Article about: Or.......maybe the guy who originally made the poster just liked the way the couple of slanted letter tops looked...never knowing that someday in the future someone would "patent"

  1. #81

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    Quote by 4thskorpion View Post
    If the name "NKVD" was well known by the German population one would reasonably expect a search of the Bundesarchiv digital image library to have some reference of the term in one of its 193,000 online files but unfortunately it does not.
    Narodny Kommissariat Vnutrennikh Del (People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs) - The Soviet Police and Secret Police. How does the Bundesarchiv reference the Soviet state police? It must have references to this organization.



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    Quote by 4thskorpion View Post
    My contention is, what empathy did the German population have with Polish soldiers or Poles? They were "untermensch" and had been murdered and enslaved by the Germans for three years before Katyn without much empathy from the German public! So why would the German propagandists choose the image of one "untermensch" being executed by another "untermensch" instead of more powerful images more directly related to the target audience... IMO it doesn't make sense given that the German's were masters of targeted propaganda themes like the two anti-bolshevik posters attached.
    I suggest again, as the examples shown are in French, German and Slovak, that the posters may be targeted towards soldiers in particular not Germans in general nor Poles.

    Any German or Axis troops fighting in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Byelorussia and the Ukraine would probably learn of the NKVD from the general population, possibly from captured soldiers and officers, their own 'politically minded officers' or German propaganda. Once Katyn was discovered such a poster might resonate with soldiers.

    As to your contention that it would have little empathetic effect because the German population thought of Poles as 'untermensch' - perhaps but does that apply to the French or Slovaks?

    Since this is a Polish forum most of us should be aware of the strong historic ties between Catholic France and Catholic Poland. No empathy for Poles from the French?

    And while Slovakia was allied to Nazi Germany and provided troops for the invasion of Poland in 1939, both nations are Slavic and Catholic - might there not be some empathy for the Poles from their Slav neighbours? Even if not, I'm sure the Slovaks would get the point of the poster. The leader of the Slovak state was Monsignor Jozef Tiso an anti Semitic Catholic priest, the country was predominately Catholic - such a poster in Slovak linking Jews and the Soviet Secret Police together might create fear and might be an effective propaganda tool.

    And with respect to specifically German soldiers - soldiers often have a grudgingly respect for enemy soldiers - even when official policy is to dehumanize them. And the poster may not necessarily represent disapproval of the NKVD executing Polish soldiers, or seek to evoke empathy for the Poles, it may 'merely' be what to expect if you are captured.
    Last edited by dastier; 09-30-2012 at 10:29 PM. Reason: Added posters in question so newcomers would be up to speed.

  2. #82

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    Quote by 4thskorpion View Post

    It would not have been, and was not, a weak message for Poles but we are considering its relevance to the German general public.

    If the purpose of propaganda is to gain empathy with its target audience for the message being conveyed and the intended target audience of this particular Katyn poster was the German population (given the use of German "JUDE NKVD heading) then for that reason alone it is a weak image/message.

    My contention is, what empathy did the German population have with Polish soldiers or Poles? They were "untermensch" and had been murdered and enslaved by the Germans for three years before Katyn without much empathy from the German public! So why would the German propagandists choose the image of one "untermensch" being executed by another "untermensch" instead of more powerful images more directly related to the target audience... IMO it doesn't make sense given that the German's were masters of targeted propaganda themes like the two anti-bolshevik posters attached.

    Also included is the one anti-NKVD poster I did find and which I think was for Ukraine(?), who would like the Poles certainly known about the "NKVD" murderers!
    Let me ask you this; do you not think that the imagery alone, ignoring the actual event of Katyn, would be enough to instill further terror in the common German/Axis soldier considering their already established fear of a worldwide Communist revolution? "This is what might happen all over Germany/Europe if we do not win this war..." Considering that a total of 18.2 million people served in the Wehrmacht from 1935-45 this would have been a topic of major concern/of relevance to most every German family.

    Also, look at the second poster you included;

    "Bolschewismus ist Juden herrschaft" --- " Bolshevism is ?????" There are several translations for "herrschaft" but ultimately it seems to be pointing to Bolshevism being the work/responsibility of Jews --- just like it is with the poster in question where "Jude" is effectively coupled with "NKVD", the Stalinist instrument of terror.

    "Uber Europa kommen?" ---- "Coming over Europe?" Here they are playing with the notion that this is what might happen all over Europe if the Germans and other fighting forces of occupied territories/allies do not continue on supporting and fighting this war.... it's not so much about directly having sympathy with the Poles as it is about invoking fear and thereby strengthening the, in this case, Polish and German's will to fight on.

    "Niemals!" --- "Never!" Another obvious pointer to this being about instilling fear over a possible scenario eventually playing out in Germany/being repeated in Poland, not so much about evoking sympathy for the actual individuals killed. To the Poles it would have drawn upon sympathy AND fear, to the Germans it would mostly have played upon fear...
    But the bottom line would have been the same for both; a repetition of this must be prevented at all cost. Equally effective in both countries imo.

    The last line at the bottom is about fighting hard and making sacrifices in order to ensure final victory.

    As I see it these two posters are trying to convey more or less the same thing... the major difference being that the "Jude-NKVD" poster in question relies more on evocative and colorful imagery of Bolshevik brutality whereas the other one relies more on the written word and is a far more factual/"straightforward" piece of propaganda depicting photos of the actual result of the massacre etc.

    Hope I got my personal point of view and understanding of the poster in question across a bit clearer this time around.

  3. #83

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    One other consideration is that the evocative poster might also be directed at the illiterate whether general population or soldiers.That might account for its imagery and 'catch phrases'.

    I know what the KGB, NKVD, Gestapo are but I don't know the actual meaning of the acronym. I probably first heard Gestapo on TV shows as a child. I didn't know exactly what it was but I knew it was BAD!

    And wouldn't it be reasonable to consider German as being a sort of 'lingua franca' in many parts of Central and Eastern Europe from prewar and war times? Joining a common German word and an acronym for a feared organization which while may not be commonly known, may by mid WW2 at least, known to specific target populations?

  4. #84

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    It's true...the Russians and the Germans Both felt little respect for the Pole population. As has been previously stated, the Poles were considered "Untermensch" and this was felt by Both the Germans and the Russians. Perhaps the reason for the title language of the infamous poster was precisely this. If the Russians felt no apprehension or hesitation to openly slaughter a people who they held in outright contempt and thought were worthless and beneath them, then Think, German population, just what they will do to You when they get Here! You, who they've been actively ferociously Fighting for Years now and just as actively Hate and wish to see crushed and defeated. The despised Jew and the murderous bestial Russians!....just Imagine what's in store for You when they over run Your country! Join the Wehrmacht! Fight for your country and your own Lives! Don't let This come to Germany and even Worse be done to You!
    This poster holds a Very powerful imagery and message. It could almost certainly be regarded as a recruiting campaign piece. If you instill enough Fear and Anxiety into a people about the possible coming of personal and horrible Doom, then they will move worlds and mountains to help prevent such a catastrophe from occurring to Them. No mystery here.
    William

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  5. #85

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    Quote by 4thskorpion View Post
    I wonder who this version of the poster was aimed at? The fact that "JUDE-NKVD" is not also or only in Polish suggests not Poles in Poland. But it must have been designed for a Polish audience somewhere for who else would understand "JUDE-NKVD" and Katyn headline? That heading presents a puzzle. Could it be a modern(ish) interpretation of the original propaganda poster?
    That's a good question Stefan. It is yellowed, has some foxing - mostly on the reverse, is wrinkled and creased. But as we know these things can all be faked. The printing technique is offset printing on a slightly heavier newsprint stock. Measures 16 1/4 x 11 1/2 inches. I've had it about ten years, and seem to recall it was from the Ukraine. Never seen another one like it.

    Here's another German propaganda leaflet from the collection, titled "Bloody Warning", with the caption below the photo "Polish delegation (stand) over the corpses of murdered Polish soldiers". Although there's no date marked it's apparent that this was issued in 1943. The content has the expected anti-Soviet statements along with anti Churchill-Roosevelt commentary warning how they had “turned their backs on Sikorski in their quest for solidarity with the Bolsheviks”, and “Guard yourselves against them as they are the helpers of the Bolshevik murderers”.

    I’ve always found it strange how the occupying Germans, themselves subjecting the Poles to no-less brutal persecution on a horrific scale, played the humanitarian card of warning the Poles to protect themselves against “your nations murderous enemy”. Did they actually believe that the Poles viewed them in a more favourable light?

    Regards,
    Tony
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    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  6. #86

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    Quote by dastier View Post
    Narodny Kommissariat Vnutrennikh Del (People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs) - The Soviet Police and Secret Police. How does the Bundesarchiv reference the Soviet state police? It must have references to this organization.
    Document not found.




    Quote by dastier View Post
    I suggest again, as the examples shown are in French, German and Slovak, that the posters may be targeted towards soldiers in particular not Germans in general nor Poles.
    Setting aside the imagery, the important point from the above is that the Germans chose to use the native language of the target audience on these versions of the poster and adds weight to my argument that it must have been for a German audience because Tony's poster uses German "JUDE" and not Polish "Żyd", French "Juif", Slovak "žid", Latvian "jūds", Dutch "Jood" etc it must have been for a German audience, not Polish, Slovak, French etc —if indeed the poster is period. And the fact that it is a clumsy use of a noun rather than an adjective is an issue IMO.

    The other point that was suggested (not by me) that German public would have been aware of what "NKVD" meant as it was a popular (and specific) term well known to the German public, hence "JUDE NKVD" would have been a made perfect sense to the German public and consequently a good propaganda heading to use.

    Given this argument then one would expect to have found at least one document in Bundesarchiv collection that used the keyword "NKVD" in document title given the premise that it was a well known term and that is why it was used in conjunction with the other well known word "JUDE" by the propagandists. However there are no references to documents with "NKVD" in this national archive collection. However I did point out that although 193,000 documents are online there must be millions more not online so maybe a million documents that might mention "NKVD" and "JUDE NKVD"
    Last edited by StefanM; 10-01-2012 at 04:35 PM.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  7. #87

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    Quote by slados28 View Post
    Let me ask you this; do you not think that the imagery alone, ignoring the actual event of Katyn, would be enough to instill further terror in the common German/Axis soldier considering their already established fear of a worldwide Communist revolution? "This is what might happen all over Germany/Europe if we do not win this war..." Considering that a total of 18.2 million people served in the Wehrmacht from 1935-45 this would have been a topic of major concern/of relevance to most every German family.
    I cannot say how much information was conveyed to the German public by the Nazi propagandists about the German forces being defeated. But I doubt there were any official pronouncements of defeat, I believe all forms of defeatism was punished severely by the Nazi regime even as the Red Army was fighting in the outskirts of Berlin. "If we don't win this war" would have been defeatist and therefore IMO would not have been suggested or implied by the propagandists who promoted the message of ultimate victory to the end.



    Quote by slados28 View Post
    Also, look at the second poster you included;

    "Bolschewismus ist Juden herrschaft" --- " Bolshevism is ?????" There are several translations for "herrschaft" but ultimately it seems to be pointing to Bolshevism being the work/responsibility of Jews --- just like it is with the poster in question where "Jude" is effectively coupled with "NKVD", the Stalinist instrument of terror.
    The second poster uses specifically the heading "Bolschewismus ist Juden herrschaft" not "NKVD" and indeed "NKVD" is not used anywhere in this poster or the other examples (apart from the Ukrainian one where NKVD is in its Cyrillic form). The reason "Jewish Bolshevism" was used is because it was a term widely recognised by the German public and other European countries where this anti-semetic message was a common theme in pre-war propaganda. It was not the term "NKVD" but "Bolshevism" or "Jewish Bolshevism" that was understood and therefore chosen by the propagandists.

    Below: Another German massacre poster this time Ukraine depicting a 'Jewish Commissar' towering over a mass grave at Vinnytsia in the Ukraine, circa 1943. The victims were uncovered during the German occupation of the Ukraine in 1943. The massacre was then used by the Germans to discredit the Soviet Union.






    Quote by slados28 View Post
    Hope I got my personal point of view and understanding of the poster in question across a bit clearer this time around.
    I have enjoyed reading them and enjoyed the subsequent debate
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    Last edited by StefanM; 10-01-2012 at 04:40 PM.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  8. #88

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    Quote by Wagriff View Post
    It's true...the Russians and the Germans Both felt little respect for the Pole population. As has been previously stated, the Poles were considered "Untermensch" and this was felt by Both the Germans and the Russians. Perhaps the reason for the title language of the infamous poster was precisely this. If the Russians felt no apprehension or hesitation to openly slaughter a people who they held in outright contempt and thought were worthless and beneath them, then Think, German population, just what they will do to You when they get Here! You, who they've been actively ferociously Fighting for Years now and just as actively Hate and wish to see crushed and defeated. The despised Jew and the murderous bestial Russians!....just Imagine what's in store for You when they over run Your country! Join the Wehrmacht! Fight for your country and your own Lives! Don't let This come to Germany and even Worse be done to You!
    This poster holds a Very powerful imagery and message. It could almost certainly be regarded as a recruiting campaign piece. If you instill enough Fear and Anxiety into a people about the possible coming of personal and horrible Doom, then they will move worlds and mountains to help prevent such a catastrophe from occurring to Them. No mystery here.
    The defeat of the German army at Stalingrad which coincided almost at the same the time as the Katyn "discovery" and the subsequent "Katyn" propaganda posters, the soldiers fighting at Stalingrad were writing home convinced that through their fighting and deaths ultimately the war wold be won by the Germans:
    The Israeli historian Omer Bartov noted that of 11,237 letters sent by soldiers inside of Stalingrad between 20 December 1942 and 16 January 1943 to their families in Germany, almost every letter expressed belief in Germany's ultimate victory, and their willingness to fight and die at Stalingrad to achieve that victory.
    Source wiki.

    So where would the "JUDE KATYN" poster in particular fit into this picture (forgive the pun) of ultimate victory in the minds of those at the front and at home?
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  9. #89

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    Timing .... Stalingrad has fallen, or germans surrendered 2nd February 1943, graves in Katyn April 1943.

  10. #90

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    Quote by A.J. Zawadzki View Post
    That's a good question Stefan. It is yellowed, has some foxing - mostly on the reverse, is wrinkled and creased. But as we know these things can all be faked. The printing technique is offset printing on a slightly heavier newsprint stock. Measures 16 1/4 x 11 1/2 inches. I've had it about ten years, and seem to recall it was from the Ukraine. Never seen another one like it.
    I don't know if the poster is a fake or not I just can't get past that "JUDE NKVD" heading or who it was aimed at? Could it actually have been put together by Ukranians given what I now think is clumsy use of German language? It does remind me of the armbands with incorrect German, missing umlauts, etc but having said that you will recall reports of Polish consternation at the Bevin leaflet poorly translated into Polish by HMG. So these PR errors do happen.

    Quote by A.J. Zawadzki View Post
    Did they actually believe that the Poles viewed them in a more favourable light?
    I think so. The Polish nationalists did believe the real enemy was "Jewish Bolsheviks" rather than the Germans and even in December 1943 c.c Adolf Pilch AK commander ignored the Polish government-in-exile order to cease cooperation with the Germans and continued to operate a ceasefire with them to fight against the Soviet Red Army despite his knowledge of all that Germans had done to Poles and to Poland. Other AK units fought alongside a 28 man platoon of the Byelorussian Special Airborne Battalion "Dalwitz" which was under the command of the Otto Skorzeny and his SS-Jagdverbande. When this "Dalwitz" commando platoon was pushed out of the Vilinus region by the Red Army they fought together against Soviet-backed Polish communist AL.

    Your mention of Churchill reminded me of this hand-painted propaganda poster on the streets of Warsaw: Churchill, Public Enemy No. 1!



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    Last edited by StefanM; 10-01-2012 at 04:42 PM.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

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