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Philosophie Graffiti

February 2024
1min read

As a retired photo editor ( Newsday , Long Island, N.Y.), I know how hard it can be to get pictures that specifically mesh with the text, but they did flash together in my mind while reading “Looking for the Good Germans,” by David Davidson in the June/July issue. Looking through my wartime file, sure enough, there was the slogan, in Munich, “Dachau, Velden, Buchenwald, I am ashamed to be a German.” Mr. Davidson had a couple of concentration camp names wrong, but let’s not carp or nit-pick; his recollection is pretty good for the time span. One must admire the guts of P. H’pll, the creator, as he signed it. It was even painted, not chalked, so it resisted the elements. Later I do remember seeing the added “Beethoven, Schiller, Goethe—I am proud to be a German,” but cannot come up with a photo, if indeed I ever took one. At that time, I was a first lieutenant in the 166th Signal Photo Company, 3rd Army (under General Patton) photo unit.

Other painted signs accosted both American and German troops, in English or German depending on who was retreating and who was advancing at the moment. The German psychological warfare people evidently had members whose job it was to paint little goodies on various walls designed to discourage the Americans or spur on the Germans.

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