Nazi Accordion-Propaganda leaflet aimed at Black soldiers, 1944 / also one from Korea, 1951
(Courtesy of Klaus Kirchner German Leaflets for American and British Soldiers in Italy1944/1945)
Like the “AI” coded leaflets, the “AF” leaflets were also produced by the Sudstern section of the SS-Standarte “Kurt Eggers” organization for Allied troops in Italy. There are a number of these vary gaudy and “arty” leaflets showing black soldiers in strange positions with caricatured looks on their faces. It is clear from the codes that the Germans decided to work on getting American and British black troops to surrender in late in 1944. The leaflet shows two happy black POWs smoking a pipe and playing an accordion in the background, while their buddy is killed at the front in the foreground.
Checking my WWII Order of Battle I find that this unit named on the leaflet is identified as the “92nd Infantry Division (Colored).” It arrived in Naples in August 1944. In regard to the battle mentioned above I find the quote:
The German counterattack against the division along the Serchio drove in its outposts on 26 December 1944. The following day part of the infantry abandoned its positions and the division made further withdrawals.
It would appear that having given the division a sound beating the Germans believed that they would be ready to surrender and prepared this tactical leaflet. The leaflet says in part on the back:
BOYS OF THE 92nd DIVISION
Did you get out of the bloody Hell of the Serchio Valley unhurt: then you were mighty lucky. But how can you know that a worse Hell is not in store for you…
SLIP OVER TO JERRY
Remember: JERRY NEVER SHOOTS COLORED P.O.W.s
Leaflet AF-32-4/45 was certainly prepared by the same artist and shows a black family behind a black soldier. Once again the characters are caricatured and the black soldier has bright red lips and large piercing eyes. The text on the front is:
STAY ALIVE FOR YOUR FOLKS
AND DON’T DIE FOR EMPTY PROMISES
A similar brown monotone leaflet depicts a group of black prisoners of war. One plays an accordion, a second plays a guitar. The leaflet is signed by the “Central Political Bureau of the Korean People’s Army.” The text is:
Sing-song in a P.O.W. Camp
Surprisingly, very few leaflets targeted African-American troops. The Chinese and North Vietnamese would produce dozens of racially divisive leaflets in the 1960s, but the North Koreans showed little interest in attacking that “soft underbelly” of America. There is one known case of six American prisoners released on 7 January 1951 and sent back to their own lines carrying three North Korean leaflets. The very odd text is:
COLORED MEN OF U.S. FORCES. FIND THE ONLY WAY TO LIVE!
YOU MUST LIVE. YOU MUST GO HOME AGAIN. Your family is awaiting your return. How sad were it when your death be informed to them. Who will support your family’s lives after your death? You are now defeated on every front and are surrounded in many areas by brave Korea People’s Army and voluntary Army of China. You continuous fight brings nothing else but worthless death in a strange land.
YOU MUST HAVE YOUR JUST RIGHT TO ENJOY FREEDOM AND EQUALITY.
You certainly remember that you have been mistreated with racist discrimination and in slave life. American capitalists are plotting to colonize Korea by military intervention. We should cut this chain.
HATE WAR AND COME OVER TO KOREAN’S PEOPLE’S ARMY. IF YOU WANT TO FIND THE ONLY WAY TO LIVE.
Korean People’s Army will treat you very well and send you home soon.