Sol Littman   Letter 14   11-Oct-1999   Chalked cartoons of Jews
"There are chalk marks on the sides of the train showing cartoons of Jews hanging from nooses." Sol Littman
  October 11, 1999

Sol Littman
Director, Simon Wiesenthal Center
8 King Street East, Suite 710
Toronto, ON

Tel: (416) 864-9735
Fax: (416) 864-1083

Sol Littman:

In your Tryzub and Swastika Speech of 31Aug97, you describe a scene in which young Galicia Division recruits are embarking on a train on which are chalked "cartoons of Jews hanging from nooses":

Now I have some film that I obtained from the Kiev archive which shows the Division shortly after it was organized marching off to boot camp heading for the trains that were gonna take them to where they were gonna be trained, where they got their basic training.  And the film is interesting because it's captured German newsreel film.  These were the films the Germans took to celebrate, to advertise, to promote the Division.  And what you see are swastika banners all over the place.  You also see the tryzub, the the Neptune's fork, which became the Divisional insignia, and the swastikas and the tryzub, and you see this massive group of Nazi dignitaries taking the salute as these boys marched by.  And they get on to trains which are already chalked, there are chalk marks on the sides of the train showing cartoons of Jews hanging from nooses.  This was gonna be their mission, this is what they were marching off to war to do.

I have attempted to find a copy of this image of Galicia Division recruits embarking on trains on which are chalked "cartoons of Jews hanging from nooses," but I have met with no success.  I did find several images of Galicia Division recruits embarking on trains, and a few of these show the sides of the trains adorned with flowers and foliage and chalked with graffiti, but this graffiti always expresses nationalistic sentiments, and never makes reference, either in words or in images, to Jews, and certainly never shows "cartoons of Jews hanging from nooses."  Two such images that show chalked graffiti are reproduced below, together with the captions that accompany them.  In the left image, the two chalked words mean "Glory to Ukraine!" and the symbol is the tryzub or trident, the national symbol of Ukraine.  The rampant lion in the right-hand image possibly stands for the city of Lviv.

Departing volunteers.  18 July 1943. Some of the symbols drawn on the railway cars.  Of interest is the "Buvaite Zdorov Rekliamatsiyni!"  (Simple translation: "Stay Healthy, Reclaimed Heroes!")  Rekliamatsiyni was a slang term utilized by the Divisions volunteers for the many thousands who earlier pretended to volunteer but when the time came to leave, found various excuses to avoid service.  Needless to say, the Divisions personnel looked upon them with distaste, disgust and viewed them as cowards and men with low esteem.
Michael O. Logusz, Galicia Division: The Waffen-SS 14th Grenadier Division 1943-1945, Schiffer Military History, Atglen PA, 1997, among the photographs between pp. 352-353.

The closest that my search brought me to chalked "cartoons of Jews hanging from nooses" was the following photograph that was accompanied by the caption shown below it:

German soldiers on the way to Poland.  The inscription on the railway car reads: "We are going to Poland to strike at the Jews."  On the left, an antisemitic drawing of a Jew.

The Pictorial History of the Holocaust, Edited by Yitzhak Arad, Macmillan Publishing Company, NY, 1990, p. 71.
Found on the Internet at http://www.fmv.ulg.ac.be/schmitz/Holocaust/soldr1.html

However, from the several discrepancies, it is apparent that the above is not the scene which you describe in your Tryzub and Swastika Speech.

As I am interested in publishing the truth about the Galicia Division, I renew my offer of instant and full publication which I have previously extended in my letter to you of 09Oct99 with respect to four other documents in your possession.  In the present case, I ask you to send me a photograph of Galicia Division recruits boarding a train on which are chalked "cartoons of Jews hanging from nooses," and I will post this photograph on the Ukrainian Archive the same day.

In the event of your neglecting to do so, you may be encouraging speculation that in your Tryzub and Swastika Speech, you were describing the photograph immediately above, but to add credibility to your accusations against the Galicia Division, you introduced three misrepresentations: (1) you changed German soldiers to Galicia Division recruits, (2) you introduced nooses, and (3) you multiplied the number of images of Jews from one to several.

Lubomyr Prytulak