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Poster of a naked, red Leon Trotsky seated on human skulls

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.363

Anti-Jewish, anti-Soviet, Nazi propaganda poster distributed in battleground regions of Poland and Ukraine in 1943. It depicts a skeleton talking to a red, naked Leon Trotsky, who sits upon a pile of human skulls. During the war, Germany sought instances of Soviet perpetrated violence against Polish and local non-Jewish populations to exploit as graphic propaganda that would turn the locals against the Soviets and frighten them into supporting Germany. In 1943, the Germans exploited the discovery of mass graves documenting Soviet atrocities, such as the 1940 Katyn massacre of nearly 4500 Polish Army officers captured as prisoners of war as well as graves from prewar Soviet atrocities, such as Vinnitsa, committed during campaigns of political repression. The Germans then linked these to the always looming threat of the Jewish Bolshevik conspiracy to dominate the world and crush those who opposed them. This poster was originally issued in 1920 by the Polish Ministry of Military Affairs, during the Russo-Polish War. Trotsky, a leader in the Russian Revolution, also built the Red Army, and images of him as a red, bloodthirsty, satanic figure were used by the opposing White Army during the Revolution. This poster is one of more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of anti-Semitic visual materials.

Artwork Title
Wolnosc Bolszewicka
Alternate Title
Bolshevik Freedom
publication/distribution:  1943
distribution: Poland
distribution: Ukraine
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
Record last modified: 2021-03-09 09:12:50
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