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Small poster issued to US troops to discourage socializing with Germans received by a US soldier

Object | Accession Number: 2013.442.8

Don't Fraternize Mauthausen handbill received by 24 year old Captain James (Jim) Kirkebo while serving in the US Army, 11th Armored Division, in Germany in May 1945. The US Army issued poster uses an image of piled rows of inmate corpses discovered at Mauthausen concentration camp to remind soldiers not to fraternize with German civilians. The camp was liberated by Kirkebo's Division, the 11th Armored, on May 6, 1945. Kirkebo, age 19, enlisted in the US Army in September 1940. In August 1942, 2nd Lieutenant Kirkebo became commanding officer of C Company, 21st Armored Infantry Battalion, 11th Armored Division, Third Army. In December 1944, Kirkebo's unit landed in Normandy, and defended Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. The 11th Armored spearheaded the Allied advance into Germany and pushed through to Austria. Kirkebo received a battlefield promotion to captain on February 1, 1945. On May 5 and 6, soldiers from the 11th Armored liberated Gusen and Mauthausen concentration camps. At Mauthausen, they discovered over 19,000 starving inmates. The unit was tasked with caring for the inmates and improving camp conditions. On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered. Kirkebo was on occupational duty until October when he returned to the US. Kirkebo was awarded a Silver Star and 3 Bronze Stars for his heroism and leadership in action.

Artwork Title
Don't Fraternize
creation:  1945 May
received:  1945 May 08-1945 June 09
depiction: Mauthausen (Concentration Camp); Mauthausen (Austria)
War propaganda
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Estate of James Edward Kirkebo
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:22:40
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