An impressive war poster by American-Jewish artist Ben Shahn (1898–1969), prompted by the massacre of Lidice, a Czech village that was obliterated by the Nazis for the 1942 shooting of Reinhard Heydrich. All the men of the village were eventually killed, the women were sent to concentration camps and the children to “educational institutions”.
The "annihilation of Lidice not only became a catalyst for the perception of the enormous scope of Nazi crimes, but it also communicated to the American public that a new quality of terror lay in the German regime openly claiming responsibility for cruel acts of vengeance" (Decker).
Shahn brilliantly refers "to this public outrage by including the official, ticker-tape announcement and framing it in the moral terms of the media discourse."
He added another level "by the visual imagery of the poster, the massive figure of a hooded man with shackled hands, seen from below against the background of a red brick wall and a small piece of blue sky. Shahn’s placement of the lettering forced the viewer to consider the shackled but tightly clenched and powerful hands and the coarsely textured but meticulously placed hood over the man’s face" (Decker).
This is Nazi brutality: an iconic war poster by Ben Shahn
This is Nazi brutality / Radio Berlin, it is officially announced / All men of Lidice, Czechoslovakia, have been shot / The women deported to a concentration camp / The children sent to appropriate centers / The name of the village was immediately abolished, 6/11/42/115P.
Washington, D.C., Office of War Information, 1942.