FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: 1LT Jarrett Feldman, Curator
National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey
PO Box 277
Sea Girt, NJ 08750-0277
NJ National Guard Museum’s French Connection
The National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey (NGMMNJ) recently received an interesting inquiry from Mr. Bernard Zins of the Historical Association of Kalhausen, France. Kalhausen is a small village near the German border in the province of Alsace-Lorraine, and Mr. Zins’ query revealed that the village has a unique historical connection to New Jersey.
Following the invasion of France in 1940, Adolf Hitler annexed Alsace-Lorraine to Germany, but the province was liberated by American soldiers in December 1944. Elements of several American units passed through Kalhausen, including National Guardsmen from “New Jersey’s Own” 44th division, who arrived in the town at Christmas as part of an effort to repulse a German counterattack dubbed “Operation Nordwind” launched by the 17th Panzergrenadier Division.
Soldiers from the 44th, including members of the division band, were quartered in the town and engraved personalized graffiti in the attic walls of the local school (see attached image). Using the graffiti as clues, the Kalhausen Historical Association is eager to make contact with any of the men who liberated the village and defended it against German efforts to recapture it, and contacted the NGMMNJ as part of that effort. The museum plans a display on the Kalhausen connection, using images provided by the Historical Association and other information in the NGMMNJ collections, to enhance its new exhibit on New Jersey’s role in World War II. Photographic copies of some of the GI inscriptions can be viewed at http://www.kalhausen.com/
Among the Jerseymen who left their tracings in time on Kalhausen’s walls are George Jackson Handel of Gloucester City, Anthony Hasnik of Trenton, Norman Sataloff of Camden, Steven G. Mayosky of Clifton, [ ? ] Brunetti of Garfield and Pete Monty. These New Jersey soldiers, as well as others who passed through Kalhausen in wartime, and their friends and families, are encouraged to contact the Association Historique de Kalhausen, 1 rue des Roses, 57412 Kalhausen, France (firstname.lastname@example.org) directly or through the NGMMNJ.
Graffiti on French schoolhouse wall tells tales of NJ soldiers(Article)
It was a simple act of curiosity: A teacher peeled back the faded wallpaper in the attic of a one-story schoolhouse in the French town of Kalhausen and uncovered traces of a dramatic period in World War II.
There on the cracked and yellowed plaster were names and dates, drawings and musings -- the graffiti left by dozens of American soldiers who took shelter there during the bitter winter of 1944-45.
The soldiers, many of them from New Jersey, were members of the U.S. Army's 44th Infantry, which was in the midst of vicious fighting to push the German army back to the Rhine River.
When all the wallpaper was removed, the imprints of at least 46 soldiers were uncovered. The discovery sparked the memories of town residents who had lived through the war, and inspired a group of citizens to form the Historical Association of Kalhausen to research and preserve the town's history.
A 27-year-old medic signed the wall and underlined each word: "Steve Mayoski Clifton, N.J."
"Bob Trout Vineland, N.J. 24 Dec. 1944," wrote a 28-year-old signalman. More graffiti proclaims: "George Jackson Handel Gloucester City, New Jersey," "Pete Monty West New York, New Jersey," and "Leo Brunetti, Garfield, N.J. Jan. 28, 1945."
"Ray Lauinger, Philly, MyK," was a 27-year-old sergeant and musician from Philadelphia's Manayunk neighborhood who joined the New Jersey National Guard band when it was stationed in Camden. Near his name, Lauinger etched a trombone, his instrument.
"I don't remember doing it," said Lauinger, now 90 and a resident of a Whitemarsh, Pa., health care center, when shown a photo of his graffiti. "I do remember them, all of them," he said when told the names of past buddies who also signed that attic wall.
(Lauinger in 1941 and now, By Tony Kurdzuk/The Star-Ledger )
There was a fellow musician: "Camden, New Jersey (Norman) 'Sadie' Sataloff 44th Div. band bassologist," who added a drawing of a man playing a bass.
(Norman “Sadie” Sataloff of Camden, a member of the 44th Division Band who was mobilized with the New Jersey National Guard unit on September 16, 1940, described himself as a “bassologist” in this bit of graffiti in the attic wall of Kalhausen’s school. )
Anthony Hasnik, a military policeman from Trenton, drew a detailed sketch of the Kalhausen village center as seen from the attic window.
As the soldiers spent Christmas and New Year's in the attic, they also carved their thoughts of home. There is a heart pierced by an arrow, backyard birds, a bridled horse head, and a organ grinder's monkey. One reads, "Cpl. Morris Passarella Hope to be in good USA very soon."
Soldiers from Boston and Brooklyn and the Bronx; from Cleveland and Youngstown, from Indiana and Michigan also left their names. But the 44th Infantry traced its origin to the New Jersey National Guard, and Jersey men peppered its ranks.
Records indicate Trout, Handel, Brunetti, Sataloff and Hasnik are deceased. But today, at least 103 44th Infantry World War II veterans, all over age 80, call New Jersey home.