Hennessy Catholic College Yearbook 2022

"Poster Boy Propaganda" Hans George Hanke is, ‘Poster Boy Propaganda”. He is a young German boy photographed hysterically crying and breaking down at a battle held against American troops in 1945, at a town called Hüttenberg-Rechtenbach in Hessen Germany. He was 16 yrs old at the time and like many people his age in WW2 was part of the ‘Hitlerjugend’ organisation (Hitler Youth) and was trained as an Anti-Aircraft soldier or ‘Flakhelfer’ to aid in the destruction of enemy aircraft outside German forces. He grew up in a loving household with many siblings before the tragic death of his father in 1938, soon followed by his mother in 1944, leading him to unfortunately join the Luftwaffe anti-air squad in the Hitler Youth organisation to help earn money to support his younger siblings. The true colours of Hans, that are then only revealed when the audience chooses to see them through their phone, is a metaphor that speaks a volume of how media propaganda can’t always be the definitive story to somebody else's experience, the bright colours when inverted also reflect the rise of commercialised propaganda posters and the techniques of many artists of the time that would use this colour palate in their works, like Adolf Wissel, Werner Peiner and Conrad Hommel. Hans was actually a distant relative of my own, a cousin of a great uncle who unfortunately died at the age of 21 at the same location Hans was positioned at as a Flakhelfer, only furthering my drive to understand the full extent of this man's life and story beyond what the media has stated or hidden. MACKENZIE FLIEDNER

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