Graffiti on French schoolhouse wall tells tales of New Jersey soldiers from WWII


Registered User
Jan 26, 2005
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.

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.

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.


Screw you guys, I'm going home.
Jul 16, 2005
Don't tell John Murtha, or he will want them prosecuted for war crimes.

Cheers to those guys for making it out alive.


I'm Gonna Be The Bestest Pilot In The Whole Galaxy
Jun 1, 2005
Stuff like that creeps me out for some reason.


There's nothing quite like a shorn scrotum.
Nov 12, 2004
Queens, NY
Awesome story for Veterans Day, great find.

It would be great to just sit and listen to some of their stories.