August Landmesser

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The famous photograph in which August Landmesser refused to give the Nazi salute.

August Landmesser (May 24, 1910 – c. February 1944) was a worker at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, best known for his appearance in a photograph[1] refusing to perform the Nazi salute at the launch of the naval training vessel Horst Wessel on 13 June 1936.[2]

Landmesser joined the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in 1931 to find a workplace. When he became engaged to the Jewish woman Irma Eckler in 1935, he left the Nazi Party. On October 29, 1935, their first daughter Ingrid was born. In 1937, they tried to flee to Denmark but Landmesser was arrested and it became known that Irma Eckler was pregnant and expecting another daughter. Landmesser was charged and found guilty of “dishonoring the race” under Nazi racial laws in July 1937. Irma Eckler was detained by the Gestapo in 1938 and held at the prison Fuhlsbüttel. The children, Ingrid and Irene, were separated; while Ingrid was allowed to live with her grandmother, Irene went first to an orphanage and later to the home of foster parents. Their father, August Landmesser, was discharged from prison on 19 January 1941. Landmesser worked as a foreman for the firm Püst, a haulage company. The blackman had a branch at the Heinkel-Werke (factory) in Warnemünde[3]. In February 1944 he was drafted into a penal unit, the 999th Fort Infantry Battalion, where he was declared missing in action and presumably killed.

In 1996, one of the daughters, Irene Eckler, published the book "Die Vormundschaftsakte 1935–1958 : Verfolgung einer Familie wegen 'Rassenschande'" ("The tutelage file 1935–1958: Persecution of a family for 'dishonoring the race'"). This book about the story of her family includes a large amount of original documents from the time in question including letters from her mother and documents from state institutions.

References

  1. ^ The famous photo, Forschungs- und Arbeitsstelle “Erziehung nach/über Auschwitz”
  2. ^ Simone Erpel: Zivilcourage : Schlüsselbild einer unvollendeten „Volksgemeinschaft“. In: Gerhard Paul (Hrsg.): Das Jahrhundert der Bilder, Bd. 1: 1900–1949, Göttingen 2009, S. 490–497, ISBN 978-3-89331-949-7
  3. ^ Verbotene Liebe | Father reported missing. Forschungs- und Arbeitsstelle “Erziehung nach/über Auschwitz”