The tragically powerful story behind the lone German who refused to give Hitler the Nazi salute
Wikipedia/Amanda Macias/Business Insider
Adopted by the Nazi party in the 1930s, Hitler's infamous "sieg heil" (meaning "hail victory") salute was mandatory for all German citizens in order to show loyalty to the Führer, his party, and his nation.August Landmesser, the lone German refusing to raise a stiff right arm amid Hitler's presence at a 1936 rally, had been a loyal Nazi.
Landmesser and Eckler decided to file a marriage application in Hamburg, but the union was denied with the newly enacted Nuremberg Laws.The couple welcomed their first daughter, Ingrid, in October of 1935. And then on June 13, 1936, Landmesser gave a crossed arm stance during Hitler's christening of a new German Navy vessel.
The act of defiance stands out amid the throngs of Nazi salutes.
In 1937, fed up, Landmesser attempted to flee Nazi-Germany to Denmark with his family. At the border, he was detained and charged with "dishonoring the race" or "racial infamy" under the Nuremberg Laws. Bundesarchiv
A year later, Landmesser was acquitted for a lack thereof evidence and was warned a relationship with Eckler.
Refusing to abandon the mother of his child, Landmesser ignored Nazi-wishes and was arrested again in 1938 and sentenced to nearly three years in a concentration camp.He would never see the woman he loved or his child again.
Eckler is believed to have been transferred to the Nazi Euthanasia Centre in 1942, where she perished with 14,000 others.
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