“August Landmesser (1910 – presumably killed February 1944) was a worker at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany. He appeared in a photograph refusing to perform the Nazi salute at the launch of the naval training vessel Horst Wessel on 13 June 1936. 

“He had been a Nazi Party member from 1931 to 1935, but after fathering children with a Jewish woman, he had been found guilty of “dishonoring the race” under Nazi racial laws and had come to oppose Hitler’s regime. 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.”

- Wikipedia


Source: Wikipedia
Submitted by: Ben Griffith

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Goggles aficionado. Retronaut’s founder and curator.

9 Responses

  1. Julia

    I really admire that man. At a time and place like that there were so many reasons to go with the crowd (I’m not harming anyone with a salute, I’ll just get into trouble if I don’t conform, Who’s going to profit from me speaking up and getting into serious trouble, , and of course the classic: Everybody else is doing it).

    > An even greater shame that so few demonstrated his bravery.

    Well, yes. Only that’s easy to say when sitting safely at home in a country where you can’t get arrested, tortured and killed for a wrong word or gesture. Random arrests without warrants and torture ending in death started 1933. Bystanders protesting against Nazi marches got beaten up way before that. It makes what this man was doing all the more meaningful; he must have – and everybody around him knew – known what he was risking.

  2. Mike Barnett

    An honorable man indeed… but if you look at the picture, he’s not the only one going saluteless. We must always remember that not all Gewrmans were Nazis, and some helped fight against their tyranny.

  3. John R.

    re James “An even greater shame that so few demonstrated his bravery.”

    Threat of death will do that to a lot of people. Maybe even some of us.

  4. Michele

    If only it were flipped around so that one man was giving the Nazi salute and all others crossed their arms, things would’ve gone differently.

  5. Armando P.

    Picking up on Mr. Farrier’s thread: that is indeed the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Eagle – current training barque of the Coast Guard Academy and Officer Candidate School.
    The ship was seized as part of a war prize, sailed to the eastern seaboard and re-Christened “Eagle” shortly after the Second World War.
    The original namesake was a high level Nazi bureaucrat Adolf Hitler honored by commissioning the construction of this vessel. There was a Herr (Mr.) Horst Wessel.

  6. Bianca

    I admire him too, the man had balls to do that in front of several Nazi party members.


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