Heil Hitler Episode 5

So far I have written four articles about that famous quotation attributed to Edmund Burke:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

All of the articles revolved, more or less, around the Nazis and their “Heil Hitler” salute which, by the 1930s, had become compulsory for all Germans to show their loyalty to their beloved Führer, the National Socialist Party, and his nation.
The first article mentioned the England football team who did a nice Nazi salute before a friendly game with Germany at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on May 14th 1938. A more sinister aspect came when Hitler annexed Austria and left the Austrian international players with, literally, nothing to play for. Matthias Sindelar decided to take arms against a sea of troubles although despite all his best efforts, he definitely did not end them:

head tennis
The second and third ones talked about the war criminals’ friend, Bishop Alois Hudal, and the very many crazy Nazis that he helped avoid being put on trial for their evil deeds. Article Number 4 had a picture of the German supporters at a football match in London on December 4th 1935.

The enthusiastic German crowd were all Heil Hitlering and Seig Heiling for their beloved Führer. There were though, a number of people who were not joining in with the general joy and merriment. At least half a dozen of them:

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But let’s just look at this photograph. Are you ready for a game of “Spot the One Brave Man”?

big crowd

Did you spot him? Here he is:


And in close up:

The brave man was called August Landmesser, and his story is first told on a German website, for, if the first Nazis were Germans, then no country could have worked harder to cleanse and redeem itself than present day Germany.
But this is Fascist Germany in the 1930s. A new warship is being launched in the dockyards of Hamburg. All of the shipyard workers are ecstatic with joy. “Seig Heil!” they shout, and “Heil Hitler!” All except one.
In the early 1930s the German economy was in freefall, and August, watching the irresistible rise of Adolf Hitler, had joined the Nazi Party, the NSDAP, because he thought that having the right connections would help him to find a job in a flat lining economy.

By 1931, August was a loyal, card-carrying Nazi who began slowly to work his way up through the hierarchy of the Party, the only legal political grouping in the Third Reich.
But then, in 1934, the 25 year old August fell madly in love. Not to order. Not a blonde haired, blue eyed Aryan. Not a female member of the Master Race. Just an ordinary woman.


She was three years younger than August. She was called Irma Eckler. She was a Jewish woman and August proposed to her at the beginning of 1935. She loved him too, and she accepted his proposal immediately.

We will see what happens to them next time.









Filed under Criminology, History, Politics

20 responses to “Heil Hitler Episode 5

  1. I watched the film ‘Escape to Victory’ yesterday. I was so proud that the Allied team did not give the Nazi salute!

  2. August Landmesser photo is amazing great post

    • Thank you for those very kind words. I often think that we could do with some huge copies of that photograph on display somewhere. I think we would all benefit from being familiar with it!

  3. I am fascinated by this post and will certainly go back and read the earlier ones. My fascination derives, in part, from the fact that I am in the middle of a post of my own that looks at Nazi Germany and its parallels with today. I may take a little while to get it finished because it may be a bit contentious.

    • To be honest, I think that many of our posts as respectable older people could do with being a little more contentious from time to time. We need to see other points of view and to give our brains a little exercise occasionally. And I too have something a little more challenging to come in the future.

  4. August Landmesser was the definition of a righteous man.

    • Yes he was, a real hero. I don’t think we should ever forget the good Germans who refused to be Nazis. So many of them paid with their lives, and those of their families.

  5. Tony Wilkins

    Funnily enough I saw the Landmesser photograph in a documentary I saw recently regarding Nazi opposition

    • I would be interested to know what programme that was. I have a great deal of admiration for him. I try to watch as many WW2 documentaries as I can, but the family occasionally get fed up with Hitler, Bomber Command and how to operate a Been gun. Extraordinary!

      • Tony Wilkins

        Do you know for the love of me I can’t remember but if it comes back to me I will let you know. He was only mentioned briefly but that photo stuck with me

  6. To Stand alone like that is more than brave. To have Principals that you are prepared to protect and be outcast for, says a lot about a man and there are so few around that can do that. It’s takes guts and I admire him for it. I suspect the future may not be rosy for them.

    • Yes, it must take a lot of courage to behave in a decent way when everybody is intent on being evil. And you are right about the couple’s future. I’m afraid it won’t end well for them, although I like to think that eventually, love does conquer all…even Adolf Hitler. You’ll see what I mean in the future.

  7. I was going to mention Athelstan Popkess and the Nottingham Police Boxing team, but found this more chilling photo instead. These were strange times…


    • Yes, indeed. I suppose the English were just trying to be polite and only a very, very few, like Derby’s goalkeeper, realised what kind of person Hitler was. In Germany at the time, very few people were speaking out because most of them were dead or were in a camp.

      • In 2017 it’s easy for me to know what to think about the Nazis. In 1937 it wouldn’t have been so simple to tell right from wrong, as the Duke of Windsor, for instance, proved. 🙂

  8. Just getting caught up on my blog reading – I can’t wait to read the rest of this series of posts.

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