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