I am a sucker for an indomitable spirit. Show me an individual who has the guts to boldly stand up for his or her rights/liberty/love and I will admire and potentially adore that person. It’s just how I roll. Thus, when I read about a man named August Landmesser in a Cracked article, I was much impressed by him.
His backstory is tragic: he was a German in love with a Jewish woman named Irma Eckler during the height of Nazi power. Fun, no? He was eventually arrested for being with the woman he loved and sentenced to a concentration camp for two years. His wife was thrown into a different concentration camp, and their infant daughters were put into an orphanage and eventually foster care. Irma wrote letters to her daughters in their foster homes for as long as she could, until Nazi vermin murdered her because of her Jewish heritage. Landmesser also tried repeatedly to help his daughters.
August Landmesser had everything he loved taken from him by Nazis, who controlled his country and forced him to work for their “war effort”. However, they could never make him submit to their authority, even if it would cost him his life. That’s is why there is a very famous photograph of him standing in a crowd surrounded by fellow citizens, who are either compliant or terrified, with their arms raised in the Nazi salute, while August Landmesser stands with his arms folded across his chest and a very clear “fuck you” on his face.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is a rebel who will not bow to evil overloads.
One piece of happiness in this nightmare is that the Landmesser/Eckler daughters, who are named Irma and Irene, survived the war. As an adult Irene began to research her personal history, which lead her to reconnect with her sister and her other surviving relatives and write a book about what was done to her family.
I am glad the Landmesser/Eckler story will continue to be told.