The man crossed his arms in the middle of the Nazi salute

Who is that man in the midst of the crowd? Who is that individual who is folded in front of the Nazi greeting of the mass, while all, thousands of people, show the servile and adoring gesture before the execrable leader?

The photo was taken in 1936 and in it we see a crowd greet Adolf Hitler during the launching of a boat. The brave man was named August Landmesser and this is his story:

The man crossed his arms in the middle of the Nazi salute

War propaganda reached its maximum splendor in World War II, both on the Allied side and Axis forces was used profusely (here you can see a lot of examples used by the Allies). Used as a method of push and encouragement for the own ranks, as of discredit, demoralization and disinformation in enemy lines.

The next photograph, with nothing out of the ordinary in appearance, was thrown on German soil, appealing to the opponents of the Nazi regime to take the same attitude as one of the men in the photograph. This instant immortalized August Landmessser, although the identity of this man was not known until much later.

August Landmesser was a worker at the Blohm und Voss shipyard in Hamburg (Germany) until 1938, when he was taken prisoner by the Gestapo, who was sentenced by Rassenschande, article 2 of the Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor . This article prohibited extra-marital sexual relations between Jews and Germans.

Article 5 of the same law provided in section 2 that “a man who violates the prohibition of Article 2 shall be punished with imprisonment with or without forced labor.” August married on April 21, 1935 with the woman of Jewish descent Irma Eckler.


In 1931 he had been affiliated with the NSDAP (National Socialist Workers’ Party) in the hope of being able to get a job thanks to his party membership, since in those years dominated by the Nazi Party dictatorship, whoever was not in his ranks had very difficult getting a job.

In August 1935, the marriage application of both was rejected by the Jewish origin of the wife of August, therefore, the two daughters of the marriage Ingrid and Irene born in October of the 35 and July of the 37 respectively were born in what they was considered a disgrace to the social order of the Aryan race.

After several trials, Landmesser was definitively sentenced to two and a half years of forced labor in the Börgermoor concentration camp. His wife Irma suffered the same fate after being convicted and was taken to Lichtenburg, to be later transferred to Ravensbrück (both for women only) where he died in January 1942, like so many other Jewish women in that concentration camp.

August was released in early 1941 and taken to continue his forced labor in a car factory for the army. Forced to join the I Battalion of probation “999”. Since the end of that year there was no news of him again, which makes him think that he died in one of the battles in which that battalion participated.


August Landmesser has gone down in history by a photograph in which he can be seen with his arms folded. It was at the launching of the sailing ship (now Boat School) of the German navy Horst Wessel in 1936. That day the Fuehrer Adolf Hitler was present in Hamburg, when August, who already had problems with justice, refused to greet him as the thousands did of companions who had in the shipyards. Since then this man is an example of individual courage and conscientious objection.

This photograph can be seen in the documentation center “Topography of Terror”, located where, until 1945, the Gestapo, SS and Central Security Offices of the Reich Reichssicherheitshauptamt were located on the former Prinz Albrecht Street in Berlin.
The daughters of the Landmesser marriage survived the war and were raised in one of the countless orphan houses in Germany after World War II. In 1991, one of the daughters recognized her father in the famous photograph.

Source - En la trébede | Flashlights

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