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August Landmesser

Photo from, accessed Feb 6, 2012. Please visit this site to learn more.

The photo shows a crowd of Germans in a 1938 shipyard giving a “Hitler-Gruss” or the “Heile Hitler” salute during the launching of a new ship. The highlighted gentleman is not. August Landmesser had married a woman the Nazi’s considered a Jew and the laws forbidding their marriage and persecuting them had turned this man against Hitler’s regime. His daughter many decades later saw this picture somewhere and recognized him. This inspired her to write a book about her family, which is available bilingually in German and English at the above link.

It took courage for Herr Landmesser to show his opposition through this civil disobedience. He did suffer at the hands of his government for his various choices. It also took wisdom to recognize what causes were worth the stand.

As educators, are we conditioning our students to be part of the crowd, or are we inspiring them to think critically, discern truth, and have the courage to stand for it, even alone?


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