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August Landmesser
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    (May 24, 1910-October 17, 1944)
    Born in Germany
    Former worker at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany
    Former card-carrying member of the Nazi Party (joined in 1930)
    Expelled from the party after his engagement to Irma Eckler, a Jewish woman, in 1934
    Had two children with Irma, in 1935 and 1938, leading to further accusations of 'violating racial purity laws' by the Nazis
    Refused to deliver a Nazi salute at the launch of the naval training vessel Horst Wessel, on 13 June 1936
    Later imprisoned and eventually drafted into military service, where he was killed in action
    Spent most of the 20th-century in obscurity until his daughter, Irene, identified him in a photo of the launching published in a 'Die Zeit' manuscript, published on 22 March 1991
    Has since become a widely circulated anti-establishment meme encouraging defiance/noncomformity in the face of authoritarianism
    Has since been known by a variety of monikers, including 'The Man With the Crossed Arms,' 'The Man Who Refused to Salute Hitler' and 'The Lone Man'
    Daughter later published her family memoirs, 'The Guardianship Documents 1935–1958: Persecution of a Family for Rassenschande [Dishonoring the Race]' (1996)
    He became a Nazi in the early 1930s out of hope that he would get work.
    His unenthused facial expression in the photo comes off looking like a pissed off Bill Belichick at the end of a losing game.
    Seriously - we can't be the only ones who thought that maybe he was just caught scratching himself and then went on to enthusiastically salute a minute after the photograph was snapped, right?
    He has inspired countless corny 'be this man'/'stand above adversity' memes, even though many of the creators of such images probably would have been swept up in the pro-Nazi fervor, had they been impoverished Germans in the early 1930s.
    Popular belief is that he was signing his own death certificate by refusing to deliver the salute, but by 1936, although Hitler had been in power for three years, Germany had not yet reached the stage of complete totalitarianism where failure to salute - on its own - would have been punishable by death.
    Some historians have asserted that the chronology between the photograph being taken and Landmesser's own timeline prove that it is not him, at all, in the picture.
    The argument does have some merit, as other available photographs of Landmesser from the same period show him to be sporting slightly more boyish features.
    The most popular alternate theory as to whom the man 'actually is,' is that it is Gustav Wegert, who was employed at the railyard during the same period and physically resembled him (his family also claimed that he was known for regularly refusing to deliver the salute).
    Bloggers and historians continue to identify 'the man' as August Landmesser, however. More probable than not, it makes for good copy that the man who refused to salute Hitler also lived such a defiant - and tragic - life.
    He and his wife registered to be married in Hamburg, but the Nuremberg Laws prevented it.
    He and his wife attempted to flee to Denmark, after she became pregnant for a second time, in 1937, but were apprehended.
    He was charged and found guilty in July 1937 of 'dishonoring the race' under Nazi racial laws.
    They were let off with a warning after they feigned ignorance about Irma's Semitic roots, but continued to publicly see each other regardless, resulting in his being rearrested.
    He was sentenced to two and a half years in the concentration camp Börgermoor, in 1938.
    His wife was detained by the Gestapo shortly after he was. After years going between concentration camps, she killed along with 14,000 other prisoners, in 1942.
    After being discharged from prison, he worked as a foreman for a haulage company before being drafted into a penal battalion.
    He was killed during combat in Croatia in October of 1944; although he was legally declared dead in 1949.
    By the ages of seven and four, his two children had been orphaned by the Nazis' actions. While Ingrid, the elder of the two, was able to live with a grandparent, Irene spent her formative years in a local orphanage.
    He refused to back down to the Nazis and their racist policies.
    His marriage was recognized retroactively by the Senate of Hamburg (1951).
    After close to sixty years of anonymity, he attained posthumous celebrity when a German newspaper discovered the unusual image and published it with an open question as to the man's identity (prompting his daughter to come forward identifying him as her father).
    Regardless of whether he's actually 'the man in the photo,' it doesn't take away from the fact that he and his family were treated with unimaginable cruelty.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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