A lone man refusing to do the Nazi salute, 1936

The photo was taken in 1936 at the launch of a German army ship, during a ceremony attended by Adolf Hitler himself.

Within the photograph, a lone man stood with arms as hundreds of men and women around him held out their arms in a salute and allegiance to the Nazi Party and its leader, Adolf Hitler. Everyone in attendance is showing their unwavering support for Der Führer by throwing their best "Sieg Heel".

August Landmesser, arms crossed, stood strong and defiant as he showed his disapproval by not showing support for the Nazi Party.

What made this photograph and the Landmasser's defiance unique is that it represents a man's protest, in its most sincere and pure form. The source of the Landmasser's opposition, like many major tragedies, begins with a love story.

The story of August Landmesser's antitrust gesture, ironically, begins with the Nazi Party. Believing that having the right connections would help him get a job in a pulseless economy, Landmesser joined the Nazi Party in 1931.

Little did he know that his heart would soon ruin any progress that might come from his superficial political affiliations. In 1934, Landmesser met a Jewish woman, Irma Eckler, and the two fell deeply in love.

Their engagement a year later saw her expelled from the party, and her marriage application was denied under the newly enacted apartheid Nuremberg Laws.

August and Irma had a baby girl, Ingrid, in October of the same year, and two years later in 1937, the family made an unsuccessful attempt to escape to Denmark, where they were captured at the border.

August was arrested and charged under Nazi racial law for "insulting the race". He argued that neither he nor Eckler knew that he was purely Jewish, and was acquitted on 27 May 1938 for lack of evidence, with the caveat that many would commit the crime once again. will be sentenced to one year in prison.

The couple publicly continued their relationship and a month later August Landmesser was again arrested and sentenced to two years of hard labor in a concentration camp. He will never see his beloved wife again.

Ackler was detained by the Gestapo and kept in the Fühlsbüttel prison, where she gave birth to a second daughter, Irene. Their children were initially taken to an orphanage in the city. Ingrid was later allowed to live with her maternal grandmother; In 1941, Irene went to the foster parents' home.

Later, after the death of her grandmother in 1953, Ingrid was also placed with foster parents. By January 1942 some letters arrived from Irma Eckler. She is believed to have been taken to the so-called Bernberg euthanasia center in February 1942, where she was among 14,000 people killed. He was declared legally dead in 1949, during post-war documentation.

Will be released in August 1941 and began working as a foreman. Two years later, as the German army was engulfed by its desperate conditions, the Landmesser would be drawn into a punitive infantry with thousands of other men.

He would go missing in Croatia, where it is believed that he died six months before Germany officially surrendered. His body was never recovered. Like Ackler, he was pronounced legally dead in 1949.

In 1951, the Senate of Hamburg recognized the marriage of August Landmesser and Irma Eckler. Their daughters split their parents' names, Ingrid named after her father and Irene after her mother.

In 1996, Irene Eckler published the book The Guardianship Documents 1935–1958: Persecution of a Family for "Dishonoring the Race".

The book, about his family's story, contains a large amount of original documents from that time, including letters from his mother and documents from state institutions.

The photograph of August Landmesser refusing to heel a sig was first published in Die Zeit on 22 March 1991. The photograph version with circle is the original copy.

The ship "Horst Vessel", which everyone is saluting, was claimed as a war prize by the US after World War II. It was recommended as a Coast Guard cutter, renamed "Eagle" and is still in service.

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