“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
— Henry David Thoreau
Roughly 80 years ago, the infamous Adolf Hitler spoke to a massive crowd
As you see by the picture the crowd were quick to demonstrate their
obedience and conformity with the well recognized “seig heil” salute. However, no one could have ever known it would take on a life of its own some day and become one of the most iconic photos in all of history because one man dared to disobey.
Upon close inspection, you can spot the man with his
arms crossed, who clearly looks to be discontent and unimpressed. While this may seem fairly trivial to some of us today, this act could have literally gotten hm killed back then!
And now, this man’s story has been discovered and when you learn why he did it, it will inspire you even more. It is tale of love, that great power that will always tower over authority.
At the young age of 21, the man in the photo, August Landmesser, decided to join the Nazis in hopes that it would get him a full time job.
Landmesser, however, ended up falling in love with a Jewish woman named Irma Eckler. About a year later, they tried to get married but were denied a license and Landemesser was kicked out of the Nazi party party.
Undeterred the couple stayed together and had a child in 1935.
The following year, is when the iconic photo was taken. As the say a picture is worth a thousand words and we can only imagine the wide range of emotions that must have gone through him; From disgust to disappointment, his face and body language tell a story that we will never fully know.
Two years after this, the couple attempted to flee the country but ended up getting caught and Landmesser was, in turn, arrested. Love, however, does not bow to any authority or injustice.
continued their relationship and went on to have another child. Sadly, Landmesser was
caught again, but this time, he was thrown into a
concentration camp and Eckler was sent to prison.
Landmesser was finally released in 1941 and then forced to go to war, where he tragically died.
In 1996, Irene Eckler the daughter of the couple published a book documenting the entire experience from her perspective and although their story is one of tragedy, it is also one of triumph because love bows down to no one and their story continues to inspire the world even today.
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