Skip to comments.SS soldier leaves life savings to British village where he was kept prisoner
Posted on 09/28/2009 12:43:20 AM PDT by naturalman1975
He was a soldier in one of the most fanatical divisions in Hitler's war machine.
As a member of the SS, Heinrich Steinmeyer expected little mercy as he surrendered to British troops towards the end of the Second World War.
But instead, he says he was treated with humanity by both the troops who captured him and the guards at the Scottish prison camp where he was kept until the end of the war.
Sixty-five years later, Mr Steinmeyer has pledged to leave his home and life savings of £430,000 to elderly residents in the village of Comrie, Perthshire, as a gesture of gratitude.
Mr Steinmeyer was held at Cultybraggan camp near Comrie which was built to house ardent Nazis. He was taken there after being captured in Normandy. His SS Panzer division had been savaged by the Allies.
He says both the guards and villagers treated him so well that he decided to remain in Scotland for seven years after the war. Now 84 and living in Delmenhorst, near Bremen, Mr Steinmeyer said:
'I always wanted to repay the generosity they showed me. They deserve everything I have to give them. And it is far better they have it than anyone else.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
Wow... great story!
Can anyone say “Stockholm syndrome”? Actually, the suggestion demeans these Scots who were undoubtedly gracious in their treatment of this man.
I would be more impressed if he left the money to Jewish people. It is actually kind of a disgrace that he skips over them in his desire to paint himself as a good guy.
This don’t make him a good guy. At least not in my book.
I believe there were several SS divisions; Eicke’s division, Totenkopf, was specifically utilized for concentration camp duty and combat duty. I was under the impression the balance of SS divisions were used for combat primarily if not exclusively.
I’ve often thought that WWI broke the British Empire. But, so too Germany. That WWII was really the finish of WWI.
You give me a nation with a shattered psyche, a denuded male generation, causing a type of class vacuum, place a existential threat of Communism on one side, and give me control of the education and media and young boys many with out fathers or uncles, and I’ll give you in ten years males that will kill who every I want killed.
Nothing really special about it. Old as dirt.
So, it was nice the Scots were Christian to him, and nice that he made the gesture, and that after his corruption and like millions of others, theft by the state and Hitler during the war, that he claimed a better life that was taken from him by powerful events, and the scheming and actions of older men.
Any good that comes out of the Western disaster of that war is a good thing.
There is a similar story about German POWs in the US who were interned at camps near New Ulm, MN. In this area many of the locals still spoke German and welcomed the POWs who volunteered to do farm work. At war’s end many POWs were very reluctant to return to war ravaged Germany.
I read a biography one of those POWs wrote. He escaped from his US POW camp (can’t remember what state it was in) and went on the run. In the 1970s, he decided he was tired of being a fugitive, so he turned himself in to the FBI. To his astonishment, the FBI agents produced his file and showed him that they’d been aware of his locations from pretty much day One. At first, they watched him to see if he was a Nazi spy who would lead them to his handler, after WWII they watched him for a few years to make sure he had no communist sympathies-then they quit watching him, having decided he just wanted to live in America. The POW then got his US citizenship. It was a pretty good read-no clue as to title /author.
This is true. Not EVERY single member of the Waffen SS was a war criminal or even a concentration camp guard. The Waffen SS was in fact considered the elite of the German military establishment. They fought the hardest on the Eastern Front and often advanced when other units retreated. They were more often than not given the best of of German equipment especially Tiger and Panther tanks. They received more political training than the Wehrmacht and were known for their loyalty to Hitler. Some Waffen units committed war crimes such as the execution of American POWs at Malmedy during the Battle of the Bulge. But it would be a mistake to consider ALL of them war criminals. Some of them were quite brave including the legendary Tiger Tank commander Lt. Michael Wittman who knocked out more tanks than other tank commander in WWII. Many German youth aspired to join the Waffen SS as they were noted for their espirit de corp and their willingness to fight when other units retreated.
Pretty much off topic, but the above triggered the memory of a bit that I read years ago that has stuck in my mind every since. It came from "Washing of the Spears", a definitive (in my view) book on the 1870 Zulu campaigns in South Africa.
Writing about the massacre at Isandlwana, the author quoted a survivor's comment about the Endendale Contingent. These were mounted black troops from the Christian mission at Endendale, armed with Martinis instead of the old Sniders.
When the battle line collapsed, the remaining Brits headed for the only troops putting up an organized fight - the Endendales. The Brit said "The Endendales RETREATED SO AGGRESSIVELY that the Zulus left them alone". That's one Helluva compliment in my book.
Interesting coincidence: I recently read a novel entitled The Welsh Girl, by Peter Ho Davies, that describes the relationship of the locals in a Wales village during WWII with Germans kept prisoner in a camp there. A very lovely novel that I recommend.
I’ll look for that book on Kindle.... love my Kindle... take it with me when I travel.
What is Kindle? Not sure what you’re talking about. Did you read my post?
I have that excellent book also. That practice of which you speak was routinely applied to Theodor Eicke’s Totenkopf Division, as a twisted method of negating humanitarian impulses toward those who had been designated as enemies of the state.
It is true that many personnel from the Totenkopf were transferred throughout the Waffen SS as well as those who had been wounded and unfit for front line duty who were also transferred INTO the Totenkopf Division.
I looked in the Kindle store and The Welsh Girl is not available... I’ll find a paperback.
If I have not already donated my copy to the church book sale, I will give it to you.
Thank you! Good excuse to meet for lunch!
I will advise... I have to look for it first.