The photo was taken in Hamburg in 1936, during the celebrations for the launch of a ship. In the crowed, one person refuses to raise his arm to give the Nazi salute. The man was August Landmesser.
August Landmesser was born in 1910. He was a worker at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg. Although he had been a Nazi Party member from 1931 to 1935, he refused to perform the Nazi salute at the launch of a warship in 1936.
He had married a Jewish woman -Irma Eckler- and was the father of two children -Ingrid and Irene- with her. He had been found guilty of “dishonoring to the race” under Nazi racial laws and had come to oppose Hitler’s regime.
His wife Irma was detained in 1938 by the Gestapo and sent to the prison of Fuhlsbüttel. The children Ingrid and Irene were separated: while Ingrid was allowed to live with her grandmother, Irene came first to an orphanage and later to other foster parents.
August Landmesser was discharged from prison on 19th January 1941 after serving a 2½ year prison sentence. Then he was sent to the forced labour section of the Organisation Todt [O.T.] where he served for three years. He worked as a foreman for the firm Püst, a haulage company. The firm had a branch at the Heinkel-Werke (factory) in Warnemünde, near Rostock. In February 1944 he was forced to join the ‘Bewährungsbataillon 999’, where he was declared missing in action and presumably killed.
By pure chance, one of his children recognized her father in this photo when it was published in a German newspaper in 1991.
We know little else about August Landmesser, except that he had the courage of saying NO.