Thursday, November 7, 2013

August Landmesser and peer pressure

“The Land of Propaganda is built on unanimity,” he said. “If one man says, ‘No,’ the spell is broken and public order is endangered.” — Ignazio Silone. Bread and Wine
 one man refuses the Hitler salute, der Hitlergruß
from Wikipedia: “A figure identified as August Landmesser is featured in a photograph taken on 13 June 1936, published on 22 March 1991 in Die Zeit. It shows a large gathering of workers at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg, for the launching of the navy training ship Horst Wessel. Everyone in the image has raised his or her arm in the Nazi salute, with the exception of a man toward the back of the crowd, who grimly stands with his arms crossed over his chest.

Horst Wessel was the son of a Lutheran minister, a street paramilitary tough, and active in the red light district. He was the Nazi tunesmith, and wrote their anthem „Die Fahne hoch”. He was shot to death in 1930. After Nazi ascension, he became an official martyr.

This crossed my mind about Herr Landmesser. There is a similarity with the man who stopped the tanks in Tiananmen Square on 5 June 1989. He is anonymous, but with courage. We can all be this man. Remember what Albert Camus taught us -- the first word a man says is “No”.

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