Friday, March 05, 2010

Fullbore Friday

The line between hero and traitor can be a thin one.

The important thing for anyone is to know what the answer is from the person in front of the mirror tomorrow morning - or the man a few decades later.

slept well I think.
A renegade former member of Germany's World War Two navy, who thwarted plans to wreck the French port of Bordeaux by retreating Nazi forces, has died at the age of 91, officials said.

Heinz Stahlschmidt was serving as a petty officer in the Kriegsmarine when he was ordered to help prepare the destruction of the southwestern city's port facilities as the Germans pulled out ahead of advancing allied troops.

Instead, he set off an explosion in the bunker holding detonators and time fuses for the planned demolition, preventing mass carnage in the port area and, according to some historians, possibly saving up to 3,500 lives.

Stahlschmidt, who was long considered a traitor in postwar Germany, stayed in Bordeaux, taking the name Henri Salmide and working in the port fire department. But he struggled for a long time to win recognition in his adopted country.
Rest in peace. You did good in a way few can in life - especially in the time you lived in.


ewok40k said...

Such actions need certain kind of courage that is rarely seen - ability to admit your own side is wrong.
Still I might warn that in current war such examples might be  dangerous to own morale - will you refuse to fire upon positions Taliban took amongst civilians of the village when your own comrades are under fire? Ponder.

jpr said...

Go read "Is Paris Burning?" General Dietrich von Choltitz defied Hitler and refused direct orders to destroy Paris. Excellent book. I picked it up at a used book sale for $.50 and read it in a day.

Tom Mowry said...

fair winds and following seas

Old NFO said...

A good man faced with a difficult decision who makes the right call.  Good for him.

Kristen said...

God rest his brave soul.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

I am not surprised that a Kriegsmarine Sailor did The Right Thing. Hitler used to complain that he had a National Socialist Luftwaffe, and an Imperial Heer, but was cursed with a Christian Kriegsmarine.

ewok40k said...

I've heard it was NS Luftwaffe, republican Heer and Imerial Kriegsmarine, but sense of the saying remains the same - naval forces were least indoctrinated.