A Salute

Because it’s the 70th anniversary of D-Day, I’d like to make you all aware of some very exceptional german soldiers. Yes, they were fighting for the Nazis. They were the enemy. But here is what they did:

Franz Stigler
This german pilot was ordered to chase and shoot down an american B17 bomber returning form a successful air raid. When he came close enough, he realized that the bomber had been severely damaged by anti-aircraft fire during the raid, and then decided to exert it out of harms way instead of shooting it down.

Walther Wenck
During the final battle of Berlin 1945, the general of the 12th army, Walther Wenck, realized that the end of the war was coming. Instead of trying to defeat the advancing soviet forces as his order were, he used his army to create an escape corridor out of Berlin. He ended up being responsible for up to 250,000 people safely escaping the burning city. For him this wasn’t a battle any more. It was rescue operation.

“Comrades, you’ve got to go in once more,” Wenck said. “It’s not about Berlin any more, it’s not about the Reich any more.” Their task was to save people from the fighting and the Russians. Hans-Dietrich Genscher, then a young sapper with the Twelfth Army, described their emotions as a “feeling of loyalty, a sense of responsibility and comradeship.” Wenck’s leadership struck a powerful chord, even if the reactions varied between those who believed in a humanitarian operation and those keener to surrender to the Western allies instead of the Russians.

—Antony Beevo

Every war has their heroes. Politicians declare war on others, but its people who are fighting it. Who are dying. Who are making a difference. Remember that your enemies are just as human as you are, no matter what your propaganda tells you otherwise.

This matters.

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