SS man inherited wealth to Scottish village
He was 19 years young and SS soldier when he came into British captivity. As a result, Heinrich Steinmeyer withdrew, making him the “Scotsman” and posthumous hero of the British boulevard press.
When “Sun”, “Daily Mirror” and Co. report about Fritz, Nazis or Huns, this is very rarely flattering for people with a German ID card: Most of the time it is about cultivating old animosities. It is almost unprecedented, however, that a German in SS uniform is creating a “Sun” page and is still celebrated there. Heinrich Steinmeyer did it, posthumously.
His relationship with the island began on August 28, 1944. Steinmeyer, who had been born in Silesia, who had joined the Waffen-SS from a job two years earlier at the age of 17, raised his hands as British soldiers were armed with weapons Stop in front of him. They took his weapons and left him what he still had with him.
This was what began much later in conversation with a North German local reporter to call his stay at the “Ferienlager” – at least in comparison to the front in Normandy. As a British prisoner, Steinmeyer was first sent to England, and from there to Scotland, and all that he experienced there was profoundly “human.” So much so that he remained voluntary when he was released from the camp in 1948.
Steinmeyer’s second life
Steinmeyer had fallen in love with the lifestyle and the mentality of the people in Scotland. No wonder: The camp, about 30 kilometers of air line west of Perth, lies on the edge of the Trossachs in the southern foothills of the Highlands. It is an area of unreal beauty and great loneliness, so wet and peaceful. Farther away from the war, its madness and its aftermath, one could scarcely be. To this came the hospitality of the inhabitants, even against him, the SS prisoner.
He agreed that Silesia was not a place he wanted to return to. When villagers learned that the mother who had fled to the west had been ill with this ex-prisoner, they sent Steinmeyer’s family packages. For the rest of his life he was to remain with Cultybraggan, the place of his internment.
His contacts continued when he went back to Germany. Steinmeyer settled down in Delmenhorst in 1970, built a house, used to keep his mother until her death. Worked, never gave much, did not grow up and when, because of his frugality: “Scotsman” they called it also for this reason and not only because of all the souvenirs in his house. In the village they were told how much he had, even though he was only a simple worker on the docks in Bremen.
But he did absolutely nothing. No car, no holiday in the real sense, no extravagances. Miserly, Scotch, clearly: sits on money. What they did not know was that he temporarily supported up to five families in Comrie, sending gifts and packages. Heinrich stingy? If they had not understood. At some point in the Scottish village they began to call him “Uncle Heinz”. When he came, many rejoiced.
Word is word: When he left, he gave it all
Now again came news from Heinrich Steinmeyer, his last, a referral: several media in Germany like Great Britain had already reported that Steinmeyer had left all his estate to the village of his captivity. Steinmeyer himself had promised the Scottish friends in Comrie: When I leave, you get my money, and then something is to be done there for the village and the old people. Certainly, Heinrich, let’s do it, then, and how generous that would be. In February 2014 Steinmeyer died at the age of 90 – and nothing happened.
Until last week. Inheritance and inheritance matters can move in Germany, especially if one considers a village abroad rather than their own kinship. If then still a house must be sold. If then a receiver has to be found for the money, because George Carson, the originally appointed administrator, already faded before the testator. Complicated, something like that.
And sensational, if it happens then: 386,000 pounds, reported the “Daily Mail” on Friday, had entered Cultybraggan. Almost the same, “Mirror” and “Sun” report from the “former SS war prisoner” who, in their lightly bored version, left “400,000 pounds the small village” that treated him “with courtesy and generosity”.
“Nazi Gold” from the Sparerstrumpf
Only the “Sun” could not help it to increase its popularity with the small addition “Nazi Gold” – can not tackle the fact that such a story is told completely without sinister nebentones. In the text, however, also experienced Teutonen haters learn that this gold came from the stocking of a longtime savers.
And how much exactly? 457,180 euros, they say in Comrie. After yesterday’s exchange rate about 383,000 pounds, but that fluctuates so strong currently, thanks to Brexit. The money will go into a freshly founded foundation, managed by the Comrie Development Trust. The Heinrich Steinmeyer Legacy Fund will be exclusively used to improve the infrastructure and supply situation for senior citizens in and around Comrie.
Uncle Heinz also continues posthumously to look after those who were so concerned about him. And to the German-British relations with.