Adopted by the Nazi Party in the 1930s, Hitler’s infamous “sieg heil” (meaning “hail victory”) salute was mandatory for all German citizens as a demonstration of loyalty to the Führer, his party, and his nation. August Landmesser, the lone German refusing to raise a stiff right arm amid Hitler’s presence at a 1936 rally, had been a loyal Nazi. Landmesser joined the Nazi Party in 1931 and began to work his way up the ranks of what would become the only legal political affiliation in the country.
Two years later, Landmesser fell madly in love with Irma Eckler, a Jewish woman, and proposed marriage to her in 1935. After his engagement to a Jewish woman was discovered, Landmesser was expelled from the Nazi Party. Landmesser and Eckler decided to file a marriage application in Hamburg, but the union was denied under the newly enacted Nuremberg Laws. The couple welcomed their first daughter, Ingrid, in October 1935. FULL REPORT