Käpt'n Korky Posted September 18, 2017 Report Share Posted September 18, 2017 Good day ladies and gentlemen, as some of you might have noticed I'm from the beautiful .... the city of Dortmund, germany. Please check wikipedia for further information ont he city and it's WWII history. Some other might also have read my rant about "no KMS Dortmund" in the Gneisenau thread. And finally @Wellington99 asked me about german names regarding a fanfic project. So I thought: Were there any prominent naval officers from Dortmund? And the answer is yes. And maybe other interesting figures in the 1930's to 1940's? And again: Yes. Starting today I will give relatively short biographies of those ladies and gentlemen. And I'll start with THE most german named man anyone can ever come accross:Heinz Stahlschmidt - The Bordeaux Chorlitz (later Henri Salmide) Heinz was born on November 13th 1919 in Dortmund. As a young man he learned plumber before he joined the Kriegsmarine in 1939, where he became a demolition and explosion expert. He specialised in defusing British mines. He was sunk three times during the war, but survived. For that reason he was given a landbased post 1941 in the harbour of Bordeaux and an entry on the honourlist of the Kriegsmarine. When the western allies arrived in France after D-Day and it became clear they would not be pushed back into the ocean, the German high command ordered the port of Bordeaux to be destroyed. As member of the demolition squad Boatswain/ Petty officer Heinz Stahlschmidt got the orders. On August the 26th 1944 the port of Bordeaux was to be blown up, estimating about 3,500 casualties among the French who lived there. Faced with that order Heinz decided to not only defy it, but to save the city. He knew very well where and how the explosives were stored, so he send the guard away on the 22nd and blew up all explosives the Germans had in one grand explosion that shook the whole city. About 50 German soldiers died and Heinz was immediately searched for by the Gestapo and military police. He was marked a traitor who was to be arrested or shot on sight. Heinz survived thanks to some resistance contacts from his love and later wife. They hid him even after the war was over, because when the French took over the city the French police and military police searched for him as well. He was a German and had served in the German occupation army after all. He later became a naturalised French with the adopted name of Henri Salmide in 1947. In Germany he was branded a traitor after the war (keep in mind the people and families of the people of the Stauffenberg conspiracy were also traitors to the german republic way until the mid 1980’s). He was stricken from the honourlist of the Kriegsmarine and not relisted after the war and also did not receive any soldier pension. He was stricken out of the people who could receive it because of treachery. In France he joined the port firebrigade of Bordeaux (how fitting, I know) but received no credit for his deed, because the resistance took all the credit. Only in 1990 his story began to surface when a local French newspaper reported about his actions in 1944. He was later acknowledged as the saviour of Bordeaux and became a member of the French Legion of honour in 2000 for 23 years of civil service. The main building of the Bordeaux harbour was named after him in 2012. Also a small street the “Rue Henri Salmide” near the submarine base of Bordeaux was named after him. He reportedly visited germany only one time again in 2001. To the city of Dortmund, natürlich. About the events in 1944 he said, “It was the best thing I ever did in my life.” Henri Salmide died on the 23rd of February 2010 in Bordeaux and was buried there.For further information people fluent in French can read the book “Bordeaux brûle-t-il?” by Dominique Lormier. 17 pages of that book are about him. @Cuirassé_Richelieu Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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