Why a former Nazi stormtrooper has donated his life savings to a small Scottish village

A former Nazi storm trooper has handed over life savings of almost £400,000 to the little Scottish village where he was held captive during World War Two.

Heinrich Steinmeyer was just 19 when he was taken prisoner in Normandy just after D-Day in 1944. He had been a member of Hitler’s infamous Waffen SS, which was the armed wing of his party. However, even though Mr Steinmeyer was held captive in Scotland, he said he had never forgotten the kindness and generosity which had been shown to him there.

He was held at the Prisoner of War (PoW) camp at Cultybraggan near Comrie, Perthshire, saying following his release that his term there had left him a changed man, and that he no longer believed that he should have fought in the Second World War.

Friends

The former Nazi squadron leader often returned to Comrie after his release, making many friends in the village. He died at the age of 90 two years ago, requesting that his ashes were scattered in the hills overlooking the prison camp which was once his enforced home.

For the rest of his life, he said he wanted to repay the generosity shown to him and now he has fulfilled his promise by gifting a bequest of £384,000 to the village. He has also requested that his house outside Bremen in Germany along with the rest of his possessions are sold to benefit the community which welcomed him, even though they were fighting opposite sides of the war effort.

The Comrie Development Trust which bought Cultybraggan camp for £350,000 in 2007, has now received a donation of €457,180 (£386,086). The trust said they would make sure that his gratitude lived on by supporting elderly people in the community.

He was first taken into the camp in August 1944, where he said that he received such incredible treatment at the hands of guards and villagers, that he decided to live in Scotland following the war.

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