Good Afternoon Harry,
You don’t see this every day, and would you believe the heading said NAZI POW! Can’t find Naziland on
any map I have! Regards, MARCONI
A former German prisoner of war has left nearly £400,000 to a small Scottish village for the kindness
shown to him during his captivity.
Heinrich Steinmeyer, a former Waffen SS soldier during World War Two, was captured in France when
he was 19 years old and was held in the PoW camp at Cultybraggan near the village of Comrie,
Perthshire. Mr Steinmeyer died in 2013, aged 90, a fortnight after the death of George Carson, a close
friend he had made in the village and visited regularly.
Two years later, his wish to leave £384,000 to the village has been recognised and has been gifted to
the village’s local community trust and will be spent on local development for the elderly in the area. The
Courier newspaper said part of Mr Steinmeyer’s will reads: “I would like to express my gratitude to the
people of Scotland for the kindness and generosity that I have experienced in Scotland during my
imprisonment of war and hereafter”.
Mr Carson’s son, who is also called George, spoke of his memories of the charitable soldier. He told
BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It sounds like an unbelievable story but it’s absolutely true. My mother
and her friends, all school children at Morrison’s Academy in Crieff, made friends with Heinrich through
the fence of the Cultybraggan camp.
“I’m not quite sure how they communicated but during these conversations they discovered that
Heinrich had never seen a moving picture, so they went up with their push bikes one morning and one of
the girls had taken her brother’s school uniform and they smuggled him out of the camp through the
chainlink fence and into the cinema where he saw his very first film and he was absolutely blown away by
the whole experience.
“I met him a couple of times and he was a wonderful man. He had meetings with the Comrie
Development Trust in 2008 and asked them to manage his estate on his death. German prisoners help
to carry British wounded back to their trenches after an attack by XIV (Irish) Corps on Bavarian units
holding Ginchy during the Battle of the Somme (PA) “He was quite specific in his will that the money
should only be used on the elderly in the village. This is his thanks for the kindness shown to him at the
point of his life where he was at his lowest and he just wants to say thank you to everybody.”
The money has now been transferred to a Heinrich Steinmeyer Legacy Fund and a consultation process
will start to find out how the legacy should be spent.