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Unknown Heroes for Liberty

By Doug Bandow

We erect statues to the famous–more often opponents of liberty, alas, when it comes to politicians.  But the cause of liberty depends on all of us, irrespective of our position, wealth, and fame.

The New York Times highlights the death of one of the unsung heroes of liberty:

Henri Salmide, a former German naval officer who defied orders to blow up the French port of Bordeaux in 1944, died on Feb. 23. He was 90 and lived in Bordeaux.

His wife, Henriette, confirmed the death.

Born Heinz Stahlschmidt, Mr. Salmide was a junior officer serving in Bordeaux as a bomb-disposal expert when, in August 1944, he was instructed to destroy the city’s port facilities and docks, among France’s most extensive.

Initially following orders, he stockpiled thousands of pounds of ordnance in a German bunker and was to lay the explosives throughout the port. The Germans expected that about 3,500 people would die in the explosions.

But Petty Officer Stahlschmidt, nicknamed the “Little Frenchman” by the French dock workers who knew him, chose to disobey the orders and instead exploded the bunker itself, killing as many as 50 Nazi soldiers.

Henri Salmide could not stop World War II, or Nazi aggression, or the Holocaust.  But he could save 3500 Frenchmen and reduce the needless destruction near the end of the most horrific war in human history.  And when called upon to risk his career and even life, he made the right decision.

Such is the case for so many absolutely essentially, but largely unknown, soldiers for liberty throughout human history.

View the original article at Campaign for Liberty

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