Martyrdom of Reinhold Elstner

Reinhold Elstner was a German Wehrmacht veteran and a certified chemical engineer who poured petrol over himself and committed suicide at about 8 pm on April 25, 1995, on the steps of Munich’s historical Feldherrnhalle (the site of the brief battle that ended Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch and subsequently a Nazi memorial).

He sacrificed his life in protest against what he called “the ongoing official slander and demonization of the German people and German soldiers 50 years after the end of World War II“.

Twelve hours later, on April 26, he died in a Munich hospital. In a farewell letter, he wrote:

Fifty years of unrelenting smear campaigns and demonization of an entire people are enough. Fifty years of incessant insults hurled at German war veterans are enough. With my 75 years of age, all I can do is to set a final sign of contemplation with my death in flames. And if only one German comes to consciousness and finds his way to the truth, then my sacrifice will not have been in vain.”


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