Heinrich Steinmeyer Legacy
For those involved in the Interim Committee, the next meeting will be on Wednesday 10 May at 6.00p.m. in the Dundurn Hall at Comrie Parish Church or in the Annex.
If anyone, who is active on the Committee, wants to get involved in the analysis of the 266 returned survey forms, a session is planned to work on the survey forms on Thursday 20 April from 7.00 p.m. at Comrie Parish Church – Hall or Annex. Please let me Andrew if you want to join that session.
Please follow the links below for a copy of the minutes of last week’s Legacy Interim Committee and of the notes from the public meeting & Silver Circle:
Heinrich Steinmeyer, a Waffen SS soldier, was captured in France in 1944 when he was 19. He became one of 4,000 German prisoners of war held at the PoW camp at Cultybraggan Camp near Comrie, where he was classified as a category C prisoner – or hardline Nazi. In a BBC interview recorded in 2009, he said: “I was in the third hut on the front. It was a 50 man barrack. We were prisoners of war and yet they treated us well.”
Steinmeyer was detained there until the Spring of 1945, when he was transferred to another POW camp, at Watten in Caithness. At the end of the war Steinmeyer was sent to a camp in Ladybank, Fife, where he was allowed to work on neighbouring farms. When Steinmeyer was released in 1948 he decided to stay on in Scotland. He settled in Stranraer and found work on farms in the area, before returning to care for his elderly mother in Germany. Little is known in detail about Heinrich’s time at Cultybraggan camp, apart from the occasion in which a group of schoolgirls, who he had got to know, smuggled him out of the camp through the chain-link fence and took him off, in a borrowed school uniform, to the cinema in Crieff, where he saw his very first film.
In due course, Heinrich revisited Comrie and made life-long friendships in the area. One of the friends he made was George Carson, who died just two weeks before the former soldier. Heinrich had talked to George Carson and others about his long-standing gratitude for his treatment at Cultybraggan Camp and his life in Scotland, and about his wishes about what should happen to his possessions after his death. Various options were considered and explored and, eventually, meetings were arranged with the Comrie Development Trust in 2008 and Heinrich asked them to manage his estate on his death. He was quite specific in his will that the money should only be used for the elderly. George Carson’s son, also George, has spoken of his own contact with Heinrich Steinmeyer and said that Heinrich wanted to thank the village of Comrie for its kindness “when he was at the lowest point of his life.”
Heinrich Steinmeyer died in February 2013, aged 90, and his ashes were scattered in the hills above the camp by the Strathearn Ramblers, through an arrangement he had also made with them some years before. The German Government then appointed solicitors to deal with his Will, the sale of his house and car and all of his other possessions, and the transfer across national boundaries of the resulting funds. This all took some considerable time. More than three years later, the £384,000 from the Will was transferred to a fund account, which had been specially set up for the legacy by Comrie Development Trust. The Trust then looked for people from the village to form a group to consult the village about the use of the funds, and then to arrange how it is spent.
In an interview with the Scotsman in 2010, Heinrich said, “The Scots saved my life three times. The Scottish people showed me mercy………When I was brought to Scotland I realised the Scots were no different from us. We should never have been fighting each other. I love Scotland very much” and in a BBC interview, Heinrich had said, “Everything I own will be sold and given to the people of Comrie because the Scots treated me as a human being.”
Consultations are now underway to determine how best to spend the Heinrich Steinmeyer Legacy Funds in ways which will bring benefit to older people in Comrie. If you follow the links below you can read the minutes of the Legacy Group held to date and the Questionnaire provided to homes in the village to collect ideas from the community:
Steinmeyer Legacy Group 24.1.17
Steinmeyer Legacy Group 8 2 17
Steinmeyer Legacy Group 10.3.17
Steinmeyer Legacy Letter & Survey Questionnaire 26.2.17
Wild Hearth Bakery based at Cultybraggan Camp are pleased to announce that the bakery is open for business.
Their usual schedule of bread making is Thursday to Saturday.(the bread comes out in the wee hours on those days).
Breaking news is that Hansen’s Deli will be stocking our bread tomorrow. Likewise, Tomnaha veg box customers have had the chance to pre-order for their Friday boxes. The downside is that they won’t have any left
So it’s really Hansen’s or Hansen’s 🙂
I am trying to think of a way to sell direct to the wonderful Comrie community and I’ll keep you posted. Any bright ideas welcome.
All the best,