Heinrich Steinmeyer Legacy
Please find the minutes of the Interim Committee held on 6th September by following this link:
I have attached the minutes from the Steinmeyer Interim Committee meeting on 29 June. At the meeting, the decision was made to develop papers detailing how the committee should be formalised and its members elected through a public meeting in the autumn. It was also agreed to pursue work on the main proposals made in the recent committee survey, to inform discussions and decisions at the public meeting on the way ahead. Within the survey responses, there were a wide range of specific proposals under five general headings. These main areas for work are: 1) support & care; 2) transport & mobility; 3) social places & village venues; 4) village environment; and 5) leisure & activities.
The Interim Committee is now therefore looking for people to join one or more of the working groups, whose task will be to identify:
whether what is proposed already exists in the village, and is adequate, or needs enhancing;
if the proposed service is already provided by a statutory agency, e.g. Social Work or the NHS, or should be provided by them, and whether the service needs enhancing;
the feasibility of implementing survey proposals;
broad estimates of the cost of implementing survey proposals;
what would be required to make the proposed development happen.
This work will only be possible if the Interim Committee gets extra support to carry it out. The Committee would therefore be grateful you would complete and return the attached form offering to support the activities of one or more of the working groups, and also if you would pass on the request and form to others, who you think might be able to contribute to this work. The form can be emailed back to: firstname.lastname@example.org or returned to The Old School in Dundas Street (north part of former school buildings, set back from the street).
Thanks and best wishes, Andrew
Interim Committee Secretary
The total number of ideas put forward was 715. The number of times proposals were mentioned in all of the survey forms both under the general headings and the detailed categories was then counted. So, for example, the number of ideas coming from survey respondents saying that one of the uses of the legacy funding should be Support and Care was 209, and amongst those survey responses 65 made specific proposals concerning care supports, 38 mentioned respite services for carers, 27 mentioned advice services, and so on.
Please follow this link to view the Minutes of the meeting: committee-minutes-29.6.17
Please follow this link if you wish to volunteer to help the working groups:
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