Renegade German war hero who saved French port of Bordeaux dies at 91

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A renegade former member of Germany's World War Two navy, who thwarted plans to wreck the French port of Bordeaux by retreating Nazi forces, has died at the age of 91, officials said.

Heinz Stahlschmidt was serving as a petty officer in the Kriegsmarine when he was ordered to help prepare the destruction of the southwestern city's port facilities as the Germans pulled out ahead of advancing allied troops.

Instead, he set off an explosion in the bunker holding detonators and time fuses for the planned demolition, preventing mass carnage in the port area and, according to some historians, possibly saving up to 3,500 lives.

Stahlschmidt, who was long considered a traitor in postwar Germany, stayed in Bordeaux, taking the name Henri Salmide and working in the port fire department. But he struggled for a long time to win recognition in his adopted country....

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Donald Newton Langenberg - 2/26/2010

Then there was General Dietrich von Choltitz, German commander in Paris, who refused to obey direct orders from Hitler to destroy Paris before leaving it. I wonder if France will ever properly recognize such heroic Germans.