A small Scottish village has been rewarded for the kindness shown to a former German prisoner of war after he left them nearly £400,000 in his will.
Heinrich Steinmeyer, a former Waffen SS soldier during the Second World War, was captured in France when he was 19 years old and held in the PoW camp at Cultybraggan near the village of Comrie, Perthshire.
Steinmeyer died in 2013, aged 90, a fortnight after the death of George Carson, a close friend he had made in the village and visited regularly.
Two years on, his wish to leave £384,000 to the village has been recognised and has been gifted to the village’s local community trust to be spent on local development for the elderly.
The Courier newspaper said part of Steinmeyer’s will reads: “I would like to express my gratitude to the people of Scotland for the kindness and generosity that I have experienced in Scotland during my imprisonment of war and hereafter”.
Carson’s son, who is also called George, told the BBC: “It sounds like an unbelievable story but it’s absolutely true.
“My mother and her friends, all school children at Morrison’s Academy in Crieff, made friends with Heinrich through the fence of the Cultybraggan camp.
“I’m not quite sure how they communicated but during these conversations they discovered that Heinrich had never seen a moving picture, so they went up with their push bikes one morning and one of the girls had taken her brother’s school uniform and they smuggled him out of the camp through the chain-link fence and into the cinema where he saw his very first film and he was absolutely blown away by the whole experience.
“I met him a couple of times and he was a wonderful man.
“He had meetings with the Comrie Development Trust in 2008 and asked them to manage his estate on his death. He was quite specific in his will that the money should only be used on the elderly in the village.”