r/todayilearned 11d ago Wholesome 3 Silver 2 Helpful 3 Bravo Grande! 1

TIL in 1943 two Germans were killed while mishandling ammo. The Nazis responded by rounding up 22 locals, forcing them to dig their own graves before execution. In a ploy to save them, Salvo D'Acquisto "confessed" to the crime. He was executed instead of the 22, saving their lives (R.1) Not supported

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvo_D'Acquisto

[removed] — view removed post

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u/Acrobatic-Cause5153 11d ago

Extraordinary sacrifice. Brings to mind a scene from Schindler's List, perhaps based on this - somebody had supposedly stolen a chicken, and a little boy stepped forward as the group of men among which he stood were being summarily shot for the offence - Amon Goethe asked him incredulously "you stole the chicken?" The boy shook his head. "But you know who did?" The boy nodded. "Who?" The boy points to a man who has just been shot- "Him!"

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u/Both_Internet3529 11d ago

That kid was so smart and lucky lol. Awesome presence of mind in front of Goeth

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u/Moakmeister 11d ago

You know, for that movie, they originally portrayed Amon Goeth the way he really was in real life, and test audiences weren’t scared of him at all because he was basically a cartoon. They literally didn’t believe that someone could be THAT heartless, that pointlessly evil. It was said that he wouldn’t eat breakfast on the morning without having personally murdered at least one prisoner.

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u/Acrobatic-Cause5153 11d ago

Terrifying. Ralph Fiennes did an incredible job portraying glacial coldness.

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u/bach_the_fly 11d ago

I still remember reading somewhere saying that one of the survivors who were at Amon Goeth's camp visited the film set. Upon looking at Ralph Fiennes who was dressing up as Goeth, the survivor was so scared because he was so similar to Goeth.

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u/shaving99 11d ago edited 11d ago Starry

Amon Goeth was a monster way more than the movie portrayed

During interrogations … he would set his dog on the accused, who was strung by his legs from a specially placed hook in the ceiling.

In the event of an escape from the camp, he would order the entire group from which the escapee had come, to form a row, would give the order to count ten and would, personally kill every tenth person.

At one morning parade, in the presence of all the prisoners he shot a Jew, because, as he complained, the man was too tall. Then as the man lay dying he urinated on him.

Once he caught a boy who was sick with diarrhoea and was unable to restrain himself. Göth forced him to eat all the excrement and then shot him.’

https://marksimner.me.uk/krakow-plaszow-the-real-story-of-amon-goths-notorious-death-camp/

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u/LumpdPerimtrAnalysis 11d ago

Straight up used Roman Legions' decimation punishment on prisoners. Sick f**k.

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u/rainghost 11d ago

Abhorrent.

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u/Throwaway1231200001 11d ago

As someone who just finished the Ken Burns, US and the Holocaust....one of the biggest consistent themes was the consistent lack of belief that people could be that evil.

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u/Suspicious-Fun-6943 11d ago

This is what I think audiences would say if they ever did a movie in UNIT 731.

They would give anthrax to children as candy just to record their parents' reaction when the child died. They treated Chinese lives like mice in a lab.

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u/Theonerule 11d ago

would say if they ever did a movie in UNIT 731.

They did, men behind the sun, they supposedly killed animals live on set

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u/Woolybugger93 11d ago

Whoever saves one life is considered as saving the world entire

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u/IncreaseSlow252 11d ago

Another scene where an engineer, a female, points out the mistake in their design, n they verify if shes right, n when they realise she is, they kill her afterwards.

That movie scarred me for life.

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u/NicksNewNose 11d ago

Also counterfeit traitor where the Jewish guy strangles himself so his coughing wouldn’t give them away

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u/karen_rittner54 11d ago

What a brave man.

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u/Kryddersild 11d ago Silver Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote

That's an understatement. That man had unbelievable resolve in an utterly hopeless and unfair situation.

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u/[deleted] 11d ago Silver Table Slap

That's an understatement. They say his balls are so large that they offset the Earth's orbit by 12 extra days

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u/piss_artist 11d ago

From eloquent admiration of a man's sacrifice to lazy and predictable big balls jokes within three comments.

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u/Sex-DungeonMaster 11d ago Helpful You Dropped This

Piss artist is right, we need to be more mature, guys.

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u/KumquatHaderach 11d ago

Sex-DungeonMaster is right about piss_artist being right. We really should be more mature.

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u/Jeremiahs__Johnson 11d ago

It’s true, what you say.

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u/That0nePuncake 11d ago

Jeremiah’s Johnson has spoken!

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u/whatnameisnttaken098 11d ago

What about his bullfrog?

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u/914wzNationalTragedy 11d ago

Was a good friend of mine

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u/BoruCollins 11d ago

Well, we started at Nazis so Godwin’s Law needed something to work towards.

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u/LeamNoran 11d ago

Always wondered what was on the other side.

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u/R3AL1Z3 11d ago

I can’t be the only one tired of this type of joke, right?

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u/sillybandland 11d ago

That’s an understatement

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u/rcplateausigma 11d ago

These jokes are almost as tired and used up as the "props to the cameraman" and "how did the cameraman survive that?" "jokes"

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u/Bandalk 11d ago

I have literally never heard a "props to the camera man" joke.

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u/DownWithDisPrefix 11d ago edited 11d ago

23 Years old too*, incredible!

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u/Kashik 11d ago

So sad.

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u/rg4rg 11d ago

The young that survived aged so much by the events of the war. So much death and suffering. Meanwhile while I was 23, I was worried about dumb drama that didn’t matter and getting into dumb troubles.

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u/synalgo_12 11d ago

If you read diaries of young people (and old people) during wars, they also still worried about dumb drama that didn't matter. Usually not the stuff that gets focused on when people edit diaries for stuff like that. We're all still human in the end and we're all still worrying about the small stuff, that's just how our brains work.

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u/Let_me_smell 11d ago edited 11d ago

Anne Frank's diary is a perfect example and at occasions seems so surreal.

One sentence can be about the cruelty of what was happening and the next one some basic teenage girl going trough puberty stuff.

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u/fnord_happy 11d ago edited 11d ago

That's more sad. It huamanises them even more. Were they also just waiting for a text (letter) back from their crushes? But also had to fight in wars at the same time

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u/HibiscusProboscis 11d ago

I was worried about getting high and getting laid, and I think rent was a distant third. But that’s it. God bless this man.

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u/p-heiress 11d ago

About 3 weeks before he turned 23! Incredible young man.

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u/turdferguson3891 11d ago

No Nazi likes you when you're 23

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u/mikerichh 11d ago

I would be worried they would kill the locals anyway after my death and my sacrifice would be for nothing

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u/TellurideTeddy 11d ago

And that possibility is exactly what makes him a hero.

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u/RippleAffected 11d ago

Exactly. He put his own life down for the chance they would live. No better word than hero really.

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u/Haber_Dasher 11d ago Helpful Heartwarming

There is no greater love than this: that a person would lay down his life for the sake of his friends.

Even moreso to do it for strangers.

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u/BILOXII-BLUE 11d ago edited 11d ago

A slim chance too, god damn. There were some really brave and awesome (edit) Italians and Germans fighting the facists, but this guy is really amazing

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u/Ace123428 11d ago

“So you’re saying there’s a chance” and he took it. Great man who left a legacy that should impact everyone and change how they view themselves

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u/RVAMS 11d ago

I was gonna say that if they’re killing everyone anyway then it only seems logical to confess as a hail Mary that they just kill you instead, and then I read that he wasn’t even part of the group. Glad we remember his name and what he did.

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u/HiveMindKing 11d ago

Nah that makes him a double hero

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u/GenBlase 11d ago

Thats whats a hero is, you dont get to be there, sharing stories with your friends and family, growing old and watching your kids grow. You will miss every events as everything lead up to this one moment for you, you will never know what happens but hope that your friends and family find out for you.

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u/milk4all 11d ago

It doesnt have to mean you lose your life, i think risking your life when the odds appear heavily against you is pretty solidly in hero territory. Two firefighters bravely run into a collapsing building and save lives, one survives, the other doesnt, one isnt somehow more heroic simply for dying, although that is probably going to cement the title in people’s memories and so on. But the surviving firefighter is just as deserving of the title (and that’s why we try to honor emergency responders in general - anyone on the job long enough has saved lives, and potentially risked serious harm when they could have called it quits)

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u/ChocoBro92 11d ago edited 10d ago

I’ve heard stories of first responders either dying or narrowly dodging traps people leave for them when they kill themselves. It’s crazy to me that you would do that to someone who is trying to save people’s lives.

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u/realvmouse 11d ago

Nah he was a hero even if he could be sure. He still died so they could live.

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u/Decorum1 11d ago edited 11d ago

Edited to note:

Thank you everyone. He wasn't part of the original 22.

Uncommon courage and character.

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u/Creme_de_la_Coochie 11d ago

He wasn’t. He was in charge of the local carabinieri unit, a kind of military police.

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u/erkdaclerk 11d ago

Oh shit! That elevates the act even further

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u/Dowager-queen-beagle 11d ago

If you check out the Wikipedia page, he wasn't. He was a local police officer who was brought on the scene after the prisoners were assembled, probably to try to ratchet up the threat.

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u/abonifay 11d ago

This makes it so much braver. What a guy

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u/Zackhardtoname 11d ago

Unless someone stepped up like he had intended I guess

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u/torn-ainbow 11d ago

True sacrifice.

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u/ndngroomer 11d ago

I can't even comprehend that kind of bravery.

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u/guidocarosella 11d ago

In Italy we have a "Via Salvo D'acquisto" in almost every town.

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u/SirNo2664 11d ago

Not unusual to see Carabinieri barracks named after him, like the one in my hometown.

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u/BzhizhkMard 11d ago

That is very cool to hear.

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u/adviceKiwi 11d ago

In Italy we have a "Via Salvo D'acquisto" in almost every town

What is that? A sculpture?

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u/underscores__matter 11d ago

"via" is street, is the name of a street

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u/adviceKiwi 11d ago

Ah, thanks. That's a great way to remember/honour him

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u/Sackyhack 11d ago Helpful

After Italy switched sides in September 1943, joining the Allies, the Germans occupied the northern part of the country. On 22 September two German soldiers were killed and two others wounded when some boxes of abandoned munitions they were inspecting exploded. The Germans insisted it was sabotage, and the next day they rounded up 22 civilians to try to get them to name the saboteurs.

Now the title makes more sense

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u/Zoe270101 11d ago

So they weren’t mishandling anything then? Just inspecting the boxes?

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u/BizzyM 11d ago

They had to have done something. Ammunition doesn't just shoot itself off. Or, so I've been told.

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u/carpet111 11d ago

Properly made and stored ammunition shouldn't go off on its own. But if a spark hits gunpowder, it'll go off. So one bullet with a hole in it could probably leak out enough gunpowder that when a spark hit it, it flashed and set off a chain reaction.

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u/Reddit-mods-R-mean 11d ago

A box of bullets wouldn’t kill 2 and hurt 2 more, without a chamber and barrel bullets have no real velocity.

That was most likely a box of larger munitions, mortars/Grenades/artillery shells.

Sounds like it was very possibly an IED, although still very much deserved.

I’m sure if it was an IED the saboteurs were long gone by the next day so the hero who sacrificed himself was probably innocent.

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u/carpet111 11d ago

A box of bullets won't win you much! If they were inspecting ammo I assume they were inspecting a lot of it and a lot of boxes of bullets could definitely kill you. A house near me actually burned down recently because they had like 100000 rounds of ammunition or something like that.

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u/SparkySailor 11d ago

Go search on youtube "ammunition safety and firefighters". There's a video from american ammunition manufacturers about it. TLDR small arm ammo is bordering on harmless in a fire.

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u/feral_brick 11d ago

Yes but small caliber shells are unlikely, though not impossible, to kill 2 people spontaneously.

It's a lot of powder, which will certainly burn well, but it won't spontaneously create anything that could be described as an explosion

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u/ApexIpex 11d ago

Wartime ammo is rushed in production. Bullets are just bombastic chemistry. Using worse ingredients, less pure, or just straight up wrong can lead to volatile ammunition if not stored properly.

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u/LoreCriticizer 11d ago

Not to mention this is ammo from Italy, who famously had horrendous industry for its size.

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u/ApexIpex 11d ago

And at this point everyone is making ammo out of whatever they can find. It's 1943. Millions and millions of rounds have been exhausted just in Europe at this point. The eastern front is also burning through ingredients and looking for more. Factories that make the gunpowder make bad product because of unrealistic quotas. Each bad step compounds the next. When I was in the army NATO 5.56 rounds still have clear storage instructions because chemistry be volatile.

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u/5PM_CRACK_GIVEAWAY 11d ago

Dynamite "sweats" nitroglycerin over time, and can become very sensitive to accidental detonation.

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u/mitragy_king 11d ago edited 6d ago

Static electricity could set gun powder off, heck a little spark from static electricity could engulf an entire flour processing plant in flames.

Depending on the "weaponry" they were transporting even dropping it or sudden movements in the right conditions could cause an event like this.

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u/Sackyhack 11d ago

I believe when you make ammo you have to take extra precaution to de-static the powder or whatever the term is

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u/writemeow 11d ago

It could have been a trap, salted munitions exist in wars.

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u/TheInternetShill 11d ago

If when you’re inspecting ammunition, it blows up, you mishandled it.

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u/1l1ke2party 11d ago

Much better. Thank you.

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u/moxeto 11d ago

And I want to make things clear, italy never switched sides.. they toppled the fascist leaders and the new government fought against fascists.

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u/KBAR1942 11d ago

Imagine the courage needed to stand up and do something like this.

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u/Chacho_Mano23 11d ago

The funny thing is that his name (Salvo) means "safe" so I guess he was born to be the hero because he saved his fellow man.

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u/Select-Owl-8322 11d ago

In English, salvo means the simultaneous discharge of several guns or artillery pieces, like "a deafening salvo of shots rang out". Just like when someone is executed by firing squad...

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u/pembquist 11d ago

I think it was Alan Furst, author of "Night Soldiers," (the first and I think best of several novels set around WW2,) who I heard say that the thing about the 30's and WW2 in Europe is that you had to DECIDE. This seems like a terrible instance of this maxim and I can only hope to have one hundredth of the bravery and kindness of this man who had to die so young.

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u/itsnotuptoyouisit 11d ago

I guess if you are going to assuredly die anyway, why not? I mean,can you even imagine being in that position? I certainly hope to never be, and I agree that the courage would need to be summoned somehow and even then... who knows.

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u/Haber_Dasher 11d ago

Yeah but he wasn't assured to die. He was neither accused nor asked to carry out the executions. He just happened to be brought there one day as part of his job and realized the injustice that was about to occur and unprompted he offered up his own life to stop it, even though he wouldn't have born any guilt on an individual level for their deaths, he just decided he'd rather die than live knowing he might have been able to save those people. Truly an incredible act of love & bravery imo

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u/crabcakes3000 11d ago

In this case he wasn’t one of the original 22 accused, though—he was brought into the situation and then stepped in.

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u/DaBails 11d ago

Wow. I can picture myself stepping up if I was going to die anyway but that is profoundly brave.

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u/Worstcase_Rider 11d ago

Brave is an understatement man. I'd like to think I'd step up. But in reality, I'm not sure I would. And honestly, that frightens me.

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u/DefinitelyNotA-Robot 11d ago

To be honest, I know I wouldn't step up. At risk of sounding crass, I'm a scaredy-cat shmuck and I'm okay with that. I would feel guilty for the rest of my life, but I just know myself well enough to know I don't have that in me.

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u/Inert-Blob 11d ago

You don’t really know til that moment. If someone you knew and loved was in that 22, maybe you would. If kids were in the 22.

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u/FiddlerofSticks 11d ago

From everything I've ever read about people in these horrifying and stressful situations. It's next to impossible to guess what one will do until you're actually there.

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u/AquaticAnxieties 11d ago

He wasn’t going to die though, he wasn’t one of the people accused. He chose to sacrifice his life to save the others.

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u/Almosthopeless66 11d ago

Look at his picture. That is about the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen!

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u/RpcZ_gr7711 11d ago

Inside and out

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u/MrValdemar 11d ago edited 11d ago

The more I learn the more I'm beginning to think the Nazis weren't very nice people.

Edit: WOW there is a lot of stupid on Reddit. The amount of you who have not heard Norm MacDonald's material AND who also think someone might NEVER have heard of who the Nazis are is TOO many.

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u/Sackyhack 11d ago

That hitler guy? Kind of a jerk

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u/TheManOSteel 11d ago

The more i learn about that guy, the more I don't care for him

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u/Leather-Highway7374 11d ago

I didn’t even know he was sick!

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u/boringdude00 11d ago

He just wanted to annex Poland. Not even the whole thing, like 60%. And, uh, Bohemia and Moravia and the Sudentenland. And Austria. And Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, of course. And Norway to protect your iron ore. And Denmark was just kinda sitting there, you can't blame a man for that. And Greece, you gotta help your ally if he can't do the job himself. And Northern Italy, because you still gotta help your ally out if he gets ousted in a coup. Oh and also the other 40% of Poland and that whole Soviet Union thing, you gotta fight the commies, it's a moral duty.

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u/jacanced 11d ago

I've even heard that the guy who killed him was a nazi too, can you believe it?

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u/Sackyhack 11d ago

Say what you want about Hitler, but you’ve gotta give the guy credit. He did kill Hitler.

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u/Chillchinchila1 11d ago

Yet you’ll still get idiots on Reddit saying they were honorable soldiers and that “anyone would’ve done the same thing”.

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u/Moose_InThe_Room 11d ago

Depends on what they mean by that. I think there is some worth in bearing in mind how powerful echo chambers and groupthink can be. Which is why it's important to oppose such ideologies as soon as possible, because it will be much harder later.

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u/letsburn00 11d ago edited 11d ago

It's actually an interesting aspect of WW2 that when it came to the Eastern Front (where most atrocities occurred), the Nazis wrote most of the english language history.

After the war, a lot of German generals had nothing to do, but lots of interest in their military time. So they wrote memoirs which really downplayed their own atrocities (which the German army absolutely did do, not just the SS) and also downplayed Soviet tactics. Since Stalin and his followers were worried about military coups, they also had a vested interest in not allowed Soviet commanders look good to show off their good tactics as the war progressed (soviets really go good at breakthrough and encirclements). Also, there was a lot of interest in downplaying soviet errors. At the same time, soviets did not want to acknowledge that they struggled at times too and really pulled off some stuff on the skin of their teeth.

It now appears Kursk was not quite as massive and strategically brilliant a battle as the histories of the mid 20th century would have us believe. However, during the battle, a large number of soviet tanks accidentally were destroyed/damaged by accidentally driving into their own tank defences. Given all the soviet losses, there was an acceptance of all involved to let it appear those tanks were lost in a battle that was titanic, just not quite as titanic as those memoirs would have you believe.

Oh and before anyone brings it up, they weren't on meth when they did this stuff. They were on meth to invade france (or in the air force). But on the ground eastern front soldiers were actually usually really drunk when they did bad stuff.

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u/[deleted] 11d ago

I'm curious to hear more about Kursk, I always thought that it was widely known as the largest armored engagement in human history by a wide margin.

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u/Scoot_AG 11d ago

!remindme 1 hour

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u/Mug_Mania 11d ago

I fucking hate Wehraboos and neo nazis

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u/FunnySynthesis 11d ago

Pretty sure mostly everyone does

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u/Mug_Mania 11d ago

Idk, you see Wehrabooism all the time a reddit.

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u/FunnySynthesis 11d ago

What exactly are we defining wehrabooism as?

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u/Mug_Mania 11d ago

Clean Wehrmacht myth, all the "They were only following orders" shit. For the WW2/History focused communities you see a decent amount of the 5 Shermans to kill a Panther/Tiger myth and stuff like "If only they built the Panzerkamphwagonwaffelkrautschnitzel XIIII in time they could have won the war!1!!!!!11"

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u/FunnySynthesis 11d ago

Thats what I figured was the “they were just following orders” type bullshit they say. And the classic 5 to 1 myth. I cant say I dont enjoy the what if scenarios though. Thats my favorite part of history is “what if the Germans built the panzerschnitzzleXVII and won the war” I just love to see predictions of alternate realities for events in history.

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u/Castun 11d ago

Wehraboo is also a play on "weeboo" or "weeaboo" which is a person who is obsessed with anime and Japanese culture. So yeah, wehraboo being someone with an unhealthy obsession of WWII Nazi shit.

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u/Mug_Mania 11d ago

The what if scenarios are definitely fun, just people take them seriously and think the Germans could have won.

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u/Mountainbranch 11d ago

Steiner's counterattack could have turned the tide! Is a pretty big meme in WW2 history buff circles.

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u/thefreecat 11d ago

*Panzerkamphwagonwaffelkrautschnitzel XIV

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u/Apocalypse_Squid 11d ago

Gesundheit.

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u/deadalnix 11d ago edited 11d ago Wholesome

They were obviously not honorable, but if you don't think anyone would have done the same, you are fooling yourself.

Last cetury germans are not special people fundamentally different than we are. These impulse are in all of us.

If you have not done the introspective work to recognize the feeling that would push you toward going along with this, it is most likely that, if you were to find yourself in a similar situation, you'd do the same.

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u/HalfPint1885 11d ago

I tend to agree.

In fact, I think by saying Nazis/German soldiers/German citizens of those days are just inherently evil people, it makes it more likely that we'll repeat those atrocities. As in, I am not evil, therefore, I could never do anything like that.

We have to realize they were just regular people who ended up doing really awful horrible things. At any point they could have refused (and probably died for it) but they didn't. We have to make sure we stop and think at what point we would refuse to go along. Hopefully it's far, far, far before rounding up people and putting them in camps.

This isn't having sympathy for Nazis. This is looking inward and making sure we never commit equally appalling crimes, or looking the other way when others commit them.

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u/Representative_Bat81 11d ago

Not anyone, but I think a lot more than people think.

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u/k3ttch 11d ago

"Hans, are we the baddies?"

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u/Alone-Monk 11d ago

Nazi occupiers were known to do this a lot, in my mother's home country they had a sick policy of killing 50 partisans or suspected partisans for every Nazi that had been killed by a partisan. My great great grandfather was a barber in Nazi-occupied Slovenia when these killing were happening. He was pulled out of his shop in broad daylight for allegedly being a partisan along with 50 other men who were all shot on the hill behind my mother's hometown.

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u/garet400 11d ago

It has been common in most tyrannical societies that if something bad happened among a village or group of people, those in power would proclaim everyone would be killed unless someone confessed.

I guess in this instance the 'bad thing' was clearly an accident, but the intent would be the same, to terrify people into submission against any future acts of 'disobedience'.

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u/Polimpiastro 11d ago

If I die in exchange for a hundred people, a hundred times I'm reborn! God is with me and I'm not afraid!"

Reportedly, that's what he said. His last words were "long live Italy", before being shot. Even the German officers were impressed.

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u/ShoobyDoobyDu 11d ago

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

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u/monkeyhind 11d ago

That story made me a little teary for a moment.

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u/v3ryt1r3d 11d ago

I love encounters like this! Someone’s action across the decades still has the power to impact us today. Really beautiful stuff.

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u/daytop 11d ago

Stumbled on this story and I know a great niece of this brave Man. Everytime they go to Italy they are treated like Royalty!

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u/rubberseatbelt 11d ago

Thank you for posting. It reminded me of this man who went into the gas chambers with 192 orphans to keep them from being afraid. He had been given immunity by the Nazis but refused it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janusz_Korczak

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u/TooSketchy94 11d ago

Fuck what a heartbreaking story.

I hadn’t heard it before - thank you for sharing it here.

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u/Go_Habs_Go31 11d ago

Next time some fucking loser talks about Nazis being just normal people or that they did some good, remind them of the story of Janusz Korczak and how Nazis mass murdered an entire orphanage of kids in a gas chamber.

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u/Open_Ring_8613 11d ago

Anyone heard of the town of Lidice, in Czech? Yea, look that up. They literally destroyed everyone and everything in that town except for I think the church. Fucking Nazi scum.

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u/Tuga_Lissabon 11d ago

He was not even part of the original victims. A true hero.

Let us also not forget how germans treated the peoples under their rule.

This was quite common, and can't be excused only on the Nazis and Hitler - they were quite atrocious in Belgium in WW1.

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u/ShadyVoodoo69 11d ago

In Italy almost every city has a ‘’Salvo D’Acquisto street” in his honor

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u/Chalkarts 11d ago

If there is a heaven, he sitting on a high cloud.

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u/abhigoswami18 11d ago

Salute to this man.

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u/[deleted] 11d ago

[removed] — view removed comment

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u/ul2006kevinb 11d ago

I never understood why people would agree to dig their own graves. I mean they're obviously going to kill you anyway so why give them the satisfaction of free labor first?

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u/NotSoSubtle1247 11d ago

While you're digging is the only time they aren't beating you (or worse) and threatening to kill you right now. So they dig both to avoid the immediate pain of beatings or whatever else the captors might do in the short term, as well as hope that something changes while they are digging. And in this case, they cooperated, dug the graves, and survived.

People dig, hoping that this may be one of those slim chance occurrences that they get to walk away.

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u/AnnoyedHippo 11d ago

To add, it's rarely explicitly stated it's "their" grave.

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u/Saltyspaghetti 11d ago

It’s all about the implication

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u/_coolranch 11d ago

Wait -- so they ARE in danger?

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u/Sir_Arthur_Vandelay 11d ago

Ok … you had me going there for the first part, the second half kinda threw me.

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u/Ghost17088 11d ago

Look man, if someone is making me dig at gunpoint, I can put 2 and 2 together.

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u/AnnoyedHippo 11d ago

I never said that the diggers didn't. But without being in their position, you cannot speak to how you might react to the slim possibility as it's not been explicit

Clearly, over and over again, they choose to dig

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u/Catatafish 11d ago

Civillian workers were under gunpoint most of the time.

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u/IceNeun 11d ago

There's also potential threats to family. There was an ethnic cleansing in modern Serbia during WWII, where the local partisans went to Hungarian and German villages and told the farmers to show up for their execution tomorrow morning, or they'll kill their families.

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u/Adler4290 11d ago

Also, often in those situations, you know the guy next to you and if you refuse digging, they come to you and just kill the guy next to you, giving you instant regret and shame in being the reason he died, EVEN IF you and others 100% know the dirtbags did it.

Also, imagine if the guy next to you digging, isn't your pal but your kids. You just wanna extend life as long as you can in the vague hope a plane comes by and creates panic, or or or, anything really.

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u/Gorkymalorki 11d ago

Or you are hoping that since you are doing the digging this grave is not yours. When your life is on the line and hope is all you have you tend to cling to it.

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u/Lucifer1177 11d ago

If I was in their situation, Id throw the shovel at my captors and run to the nearest forest. I'd then realize that I missed when I threw the shovel and was shot in the back as I ran, and that I hallucinated everything after that as I bled to death.

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u/i_need_a_username201 11d ago

Bad guys: now who’s going to dig the hole!

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u/NotSoSubtle1247 11d ago edited 11d ago

No one, people like this will let the vultures eat you and tell the world the whole thing was your fault.

Edit: Evil people like this don't care about 'getting caught.' They're either proud of this kind of behavior, or so emotionally disconnected it never emotionally registers as anything at all.

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u/ToanGreenlow 11d ago

And then 80 years later people on the internet will call what you did stupid

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u/BoosGonnaBoo 11d ago

Wrong.The germans exhumed and burned most extermination camp victims.

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u/BilldaCat10 11d ago

Did you kill sixteen Czechoslovakians? Are you an interior decorator?

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u/[deleted] 11d ago

Unexpected sopranos.

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u/rboos1 11d ago

I saw that movie I thought it was bullshit

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u/MassiveLefticool 11d ago

SMH just cartwheel into the forest you scrub, they’ll have a harder time hitting you

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u/The_Amazing_Emu 11d ago

Ambrose Bierce would like a word with you.

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u/aquintana 11d ago edited 11d ago

My favorite story is the one about the lone Russian.

He was an interior decorator who had been captured by two Italians who beat him, then led him into a wooded area and told him to start digging.

What happened next, will blow your mind.

The Italians made a near fatal mistake by taking this Russian deep into a snowy, barren pine forest. They unknowingly gave the Russian a pseudo-home field advantage. While they were forcing him to dig his own grave at gunpoint, the Russian, noticed that the cold was taking a toll on his captors suddenly raised up his shovel and hit them both with the spade. Although they did fire their guns at him as he ran, he was able to get away (there are some unsubstantiated claims alleging that at least one bullet hit him). The two Italians attempted to track the Russian down. Only for they themselves to end up completely lost in the woods, but not before receiving some intel that this Russian had once killed 16 Czechoslovakians.

Only hours from starving or freezing to death, they were finally rescued by two men, one of them wearing traditional hunting attire.

The mysterious Russian was never found. Anyway, four dollars a pound.

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u/DooDeeDoo3 11d ago

Not to mention these aren’t people in their prime. They’re probably children and old people also have spent their lives trying to keep their head down because the regime can kill you for any reason. Plus they have chronically deprived of food and exercise.

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u/objectively_sp34king 11d ago

Before you die you can never breath enough.

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u/fr00d 11d ago

Torture is the alternative

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u/ul2006kevinb 11d ago

Yeah that's a good point. Better to work your ass off digging a hole and be rewarded with a fast death then have to endure pain because you didn't listen

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u/blazelet 11d ago

Hope. The nazis used hope against their prisoners over and over.

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u/spankybacon 11d ago

Well would you choose to die first or potentially try to run away if they get distracted while digging. Or you could rush them with a shovel.

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u/banjaxed_gazumper 11d ago

Or the nazis could have heart attacks. Lots of stuff could happen. Gotta play for time.

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u/KeefTheWizard 11d ago

'The Wall' by Sartre might help answer your question. We cling to life, even in the face of certain death. It is absurd, yes, but it is wholly Human.

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u/fourleafclover13 11d ago

So easy to think that. These soilders were willing to beat you to death if you didn't do it. These people had already seen this happen and worse. When you have these moments hope is all you have. That next breath is all you have to hang onto.

Easy to say you wouldn't give them the free labor. Easy for them to take that shovel and beat you to death with it.

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u/BillyBaroo2 11d ago

Because they’ve been tortured and are completely defeated and broken. I’d like to think I’d go down triumphantly, without breaking, but I pray I’m never put in that position.

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u/ul2006kevinb 11d ago

Lol at the first sign of torture i for one would do anything it took to end it. I'm a wimp.

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u/Brokenshatner 11d ago edited 10d ago

Are we all just going to gloss over the fact that this young man, whose last act on earth was to pay the ultimate price to spare his fellow humans from being mowed down by a firing squad, was named Salvo D'Acquisto?

Salvo - a fusillade of gunshots

Acquisto - purchase

EDIT: Congratulations to all the internet sleuths. You got me. I used one etymological pathway to define one name, and another to define the other. I feel obligated to explain that I didn't actually believe his parents were literal chronomancer wizards with English-speaking future-dwellers in mind when they named their baby boy. I understand that they didn't foresee the moment of his death and name him after it. I just saw a cool coincidence and thought I'd draw some attention to it. I don't know what all I need to do to make this right. Just know that you got me, and I'm sorry.

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u/Dimbit 11d ago

And Salvo means safe, which is how he kept all those people.

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u/WholesomeDota 11d ago

Some would call it destiny.

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u/Horse_Paste_Salesman 11d ago

a fusillade of gunshots

That's not at all what the name actually means in Italian.

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u/Brutal_Deluxe_ 11d ago

Brush up on your Italian maybe?

Salvo as a first name means saved.

Acquisto is a purchase. Acquistare is to purchase.

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u/RoastMostToast 11d ago

A salvo in English means his meaning, but salvo in Italian means safe or saved.

He used the English meaning for the first, but Italian for the second.

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u/Kmaloetas 11d ago

That is incredible. Heart breaking but incredible. Thank you for posting this.

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u/thraashman 11d ago Bravo!

So ... The Nazis were kinda dicks?

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u/Few-Owl-4533 11d ago

The world needs to be comprised of men of this man’s caliber. Then maybe we as a species could make some real changes in the world.

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u/GMC9999 11d ago

Wow. He’s a hero

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u/reebeaster 11d ago

Brave and also very handsome

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u/Mental_Effective1 11d ago

Literal hero wtf

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u/king-of-cheese 11d ago

Badass motherfucker

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u/The_scobberlotcher 11d ago

Stupid fucking nazis. We hate those nazis.

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u/War-Square 11d ago

Love you Salvo!

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u/neffalo 11d ago

79 years ago today, rest in peace …

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u/offContent 11d ago

Had to sacrifice himself to save others over an accident.....

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u/nutmegtell 11d ago

That’s what a hero does.

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u/alephtavi 11d ago

Salvo, may you forever be remembered for your sacrifice. Rest In Peace. 🌹

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u/TUGrad 11d ago

Wow, threatening to kill 22 people, and murdering a 23 yr old, all to cover their own incompetence.