Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ask Vance: A Nazi in Memphis?

Posted on Sat, Apr 26, 2008 at 4:00 AM

This week, Memphis magazine resident historian Vance Lauderdale peeks into his mailbag:

Robert Lanier of Memphis recently sent me an Associated Press newsclipping from a Washington, D.C., newspaper, which I filed away in the cobwebby recesses of my once-great mind, under the general category of "Can't Possibly Be True."

But lately I'm discovering that quite a few things readers uncover -- and share with me -- turn out to be not only true, but even stranger than I expected.

Here is what Mr. Lanier's AP story said. The headline was "NAZI IN FULL UNIFORM ARRESTED IN MEMPHIS" and it was dated August 14, 1945:

"A German paratrooper, wearing his military uniform complete with the swastika and German eagle, was arrested on Main Street yesterday. The prisoner gave his name as Sergeant Heintz Heimann and said he escaped from the prison-of-war camp at Crawfordsville, Arkansas. He said he wanted to see the city, but was afraid to discard his army clothes for fear he would be shot as a spy."

To read more, go to Lauderdale's new blog "Ask Vance."

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