LONDON (AP) — A former German soldier has left his life's savings to a small Scottish village where he was held as a prisoner of war during World War II.
Heinrich Steinmeyer, a Waffen SS soldier, was 19 when he was captured was brought to the POW camp at Cultybraggan near the village of Comrie in Perthshire. After the war, he regularly visited.
He died in 2014, leaving 384,000 pounds ($485,000) to the village in his will. His wish was to help the elderly in the community.
It was unclear why nearly two years elapsed between his death and the announcement of the legacy, but the Comrie Development Trust said that there had been a lengthy process to settle the estate, which was gained from the sale of his house and all his possessions.
"This is his thanks for the kindness shown to him at the point of his life where he was at his lowest ebb and he just wants to say thank you to everybody," George Carson, whose parents were long-time friends of Steinmeyer, told the BBC.
Carson said his mother and her friends had made friends with Steinmeyer through the fence at the camp. They discovered that he had never seen a movie.
"So they went up with their push bikes one morning and one of the girls had taken her brother's .... school uniform up with them and they smuggled Heinrich out of the camp through the chain-link fence and ... smuggled Heinrich into the cinema where he saw his very first film," Carson said. "He was absolutely blown away by the whole experience. After the film, they cycled back to Comrie, (and) smuggled Heinrich back into the camp again."
Steinmeyer had meetings with the Comrie Development Trust in 2008 and asked them to manage his estate on his death.
The trust is now asking local people to take part in determining how to best use the legacy.