New Delhi: Senior Supreme Court lawyer Sanjay Hegde had his Twitter account suspended and later re-instated over the iconic 1936 photograph of Nazi Germany in which German national, August Landmesser, refused to salute Adolf Hitler.
Hegde, who had made the famous photograph his Twitter cover photo months ago, was taken by surprise Saturday when he found his account “temporarily blocked’.
Twitter blocked the account citing violation of “rules against posting”, referring to the post as “hateful imagery”.
However, following a massive outcry, the account was restored Sunday morning.
“When they unlocked the account, they removed the cover picture. I reinstated it. Don’t think they will make the same mistake twice,” Hegde told ThePrint. “I think words like Hitler, Nazi catch the algorithm of Twitter or some intern must have done it.”
In a fresh new post after his account was restored Hegde said he still could not believe that his account was suspended over the photograph.
Hey @twitter and @jack please educate your AI algorithm that August Landmesser was not a Nazi . Your team has hurriedly reinstated my account but I still can believe a suspension over this photograph pic.twitter.com/p4WUm3npsP
— SANJAY HEGDE (@sanjayuvacha) October 27, 2019
The row had the Twiterrati up in arms. In solidarity with Hegde, some users made the photo as their profile picture and tweeted it as well, while some questioned the social media firm’s policy even to the extent of dragging in the Indian Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) since Hegde is known to tweet anti-establishment posts.
👆👉 "I had this pic as my dp for a long time."
— ditto —
Now replaced as under ⤵ pic.twitter.com/RBloVaqN1b
— #Article370Scrapped👎 (@SarahTitus0306) October 27, 2019
@sanjayuvacha 's profile has been locked by twitter for the picture of August Landmeiser. This picture shows the power of individual resistance. Apparently @Twitter, popularly known as a nazi platform in popular culture finds a picture of resistance to be violating it's policy pic.twitter.com/h1wgatGyjD
— बुकरात वकील (انس) (@Vakeel_Sb) October 27, 2019
— Pranjal Kishore (@parahoot) October 27, 2019
Dear @Twitter @jack thank you for the quick action of unblocking @sanjayuvacha but uh…why did you block him in the first instance? Did you get an edict from on high, our PMO? Who are you accountable to exactly? Happy Diwali! #Unblock https://t.co/OS16jlGh6N
— Salil Shetty (@SalilShetty) October 27, 2019
So who was August Landmesser?
Landmesser was a “card-carrying Nazi” who was expelled from the party after he got engaged to a Jewish woman, Irma Eckler, in 1935.
He is seen as a symbol of resistance after being captured for refusing to perform the “sieg heil” salute before Hitler who was at the shipyard, where Landmesser worked, to christen a new German navy vessel.
According to this Independent report, Landmesser had a tragic life thereafter. The Nazi state never recognised his marriage, following which he attempted to flee the country for Denmark in 1937. The report states that Landmesser was detained at the border and charged with violating Germany’s Nuremberg Laws that forbade such relationships.
He was acquitted for want of evidence only to be arrested in 1938 for continuing to stay with Irma. He was sentenced to three years in concentration camp.
According to the report, Landmesser’s wife and two children were believed to have been sent to an “euthanasia centre” in 1942 where they were murdered.
Landmesser, it adds, was drafted into the war and later went missing in Croatia in 1944.