If your relative fell on Omaha Beach on D-Day, there's a good chance that machine-gunner Hein Severloh was responsible. Anywhere from half to three-quarters of the American casualties that day fell before his gun.
One image still brings tears to his eyes. A young American had run from his landing craft and sought cover behind a concrete block. Severloh, then a young lance-corporal in the German army in Normandy, aimed his rifle at the GI. He fired and hit the enemy square in the forehead. The American’s helmet flew away and rolled into the sea, his chin sank to his chest and he collapsed dead on the beach.
Tormented by the memory, Severloh now weeps at the thought of the unknown soldier’s death. [Link, via MetaFilter]