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Robert Meier
Robert Meier
Centenarian

Robert Meier (10 March 1897 – 29 January 2007) was, at the age of 109, Germany's oldest living man, a combat-wounded veteran of World War I and one of Germany's last surviving veterans of that war. Meier became Germany's oldest living man on 2 March 2005, when he was nearly 108, following the passing of Hermann Dornemann, who was 111. He held the title for almost two years. However, Germany's oldest living person at his death was a 111-year-old woman: Irmgard von Stephani, born 20 September 1895. Robert Meier lived in Witten, North Rhine-Westphalia.

He was a rarity in being a survivor of the infantry, having seen combat in France on the Western front. Meier may also have been the last person to have met Kaiser Wilhelm II in person (i.e. as the Kaiser: he abdicated in 1918). He was also a World War II veteran, spending some time as a prisoner of war in the Caucasus.

In October 2006, Robert Meier met 110-year-old Henry Allingham, the oldest living British WWI veteran, in his hometown. France's oldest veteran ever, Maurice Floquet, sent his regards, but could not attend, because he was too frail to travel. Floquet subsequently died on the eve of Armistice Day, 10 November 2006.

Robert Meier was born to German parents in Sergejewka, Ukraine, in the Russian Empire. He was a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany for 70 years, and worked as a railway worker. His wife Ella died in 1967; they had a son and a daughter.

Robert Meier had a fine sense of humour; in 2006, he let the local press take his picture while he was wearing a WW1 spiked helmet and a t-shirt with the slogan "109 - na und?" ("109 - so what?") on it. He was at good health and keeping his own household until late 2006, and hospitalised only a few weeks before his death: he had a bad fall right before Christmas Day and died about five weeks later on, just one day before he was scheduled to have an ulcer operation.

References


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