Jakob Nacken: The Tallest German Soldier of Second World War, 1944

Faisal Azam
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On one side stood a towering 7-foot 3-inch (2.21m) German, who had left an American sideshow to join the Wehrmacht. Facing him was the 5-foot 7-inch (170 cm) AP photographer Eddie Worth.


Jakob Nacken stood silently while British troops searched him, creating a humorous David versus Goliath scene during the conflict.


Jakob Nacken was born on February 15, 1906, in Düsseldorf, Germany. His parents were both 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall.


His sister Josephine and his younger brother Wilhelm were also 6 feet 2 inches tall. His oldest brother, eight years his senior, grew to 6 feet 7 inches (2.01 m).


Nacken started his career in a German traveling circus, performing as “Uranus” and “the giant from the Rhineland.” He was known as Germany’s tallest man and was considered the tallest man in the world at the time.


He wore size 17 boots as an adult and often got bruises on his head from bumping into low doorways.


At the start of World War II, he returned to Germany and was drafted into the army, becoming their tallest soldier.


He was part of a gun crew and was captured with 250 other soldiers in Calais, France, in August 1944.

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