Jakob Nacken is believed to have been the tallest soldier to have fought in World War II. At 7 foot 3 inches (2.21m), he was the tallest soldier in the German Army when he was drafted at the age of 36 in 1939.
In August 1944, Jakob Nacken was a part of a gun crew of 250 German soldiers that were captured by a troop of seven Canadian Army soldiers led by Corporal Bob Roberts in Calais, France. Nacken spent the rest of the Second World War in England as a Prisoner of War.
Prior to the war, Nacken was considered the world’s tallest man, and he travelled around the world performing in circuses and events including the 1939 New York World’s Fair. He would often perform under the names the “Giant from the Rhineland” and “Uranus”.
After the war, the tallest soldier of World War 2 emigrated from post-war Germany to the United States to live in Paterson, New Jersey and became a citizen of the United States on the 16th of December 1955. He would often work as a tall Santa at Christmas, and would also perform at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! shows as the World’s Tallest Man with his final appearance coming in 1959. Later in life, Jakob Nacken returned to Germany and died in Europe at the age of 81 in March 1987.