25 November 2007

A Mormon who resisted the Reich

The story of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose Group is well known. The story of Helmuth Hubener seems to be rather less well known although he suffered the same fate as Sophie. Aged 17, he was the youngest opponent of the Reich to be sentenced to death by the “People’s Court” (volksgerichtshof) and executed

Helmuth Hübener was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka the Mormons). Already uncomfortable with the repression of the Reich, he began an apprenticeship in administration at the Hamburg Social Authority 1941. It was there where he met other apprentices who got him listening to enemy radio broadcasts (considered to be an act of treason under the Reich). In the summer of 1941 he began listening to the BBC by himself, and used what he had heard to compose various anti-fascist texts and anti-war leaflets.

In the autumn of 1941, he recruited friends and fellow workers Karl-Heinz Schnibbe and Rudolf Wobbe, and later Gerhard Düwer, who helped him to distribute about 60 different pamphlets, containing material from the BBC broadcasts all over Hamburg. This is an example of what he wrote:

Who is Lying ??????????????????
The official report of the German
High Command of the Armed Forces

Quite a while ago they claimed
The roads to Moscow, Kiev
and Leningrad were opened

And today-six weeks after
Germany's invasion of the USSR,
Severe battles are still occurring
Far from these places.

This is how they are lying to us!

The President of his church, knowing about Helmuth’s good stenographic and typing skills, had asked him to type letters to soldiers on the front lines. This gave him access to a typewriter and paper.

Hubener was arrested at his workplace in February 1942 while trying to translate the pamphlets into French so that they could be distributed among POWs – he had been denounced by Nazi Party member, Heinrich Mohn. Hubener's case was tried by the People’s Court in Berlin and he was sentenced to death. He was executed at Berlin’s Plotenzee Prison on 26 October 1942..

Karl-Heinz Schnibbe was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. He was released early and drafted into the Army. He was taken prisoner by the Soviets and did not return to Germany until 1949. Rudi Wobbe survived the war and returned to Hamburg in 1945. In the early 1950s , both men, along with Hubener’s two half-brothers, went to live in Utah. Both have written accounts of their resistance.

A film about Helmuth Hubener called Truth & Treason is due to start filming early next year. Haley Joel Osment is scheduled to play the lead role. The film will bring Hubener’s story to a much wider audience.


Frank Partisan said...

That seems like it'll be an incredible movie.

In the US, when Mormonism comes up, the reactionary presidential candidate Romney is mentioned.

try to catch "La Vie En Rose," the Edith Piaf movie. That is my favorite so far this year.

jams o donnell said...

I would hope so Ren . I hope the makers don't screw it up.

La Vie en Rose is on my must watch list. Will get it on dvd rental asap

A Free Man said...

I'd certainly not heard this story, thanks for writing about it - interesting.

jams o donnell said...

It is an amazing story isn't it Chris?

KMHansen said...

I love the story! I have read The Price which is Karl's Point of View, Three Against Hitler and it's Rudy's POV and now I am reading Hubener vs. Hitler which is all on Helmuth. It's really good! I recommend it. I have also seen Truth and Conviction. It's a wonderful documentary that Karl has done. I cried when I saw it. It will be interesting to see how the movie is. I hope they keep true to the story. If not, I will be really disappointed! I am also LDS and he is my hero. He is also very courageous for doing that!

jams o donnell said...

Thanks for your coment. Petersgirl. He was truly a courageous and principled young man