Helmuth Hübener teenager murdered for speaking the truth.

Helmuth Hübner, was a young member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), he lived in the St. Georg Branch in Hamburg.


His short life was shaped by the rise of fascism in Germany. The Nazis changed nearly every aspect of everyday life for Germans, and Helmut was no exception. He had been a devoted Boy Scout, but he was forced to become part of the Hitler Youth, when the Nazis banned the Boy scouts organization in 1935. Helmut did not feel comfortable with this and quit the Hitler youth in 1938,aged 13.

He was disturbed by participation of the Hitler Youth in Kristallnacht.After Hübener finished secondary school in 1941, he began an apprentice training course at the Hamburg Social Welfare Authority He met other apprentices there, one of whom, Gerhard Düwer, (whom he would later recruit into his resistance movement). In 1941 at a sauna in Altona , he met new friends, some were members of an illegal Young Communist Group.

At that time Helmut started listening to foreign radio stations and mainly the BBC. It was forbidden to listen to any non-government radio transmissions, like the BBC’s multi-language broadcasts, and being caught could result into severe punishments ,including he death penalty.

Helmut found a shortwave radio, which belonged to his older half-brother Gerhard’s in a hallway closet. It had been given to Gerhard early that year by a soldier returning from service in France.

Helmut decided to spread the information he had heard on the radio from the BBC. He also persuaded other like-minded young people to join him in opposition. He started to o compose various anti-national socialist texts and anti-war leaflets.

The leaflets were designed to draw the Germans attention to how distorted the official Nazi reports about World War II from Berlin were, as well as to point out Adolf Hitler’s, Joseph Goebbels’s, and other leading Nazis’ criminal behaviour. Other themes covered by Hübener’s writings were the war’s futility and Germany’s looming defeat. He also mentioned the mistreatment sometimes meted out in the Hitler Youth.

In one of his pamphlets, for example, he wrote:

“German boys! Do you know the country without freedom, the country of terror and tyranny? Yes, you know it well, but are afraid to talk about it. They have intimidated you to such an extent that you don’t dare talk for fear of reprisals. Yes you are right; it is Germany – Hitler Germany! Through their unscrupulous terror tactics against young and old, men and women, they have succeeded in making you spineless puppets to do their bidding”.

For several months, Helmut spread the word about lost battles and Nazi lies. But on February 5 1942, a coworker and Nazi Party member Heinrich Mohn, denounced him. He had seen Helmut trying to translate the pamphlets into French and have them distributed among prisoners of war, he Helmut was arrested and tried before the Volksgerichtshof, or People’s Court, a Nazi-controlled tribunal that dealt with matters of treason.

On 11 August 1942, at age 17, Helmut was tried as an adult by the Special People’s Court (Volksgerichtshof) in Berlin, Helmut was sentenced to death.

After the sentence was announced , Helmut turned to the judges and said, “Now I must die, even though I have committed no crime. So now it’s my turn, but your turn will come.” He hoped this would focus the judge’s wrath solely on him and spare the life of his companions. It worked, his friends received long prison sentences, but survived the war. His two friends, Schnibbe and Wobbe, who had also been arrested, were given prison sentences of five and ten years respectively

On October 27, 1942, guards told Helmut that Adolf Hitler had personally refused to commute his death sentence. Hours later, he was beheaded—the youngest person in German resistance to Nazism ever executed by the Third Reich. It was highly unusual for the Nazis to try an underaged defendant, much less sentence him to death, but the court stated that Helmut had shown more than average intelligence for a boy his age.

Nowadays we also have very vocal youngsters, but mostly they are very privileged, especially in the wealthier western countries. I wonder though would they be willing to face harsh punishment and sacrifices for their causes. I doubt that very much, mainly because they are only paying lip service to often very trivial causes in comparison.

On the other hand there were very fanatical youngsters in Nazi Germany, actively and violently defending the Nazi regime. Children like Alfred Zech, a German child soldier who received the Iron Cross, 2nd Class at the age of 12 years.

sources

https://www.gdw-berlin.de/en/recess/biographies/index_of_persons/biographie/view-bio/helmuth-huebener/?no_cache=1

https://www.history.com/news/meet-the-youngest-person-executed-for-defying-the-nazis

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Zech

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Paying the ultimate price for helping others.

Maastricht is one of my favourite cities. I grew up only about 10 miles away from it and would have visited it numerous times. It is, the most south eastern city in the Netherlands and is well known for its close proximity to Belgium and Germany. It is also the the home of violin virtuoso Andre Rieu and his Strauss Orchestra.

In Europe it is known for the treaty which was signed there on February 7,1992. It shaped the future of the EU.

But I am not going to talk about any of that. I want to add a name to the Maastricht narrative and would love it if in years to come people would say “Maastricht, oh yes that is the place where Derk van Assen and his wife Berendje are from”

Derk and Berendje van Assen were heroes in every sense of the word. They paid the ultimate price for helping their neighbours.

Derk was active in the underground resistance from the beginning of
the war, in May 1940. Initially without being part of an organised group, but later he joined the Versleyen group, a group of tax officials
within the L.O (National Organisation for help to those in hiding); he
was also a member of the Trouw group, the national Christian
resistance group.

In Derk’s Christian believes and humanist principles, all people were equal and he was prepared to risk everything to save the lives of Jews and others. Using his many talents Derk contributed during the war to illegal newspapers, organized national information networks and offered professional document forgers a place to work in his home. Derk and Berendje were friendly with Isidore and Frederika Schaap, who had come to Maastricht in 1939, together with their daughter Hetty. Isidore headed a branch of a Ladies fashion firm that was based in Rotterdam and Berendje was one of his customers.

The Shaap family had totally integrated; in the ways of the more the more Burgundian lifestyle of the southern Netherlands and sometimes they even went with Derk and Berendje to the Reformed Church on Sunday mornings.

In the summer of 1942, the Schaaps received orders to report for deportation ,Derk helped them find a place to hide. They spent their first couple of nights hiding with a family who owned an optician’s shop in Maastricht. During this time their identity cards were altered and the “J” removed, which gave them the freedom to travel with less risk. The next following day, the Schaap family took a train to Utrecht, to the home of one of Derk’s cousins. They soon moved to a family in Hillegom, South Holland, also relations of the van Assens. The Schaap family then had to split up Isidore and Frederika moved to Amsterdam, where they were later arrested.

The Police Commissioner of Maastricht had requested that Isidore Schaap and Frederika Roza Schaap-Kamerling, both residents of Maastricht, be located, detained and brought to trial. They were suspected of having changed their place of residence without the required authorization. This description referred to Jews who had gone into hiding.

On 26 July 1943 Derk was arrested in Maastricht after having been
under surveillance shadowed for some time by the SD (Sicherheitsdienst). The SD had recruited “Blonde Mien”, a resistance activist. Mien was tasked to gather information about Derk’s contacts, but before she could do so Derk was apprehended and incarcerated in the local prison. In this prison, Oberscharfuehrer Richard Nitsch interrogated Derk for seven weeks, during which time Derk’s colleagues were planning his escape. However, the authorities discovered the plot and to abort it Nitsch and two other SD men executed Derk in Horst, Limburg, on September 14, 1943.

In the meantime, Berendje was also arrested and imprisoned, first in
Maastricht, then in Haaren and finally in Vught. From there she was
deported to Camp Ravensbruck in Germany where she died on 2
February 1945.

Two heroes who gave their lives for others. After the war Derk and Berendje were decorated by the Air Chief
Marshall and Vice Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces for
“assistance to officers of the marine, land and air forces to escape
from imprisonment, or to avoid being taken prisoner by the enemy”.
On 6 September 1989 Derk van Assen and Berendina van Assen –
Grolleman were awarded the honorary title of Righteous among the
Nations by Yad Vashem.

Frederika Roza Schaap-Kamerling born Wildervank, 28 February 1894 – Murdered in Auschwitz, 28 January 1944.Reached the age of 49 years.

Isidore Schaap ,born Rotterdam, 24 April 1894 – murdered in Auschwitz, 8 April 1944. Reached the age of 49 years.

I could not find out what happened to their daughter Hetty.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/130959/isidore-schaap

https://www.tracesofwar.nl/sights/67272/Monument-Derk-van-Assen.htm

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Hendrikus van der Meer, killed for distributing leaflets.

2020-01-29

It is often asked “Why did the people not stand up against the Nazi regime?” I have even asked this question, especially when it came to me fellow Dutchmen.

But it is easy to judge in hindsight. I wonder how many who asked that question would have stood up against the regime(and I include myself), if they were put in that situation.Would they be willing to risk their lives?

Some men and women did stand up against the occupier and paid a heavy price for it, Mostly they were ordinary people, and would not have a military background. People like  Hendrik van der Meer.

Hendrik was a driver who worked for the local launderette in Amsterdam. On May 6 1943, he was spotted by 2 police men. Hendrik was distributing leaflets door to door, encouraging people to strike, and to refuse to report former Dutch soldiers. Previously there had been strikes between April 29 and May 3rd 1943.

When the police picked him up they found hundreds of leaflets. Hendrik was executed the same day  at an unknown destination.There was no trial.

He had a wife and 3 children who did not even know where their husband and Father was buried, or if he was buried at all. Just because he was distributing leaflets.

The picture at the top is the announcement of his execution.

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They were so utterly shocked and frightened, you could do with them what you wanted.

Hans

Below is a part of the testimony of Hans Friedrich a member of of the 1st SS Infantry Brigade. His words are shocking.

“Try to imagine there is a ditch, with people on one side, and behind them soldiers. That was us and we were shooting. And those who were hit fell down into the ditch.They were so utterly shocked and frightened, you could do with them what you wanted.

When he was asked  what he thought and felt when he was shooting, he replied.

“Nothing. I only thought, ‘Aim carefully’ so that you hit properly. That was my thought.”

His answer to the question if he  no feelings for the people, the Jewish civilians that he shot? “No”

When asked why not

“Because my hatred towards the Jews is too great. … And I admit my thinking on this point is unjust, I admit this. But what I experienced from my earliest youth when I was living on a farm, what the Jews were doing to us—well that will never change. That is my unshakable conviction.”

Just read his testimony and then read it again and remember what hate can do.Especially what hate based on lies can do.

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The death of Dafydd ap Gruffydd.

pRINCE OF wALES

On October 3rd 1283, Dafydd ap Gruffydd, prince of Gwynedd in Wales, became the first person to be tried for what later would become high treason against a king, hewas also the first nobleman executed by being hanged, drawn and quartered.

On Palm Sunday 1282 Dafydd ap Gruffydd attacked Hawarden Castle, in so doing, thereby starting the final conflict with Plantagenet-ruled England,King Edward I(Edward the Longshanks), in the course of which Welsh independence was lost.

On 22 June, Dafydd and his younger son Owain ap Dafydd were captured at Nanhysglain, a secret hiding place in a bog by Bera Mountain to the south of Abergwyngregyn. Dafydd, who was seriously wounded in the struggle to arrest him, was conveyed that night to King Edward’s camp at Rhuddlan. Dafydd was taken from there to Chester. Dafydd’s wife Elizabeth de Ferrers, their seven daughters, and their infant niece, Gwenllian ferch Llywelyn, were also taken prisoner at the same time.

On 30 September, Dafydd ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales, was condemned to death, the first person known to have been tried and executed for what from that time onwards would be described as high treason against the King. Edward ensured that Dafydd’s death was to be slow and agonising, and also historic; he became the first prominent person in recorded history to have been hanged, drawn and quartered, preceded by a number of minor knights earlier in the thirteenth century. Dafydd was dragged through the streets of Shrewsbury attached to a horse’s tail then hanged alive, revived, then disembowelled and his entrails burned before him for “his sacrilege in committing his crimes in the week of Christ’s passion”, and then his body cut into four-quarters “for plotting the king’s death”. Geoffrey of Shrewsbury was paid 20 shillings for carrying out the gruesome act on 3 October 1283.

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Sources

http://www.deeside.com/palm-sunday-736-years-ago-dafydd-ap-gruffydd-attacked-hawarden-castle/

http://www.englishmonarchs.co.uk/dafydd_grufydd.html

https://biography.wales/article/s-DAFY-APG-1283

View at Medium.com

 

 

The brave words from a Mother to her Daughter.

olga

This story is both heartbreaking and uplifting. Heartbreaking because it is a story about a mother who knew she was going to die. Uplifting because her last words were so positive and courageous, despite the fate that awaited her.

Olga Bancic was born on May 10, 1912 to a large Jewish family living in the Bessarabia province when it was still part of the Russian Empire.

In 1936, she traveled to France, where she supported communist activists in transporting weapons to Spanish Republican forces fighting in the Spanish Civil War. Shortly before the outbreak of WWII she gave birth to her Daughter Dolores, the child’s father was Alexandru Jar. After the outbreak of the war Olga left Dolores in care with a French family. Olga joined a resistance group.

She was arrested on November 6, 1943 by the Gestapo, during the interrogation she was tortured.Despite the torture she refused  give information about her comrades.

On February 22,1944 Olga and 22 others were sentenced to death. All male defendants were executed later that day at Fort Mont-Valérien. Olga had been the only female defendant and due to a loophole in the French law which prevented women from being executed on French soil, Olga was deported to Stuttgart. She was executed in Stuttgart on May 10,1944 , her 32nd birthday. She was decapitated with an axe in the local prison’s courtyard.

One of her last deeds was throwing a letter out of a window during her transportation to her place of execution. The letter had a note attached to it saying.:

“Dear Madame: I ask you to please give this letter to my little girl Dolores Jacob after the war. This is the last wish of a mother who will only live twelve more hours.”

Miraculously the letter did reach Dolores, who had been given the name Dolores Jacob, the letter said the following:

“My dear little daughter, my darling little love

Your mother is writing the last letter, my dear little daughter; tomorrow at 6:00, on May 10, I will be no more.

Don’t cry, my love; your mother doesn’t cry any more either. I die with a peaceful conscience and with the firm conviction that tomorrow you will have a happier life and future than your mother’s. You will no longer have to suffer. Be proud of your mother, my little love. I always have your image before me.

I’m going to believe that you will see your father, and I have hope that he’ll meet a fate different from mine. Tell him that I always thought of him, as I always thought of you. I love you both with all my heart. Both of you are dear to me. My darling child, your father is, for you, also a mother. He loves you a lot. You won’t feel the loss of your mother. My darling child, I finish this letter with the hope that you will be happy all your life, with your father, with everyone.

I kiss you with all my heart, a lot a lot.

Farewell my love.

Your Mother”

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The execution of 9 Polish farmers.

notification

I would love to explain the exact reason why these 9 Polish men were executed on November 25,1941. But I can’t.

Looking at the text of the German announcement which was signed by the by the governor of Lublin district,all that the announcement indicates is that the men did not fulfill their quota and were therefor in breach of Article 1 of the  Kriegswirtschafts verordnung , War Economy Regulation. which states:

“Anyone who destroys, disposes of, or withholds raw materials or products that belong to the vital needs of the population, and thereby maliciously endangers the cover of this need, will be punished with a prison sentence or in particularly severe cases can be sentenced to death.”

This law was of course deliberately vague so that the Nazis could apply it in whatever way they wanted to.

These 9 men were likely executed for keeping some food for themselves or their family.

The law stayed in place until after the war. It was finally replaced in 1949 by the Economic Criminal Law

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Source

Bundesarchiv

 

The brutal execution of Robert-François Damiens.

damiens

Regicide is the deliberate killing of a monarch, or the person responsible for the killing of a person of royalty. Through the ages there have been a great number of regicides, the last one happened this century. In June 1,2001 the Nepalese Royal Family was allegedly massacred by Crown Prince Dipendra of Nepal.

However this blog is about a failed regicide. On On 5 January 1757 French King Louis XV was stabbed by Robert-François Damiens. The king survived the attempt possible because of the layers of clothing he was wearing, in the midst of winter.

luois xv

Guards had captured Robert-François Damiens but the King ordered him not be harmed, well at least not yet.

Damiens was jailed and was tortured in jail in order to ascertain if there were any accomplices to the assassination attempt.

On March 28,1757  Damiens was fetched from jail. He supposedly said “The day will be hard” and how right he was.

He was initially  tortured in where his legs were painfully compressed by devices called “boots”. The tortured then continued with red-hot pincers; the hand with which he had used to hold the knife during the assassination attempt was burned using sulfur. Then molten wax, molten lead, and boiling oil were poured into his wounds.

He was sentenced to death by drawing and quartering and was subsequently  brought to the royal executioner, Charles Henri Sanson, who harnessed horses to Damiens’s  arms and legs to be dismembered. Damiens’ limbs however,did not separate easily: the officiants ordered Sanson to cut Damiens’ tendons, and once that was done the horses were able to perform the dismemberment.Once Damiens was dismembered, to the applause of the crowd, his reportedly still-living torso was burnt at the stake.

sentence

Damiens was the last person  to be executed in France by drawing and quartering,

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The executions of the German invaders.

pASTORIUS

Operation Pastorius will mean not much too most people. It is one of those forgotten WWII operations. Forgotten because it was a complete failure.

Shortly after midnight on the morning of June 13, 1942, four men landed on a beach near Amagansett, Long Island, New York from a German submarine, clad in German uniforms and bringing ashore enough explosives, and other materials to support a prolonged career of 2 years in sabotaging  American defense-related production.

u-202

On June 17, 1942, a similar group landed on Ponte Vedra Beach, near Jacksonville, Florida, equipped for a similar career in industrial disruption.

8 men

Two of them, Ernst Burger and Herbert Haupt, although born in Germany had obtained American citizenship as they had lived in the US, but both had returned to Germany.

 

The others, George John Dasch, Edward John Kerling, Richard Quirin, Heinrich Harm Heinck, Hermann Otto Neubauer, and Werner Thiel, had previously worked at various jobs in the United States.Their mission was to wreak havoc but it failed.

After they arrived they buried their explosives, primers and incendiaries,  along with their uniforms, and put on civilian clothes to begin an expected two-year campaign in the sabotage of American defense-related production.

Shortly after landing Dasch was discovered in the dunes by an unarmed Coast Guardsman John C. Cullen, Dasch seized Cullen by the collar, threatened him, and then gave Cullen $260 .Cullen reported the incident to his superiors after returning to his station. The area was searched and the Coast Guard then discovered German equipment buried in the beach and reported it to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the FBI.

buried

A massive manhunt for the German agents was conducted; however, they did not know where exactly the Germans were going.

In the mean time Dasch had lost his nerve ,his resolution to be a saboteur for the Fatherland turned out to be too much for him,perhaps he figured the whole project so big as to be impractical and wanted to protect himself before some of his companions took action on similar doubts. He advised Burger his plansto confess everything.

On the evening of June 14, 1942, Dasch, giving the name “Pastorius” contacted the FBI office in New York claiming he had recently arrived from Germany, and he wanted to talk directly to the head of the FBI,  J. Edgar Hoover.

hoover

When the FBI agent was trying to figure out if he was talking to a nut case, Dasch hung up. Four days later, he took a train to Washington, D.C. and checked in at the Mayflower Hotel. Dasch walked into FBI headquarters, asked to speak with Director Hoover. He alluded to his prior call as “Pastorius” (of which Headquarters was aware) and furnished his location.He eventually spoke to Assistant Director D.M. Ladd and  was immediately taken into custody.

Besides Burger, none of the other German agents knew they were betrayed. Over the next two weeks, Burger and the other six were arrested.

Thinking that a civilian court would be too lenient on the men, President Roosevelt issued Executive Proclamation 2561 on 2 July 1942 creating a military tribunal to prosecute the Germans. Placed before a seven-member military commission, the Germans were charged with the following offenses:

1) Violating the law of war;
2) Violating Article 81 of the Articles of War, defining the offense of corresponding with or giving intelligence to the enemy;
3) Violating Article 82 of the Articles of War, defining the offense of spying; and
4) Conspiracy to commit the offenses alleged in the first three charges.

From July 8 to August 4, 1942. The trial was held in the Department of Justice Building, Washington, D.C.

All were found guilty and sentenced to death. However Roosevelt commuted Burger’s sentence to life in prison and Dasch’s to 30 years because they had turned themselves in and provided information about the others.

The remaining 6 were executed by electric chair on August 8,1942.

transport

 

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Sources

History Net

FBI

 

Michael Kitzelmann, his conscience got the better of him.

Michael Kitzelmann

It would be absurd to say that every German soldier was bad. There were some who saw what was happening and protested against it and paid the ultimate price for it.

Michael Kitzelmann had been a loyal soldier of the Wehrmacht. He was company commander at the age of  24,  and was awarded the Iron Cross,Second Class for bravery in battle. He was also a devout Catholic.  In letters to his parents and in talks with his fellow soldiers he would be critical  of war and destruction of those responsible,during Operation Barbarossa.Russland, Halbkettenfahrzeug mit Geschütz

Between January and May 1942 he was assigned  to a unit combating  partisans in Russia, where he witnessed  atrocities committed by  the Einsatzgruppen  on the Russian population and against the Jews.

Traumatized and shocked by these experiences he started to re-examine his conscience. He to detest the Nazis and openly criticize commands.

His attitude resulting from a Christian rejection of war and the Nazi leaders responsible became  apparent in his letters home and discussions with fellow soldiers.

A  comrade betrayed  him in March 1942, whilst he  was being treated for an injury in a hospital. Kitzelmann was subsequently arrested in April 1942.  On Good Friday 1942,he was  sentenced to death for undermining military force.

He  was executed  by firing squad on 11 June 1942 in Oryol prison.Before his execution, he forgave the sergeant who had betrayed him.

Orel_Tsentral-Prison_in_old

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