Karl-Heinz Schnibbe

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Karl-Heinz Schnibbe
The "Hübener Group", organized by Helmuth Hübner, who printed and distributed anti-Nazi leaflets in Hamburg in the early 1940s (Right: Karl-Heinz Schnibbe)
The "Hübener Group", organized by Helmuth Hübner, who printed and distributed anti-Nazi leaflets in Hamburg in the early 1940s (Right: Karl-Heinz Schnibbe)
Born(1924-01-05)January 5, 1924
Hamburg, Germany
DiedMay 9, 2010(2010-05-09) (aged 86)
Holladay, Utah, United States
NationalityGerman, American
Notable worksThe Price (autobiography),
When Truth Was Treason: German Youth Against Hitler:The Story of the Helmuth Hubener Group (memoir).

Karl-Heinz Schnibbe (January 5, 1924 – May 9, 2010) was a former World War II resistance group member who, as a 17-year-old growing up in Nazi Germany in 1941, was an accomplice in a plan by three German teenagers, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), to distribute information to the citizens of Germany on the evils of the Nazi regime during World War II.[1] Led by 16-year-old Helmuth Hübener, the three boys created, posted and distributed cards and pamphlets denouncing Hitler and the Nazi party. They were eventually caught by the Gestapo and, after repeated beatings, were convicted and sentenced. Hübener was executed, the youngest person to be sentenced to death for opposing the Third Reich, and Schnibbe was sentenced to five years in a labor camp.[2] After the war and his release from a Soviet POW camp, Schnibbe emigrated to the United States in 1952, living in the Salt Lake City, Utah area until his death on May 9, 2010.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Schnibbe joined the Hitler Youth at the age of twelve, against the wishes of his father, and was sworn in on April 20, 1936 (Hitler's birthday). At first, he was entranced by the campfires and parades that the Hitler Youth participated in, but eventually grew weary of the constant pressure and conformity. He was expelled from the organization for punching his youth leader in the face, and was relieved that he had finally gotten out of the group's clutches. He later became active in resistance during World War II in 1941.

Resistance activities[edit]

Schnibbe and his friend Helmuth Hübener often listened to the German-language broadcast of the BBC on Hübener's shortwave radio.[5] Listening to radio stations not approved by the Nazis was illegal, but they were both intrigued by the differences in information that the legal German stations reported and the British newscasts. They both concluded that the German stations were spouting propaganda and withholding the real information from German citizens. Hübener decided that he had to do something about this, to inform the public that the Nazi Government was lying to them. He began typing up articles critical of the government and Hitler. Though originally apprehensive of his friend's work, Schnibbe began helping Hübener's cause, along with 15-year-old Rudolf Wobbe, the third member of the teenage group, and started distributing flyers throughout the city of Hamburg.[2][5] He constantly was on the lookout for the numerous Nazi informants that lurked in the city. The boys agreed that if one of them was captured, that boy would take full responsibility for the work and protect the other two. They distributed flyers for several months, putting them in mail boxes and dropping them in public places. The Gestapo began an investigation to find the authors, and they found out that Hübener was involved. They arrested him, and after days of torture and interrogation, he told them of his accomplices. However, Hübener said that he was the mastermind and only gave the flyers to them, and took all of the blame. This spared the lives of the two other boys from the death penalty, and Schnibbe only received five years imprisonment, while Hübener was executed by beheading.[5]

After the war[edit]

Near the end of World War II, advancing Soviet troops overran the labor camp where Schnibbe was imprisoned, and held him in a prisoner of war labour camp for four years.[5][6] He eventually emigrated to the United States and lived in the Salt Lake City, Utah area.[1][5] In 1985, Schnibbe was honored by the German government as a resistance fighter, a year after he wrote a book about his experience, The Price: The True Story of a Mormon Who Defied Hitler.[1][7] Later, in 1995, that book was substantially revised by Schnibbe himself, as well as co-authors Alan F. Keele and Blair R. Holmes, in a book entitled When Truth Was Treason, (University of Illinois Press and Academic Research Foundation/Stratford Books of Provo, Utah). Schnibbe died from Parkinson's disease in a care facility in Holladay, Utah on May 9, 2010.[3][4][8]

Media[edit]

The story of Schnibbe and his youthful comrades was documented in the 2003 film Truth & Conviction, written and directed by Rick McFarland and Matt Whitaker. The film was later released on DVD.

HUBENER, a motion picture based on the Hübener Group, is being produced by Russ Kendall, Micah Merrill, and Matt Whitaker of Kaleidoscope Pictures. Whitaker will also direct the film. The script was written by Ethan Vincent and Whitaker.

Resistance Movement, an independent film (2012).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Film Tells Anti-Nazi Mormon's Story". Salt Lake Tribune. 2003-01-11. Archived from the original on 2003-01-22. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
  2. ^ a b Brian R. Holmes and Alan F. Keele (1995). When truth was treason: German youth against Hitler. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois. ISBN 0-252-06498-4.
  3. ^ a b Mikita, Carole (May 11, 2010). "Latter-day Saint who defied Nazis dies in Utah". KSL-TV. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
  4. ^ a b Falk, Aaron (May 11, 2010). "German Mormon Karl-Heinz Schnibbe, who resisted Nazis with teenage friends, dies in Salt Lake City at 86". Deseret News. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
  5. ^ a b c d e Matt Whitaker (2003). Truth & Conviction (DVD). Covenant Communications. UPC-A 796795415296.
  6. ^ Keri Adams (2004-02-09). "SLC resident proud of opposing Nazis". Brigham Young University. Archived from the original on 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2008-04-05.
  7. ^ Karl-Heinz Schnibbe, with Alan F. Keele and Douglas F. Tobler (1984). The Price: The True Story of a Mormon Who Defied Hitler. Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft.
  8. ^ "Der letzte Überlebende der Jugendwiderstandsgruppe um Helmuth Hübener verstarb in den USA". Vereinigung der Verfolgten des Naziregimes – Bund der Antifaschistinnen und Antifaschisten (in German). VVN-BdA NRW. Retrieved 2010-05-12.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bartoletti, Susan "Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow" 113-117, Scholastic, April 2005