Kurt Huber

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Kurt Huber
Bundesarchiv Bild 146II-744, Kurt Huber.jpg
Born(1893-10-24)24 October 1893
Died13 July 1943(1943-07-13) (aged 49)
OccupationProfessor at the University of Munich
Known forWhite Rose movement

Kurt Huber (24 October 1893 – 13 July 1943) was a university professor and resistance fighter with the anti-Nazi group White Rose. For his involvement he was imprisoned and guillotined.

Early life[edit]

Huber's birthplace in Chur

Huber was born in Chur, Switzerland, to German parents. He was raised in Stuttgart and later, after his father's death, in Munich. He showed an aptitude for such subjects as music, philosophy and psychology. Huber became a professor of Psychology and Music in 1926 at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.


Huber was appalled by the rise of the Nazi Party and decided that Adolf Hitler and his government had to be removed from power. He came into contact with the White Rose movement through some students who attended his lectures, Hans Scholl and Alexander Schmorell. Huber wrote the White Rose's sixth and final leaflet calling for an end to National Socialism.


Huber's political activities came to the attention of the Gestapo and he was arrested on 27 February 1943. By coincidence, composer Carl Orff called at Huber’s house the day after he was taken. Huber’s wife begged him to use his influence to help her husband. But Orff told her that if his friendship with Huber was ever discovered he would be “ruined.” Orff left; Huber’s wife never saw him again. Later, wracked by guilt, Orff would write a letter to his late friend Huber imploring him for forgiveness.[1][2] Orff's Die Bernauerin, a project which he completed in 1946 and which he had discussed with Huber before the latter's execution, is dedicated to Huber's memory. The final scene of this work, which is about the wrongful execution of Agnes Bernauer, depicts a guilt-ridden chorus begging not to be implicated in the title character's death.

Trial and execution[edit]

Huber was brought before the People's Court on 19 April. In a brief show trial, Chief Justice Roland Freisler subjected Huber to a humiliating verbal attack.[citation needed] He was sentenced to death for insurrection. On 13 July, he was executed by guillotine at Munich's Stadelheim Prison, along with Alexander Schmorell. The university had stripped Huber of his position and his doctorate at the time of his arrest. Attempts to take up a collection for Huber's widow Clara eventually led to Hans Leipelt's arrest and execution.[citation needed]


The square opposite from the main building of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich was named Professor Huber Platz in his remembrance. Huber wrote a biography of Gottfried Leibniz which he completed while in prison and which was published in 1951 edited by his wife and pupil.[3][clarification needed] After the war, a memorial volume with contributions from his friends and colleagues, including the 1946 letter from Carl Orff, was published by his widow.[4]


  1. ^ The Sunday Times (subscription required).
  2. ^ Duchen, Jessica (4 December 2008). "Dark heart of a masterpiece: Carmina Burana's famous chorus hides a murky Nazi past" (PDF). The Independent.
  3. ^ Leibniz : der Philosoph der universalen Harmonie (Book, 1989) [WorldCat.org]. OCLC 24876923.
  4. ^ Huber, Clara, ed. (1947). Kurt Huber zum Gedächtnis, Bildnis eines Menschen, Denkers und Forschers, dargestellt von seinen Freunden (in German). Regensburg: Josef Habbel.

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