Skip to content

Helmuth Hübener

January 08, 1925 - October 27, 1942
Helmuth Hübener Helmuth Hübener 

Helmuth Hübener was born in Hamburg; his mother was a wage-worker who raised him on her own. He was decisively influenced by the religious movement The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). In 1941 he began a training course at the Hamburg Social Welfare Authority. At the same time he helped out as voluntary secretary to the Chairman of the Mormon Community. In 1940-41 he came into contact with an illegal Young Communist Group in Altona, a district of Hamburg. He listened regularly to foreign radio stations and scattered leaflets containing important items of news. In the summer of 1941 Hübener persuaded other like-minded young people to join him in opposition: Rudolf Wobbe, a 16-year-old journeyman locksmith and Karl-Heinz Schnibbe, a 17-year-old apprentice house painter. They were joined somewhat later by Gerhard Düwer, a 17-year-old administrative trainee. Hübener and his friends discussed numerous leaflets and distributed them in working-class areas in Hamburg. Their aim was to correct the lies in the National Socialist Wehrmacht reports and news broadcasts. In the winter of 1941 Hübener and his circle of friends already foresaw the military defeat of the German forces. They decided that it was not enough to scatter leaflets with short slogans calling on people to struggle against the National Socialist regime; they wanted to inform people how serious the situation was. Hübener developed ideas for more than 20 leaflets in six months. At the end of January 1942, Düwer and Hübener asked an acquaintance to translate the leaflets into French. They were seen while doing this and denounced to the police. The Gestapo arrested them on February 5, 1942. A few days later the Gestapo arrested Schnibbe and Wobbe as well. The young men were severely maltreated in custody. They were tried on August 11, 1942 before the People’s Court in Berlin. Despite his youth, 17-year-old Helmuth Hübener was sentenced to death and murdered on October 27, 1942 in Berlin-Plötzensee. His three friends received long prison sentences, but survived the war.