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Stefan Hampel

November 23, 1918 - August 04, 1998
Stefan Hampel Stefan Hampel 

Stefan Hampel was born in Vilnius in November 1918. After finishing his schooling, he completed labor service in 1934 and was a student at the Higher Institute of Politics in Berlin for a brief period in 1938. He was arrested in East Prussia in May 1939 for making critical statements. After a year in pretrial detention, he was released and drafted into the Wehrmacht in the fall of 1940. In May 1942, Hampel wanted to visit his mother in Grodno (Hrodna), but found that she had been deported along with her relatives and her property had been confiscated, on the orders of the Soviet administration. Shortly afterwards, he witnessed mass shootings of Jews by police and SS units, moving him to desert from the army. Hampel burned his uniform in Grodno and joined a Polish resistance group in Lithuania. He was the only German in the group, helping victims of persecution. The organization saved the lives of several inhabitants of Jewish ghettos and escaped Soviet prisoners of war. After almost a year of living underground, Hampel left Lithuania to inform the International Red Cross in Switzerland of the crimes against the Jewish population in the East on behalf of the resistance group. However, he was arrested in Freiburg. He initially attempted to conceal his true identity, claiming to be a Lithuanian worker. Hampel was held in the Wehrmacht remand prison in Berlin from July 1943, and was sentenced to death for desertion on August 11, 1943. His sentence was unexpectedly reduced to 15 years in a penal institution at the end of August. Only by chance did Stefan Hampel survive the rest of the war, after months in Börgermoor penal camp, Torgau-Fort Zinna Wehrmacht prison, and the “500th Probation Battalion.”

18 Resistance during Wartime Life