Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pop History Moment: The Execution of Helmuth Hübener

At 8:13 PM on this day in 1942 Helmuth Hübener - the youngest opponent of the Third Reich to be formally executed* - was beheaded by guillotine at Berlin's Plötzensee Prison following a brief show trial at the Volksgerichtshof on August 11th; he was just 17.

PhotobucketHübener and his school chums had been involved in the printing of pamphlets - in fact, as many as 60 different titles - which were eloquently critical of Nazi Germany and the atrocities they'd been committing. The intrepid group (including Karl-Heinz Schnibbe, Rudolf Wobbe, and Gerhard Düwer) had also been guilty of monitoring Allied radio broadcasts, which gave an altogether more accurate rendition of the progress of the war in Europe than that being spun by Joseph Goebbels and the Axis propaganda machine.

Hübener's story is not widely known even in Germany - at least not outside his hometown of Hamburg - although it's captivated our imagination here at the Pop Culture Institute something fierce... There's even been talk of his short, courageous life being made into a movie, starring Haley Joel Osment; Hübener's posthumous legacy already includes two books by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, including the 2008 novel The Boy Who Dared and 2005's Newbery Honor book, Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow.

*As opposed to an untold number who were merely herded into gas chambers...
share on: facebook

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

one of the most touching stories i've read. it's a heartbreaking, but very rewarding story.