Hübener, Helmuth Günther Guddat, born 08-01-1925, in Hamburg, Weimar Republic, Germany, came from an apolitical, religious family in Hamburg, Germany. His mother was a wage-worker who raised him on her own. He belonged to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) (Mormons), as did his mother and grandparents. His adoptive father, Hugo, a Nazi sympathizer, gave him the name Hübener.
Since early childhood, Hübener had been a member of the Boy Scouts, an organization strongly supported by the LDS Church, but in 1935 the National Socialists banned scouting from Germany. He then joined the Hitler Youth, as required by the government, but quit after the Kristallnacht in 1938, when the Nazis, including the Hitler Youth, destroyed Jewish businesses, homes and synagoguen and Jewish people. More recent studies, however, put the number at more than 400 Jews killed or driven to suicide between November 7 and 13. If we add to this the number of deaths in the concentration camp Dachau, where approximately 30,000 Jewish younger and healthy men were imprisoned immediately after November 10, the number is more than 1,400.
When one of the leaders in his local congregation, a new convert of under two years, undertook to ban Jews from attending its religious services, Hübener found himself at odds with the new policy, but continued to attend services with like-minded friends as the Latter-day Saints locally debated the issue. His friend and fellow resistance fighter Rudolf “Rudi” Wobbe later reported that of the 2,000 Latter-day Saints in the Hamburg area, only seven were pro-Nazi, but five of them happened to be in his and Hübener’s St. Georg Branch (congregation), thus stirring controversy with the majority who were non- or anti-Nazis.
After Hübener finished middle school in 1941, he began an apprenticeship in administration at the Hamburg Social Authority (Sozialbehörde). He met other apprentices there, one of whom, Gerhard Düwer, he would later recruit into his resistance movement. At a bathhouse, he met new friends, one of whom had a communist family background and, as a result, he began listening to enemy radio broadcasts. Listening to foreign media was at the time strictly forbidden in Nazi Germany, being considered a form of treason. In the summer of that same year, Hübener discovered his older half-brother Gerhard’s shortwave radio in a hallway closet. It had been given to Gerhard earlier that year by a soldier returning from service in France. Helmuth began listening to the BBC on his own, and he used what he heard to compose various anti-National Socialist texts and anti-war leaflets, of which he also made many copies. The leaflets were designed to bring to people’s attention how skewed the official reports about World War II from Berlin were, as well as to point out Adolf Hitler‘s, Joseph Goebbels‘, and other leading Nazis’ criminal behaviour. Other themes covered by Hübener’s writings were the war’s futility and Germany’s looming defeat. He also mentioned the mistreatment sometimes meted out in the Hitler Youth.
In one of his pamphlets, for example, he wrote:
“German boys! Do you know the country without freedom, the country of terror and tyranny? Yes, you know it well, but are afraid to talk about it. They have intimidated you to such an extent that you don’t dare talk for fear of reprisals. Yes you are right; it is Germany – Hitler Germany! Through their unscrupulous terror tactics against young and old, men and women, they have succeeded in making you spineless puppets to do their bidding.”
In late 1941, his listening involved three friends: Karl-Heinz Schnibbe and Rudi Wobbe, both of whom were fellow Latter-day Saints, and later Gerhard Düwer. Hübener had them help him distribute about 60 different pamphlets, all containing typewritten material from the British broadcasts. They distributed them throughout Hamburg, using such methods as surreptitiously pinning them on bulletin boards, inserting them into letterboxes, and stuffing them in coat pockets.
Death and burial ground of Hübener, Helmuth Günther Guddat.
On 05-02-1942, Hübener was arrested by the Gestapo at his workplace, the Hamburg Social Authority in the Bieberhaus in Hamburg. While trying to translate the pamphlets into French and have them distributed among prisoners of war, he had been noticed by co-worker and Nazi Party member Heinrich Mohn, who denounced him.
On 11-08-1942, aged 17, Hübener was tried as an adult by the Special People’s Court (Volksgerichtshof) in Berlin, under jurist Roland Freisler, which had jurisdiction over matters of treason
. Hübener was sentenced to death. After the sentence was read, Hübener faced the judges and said: “Now I must die, even though I have committed no crime. So now it’s my turn, but your turn will come.” He hoped his confrontational tactics would focus the judge’s wrath on him and spare his companions.
On 27-10-1942, the proclamation from the Special People’s Court (Volksgerichtshof), announces Hübener’s execution.
As stated in the proclamation, Hübener was found guilty of conspiracy to commit high treason and treasonous furthering of the enemy’s cause. He was sentenced not ar more developed mind than was usually to be found in someone of his age. For this reason, the court stated, Hübener was to be punished as an adult.
Hübener’s lawyers, his mother, and the Berlin Gestapo appealed for clemency in his case, hoping to have his sentence commuted to life imprisonment. In their eyes, the fact that Hübener had confessed fully and shown himself to be still morally uncorrupted were points in his favour. The Reich Youth Leadership (Reichsjugendführung) disagreed, however, and stated that the danger posed by Hübener’s activities to the German people’s war effort made the death penalty necessary. On 27-10-1942, the Nazi Ministry of Justice upheld the Special People’s Court verdict. Hübener was only told of the Ministry’s decision at 1:05 PM on the scheduled day of execution.
On 27 October, at 8:13 PM, he was beheaded by guillotine in the execution room at Plötzensee Prison in Berlin. His two friends, Rudolf “Rudi” Wobbe and Karl-Heinz Schnibbe,
who had also been arrested, were given prison sentences of five and ten years respectively. Rudi Wobbe died on 31-01-1992, age 65, from cancer in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. and Karl Schnibbe died from Parkinson’s disease in a care facility on 09-05-2010, aged 86, in Holladay, Utah, United States
Helmuth Hübener is buried at the Plötzensee prison cemetery in an anonymous grave, like all Hitler Nazi victims.