Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Power of One

Once upon a time there was a young man by the name of Helmuth Hubener. He was born and raised in Hamburg Germany by his mother and step father. He was a happy young man. He came from an apolitical family, was a devoted boy scout and was, as was 2 previous generations, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, in 1935 the Nazi party banned scouting in Germany and required all youth to join Hitler Youth. Not so slowly Helmuth became dissatisfied with the direction things were moving. His new church leader, a convert of only 2 years, instituted a new policy banning Jews from attending his church services. Helmuth strongly disagreed with this new policy but continued to attend his meetings. (there were 2000 members of the church in Hamburg and only 7 were pro-Nazi, but 5 of those happened to be in his congregation) After Helmuth completed Middle school in 1941 he began an apprenticeship at the Hamburg Social authority. During this time in his life, Helmuth began to make friends. Friends with varying backgrounds, and they began to listen to enemy broadcasts-which at the time was a form of treason. that summer he found a short-wave radio in his own hallway closet and began to listen to the BBC on his own. From these broadcasts, Helmuth began to write anti-war leaflets and anti-fascist texts which he printed many copies of. These pamphlets were designed to show how skewed the local war reports were and to point out Hitler and other Nazi leaders criminal behavior.

In the fall of 1941, Hubener managed to involve two other friends. Karl-Heinz Schnibbe and Ruddi Wobee, who were both members of his faith. Together they distributed about 60 different pamphlets with typewritten information from the British broadcasts. They would pin them to bulletin boards and shove them in mailboxes and coat pockets. Anywhere they could put them without drawing too much attention.

In February of 1942, Helmuth decided to have his pamphlet translated into french and distributed to POW's but he was found out and denounced by a co-worker who had noticed his actions. He was arrested by the Gestapo and even though he was only 17 he was tried as an adult. He confessed fully to all charges and took the blame for his actions. Thus protecting his friends who had also been arrested. His friends were sentenced to 5-10 years imprisonment. Helmuth however, was sentenced to death by beheading and stripped of all civil rights. This allowed him to be mistreated while imprisoned allowing him to be beaten and deprived of any kind of bedding or blankets. He was not told of his sentence until the day it was to be carried out. He was executed on October 27, 1942

The day of his execution, Hübener wrote to a fellow branch member, "I know that God lives and He will be the Just Judge in this matter... I look forward to seeing you in a better world!"— from a letter written by Hübener, the only one believed to still exist

How is this a happily ever after? Because he was right. God will be a just judge in this matter. Yes his life was ended early but what a life?! He didn't single handedly end the war but he did what he could to better educate the people around him. He was a hero. Using his knowledge to prevent his friend and family from being led astray by false reports. Not many 17 year old's today would even care let alone sacrifice their life. I look forward to meeting him in that better world!

(this is the condensed version. For full story please watch the documentary "Truth and Conviction")

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