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Karl-Heinz Schnibbe (born 1924) is a former World War II resistance group member who, as a 17-year-old growing up in Nazi Germany in 1941, was an accomplice in a plan by three German teenagers to inform the citizens of Germany of the evils of the Nazi regime during World War II. Led by 16-year-old Helmuth Hübener, the three boys were eventually caught by the Gestapomarker and, after repeated beatings, were convicted and sentenced. Hübener was executed, the youngest person to be sentenced to death for opposing the Third Reich, and Schnibbe was sentenced to five years in a labor camp.

Early life

Schnibbe joined the Hitler Youth at the age of twelve. He joined against the wishes of his father, and was sworn in on April 20, 1936 (Hitler's birthday). At first, he was entranced by the campfires and parades that the Hitler Youth got to participate in. However, in later years he grew weary of the constant pressure and conformity, and started to miss the Hitler Youth meetings. He was expelled from the organization for punching his youth leader in the face. He was relieved that he had finally gotten out of the group's clutches, but he later became active in resistance during World War II in 1941.

Resistance activities

Schnibbe and his friend Helmuth Hübener often listened to the German-language broadcast of the BBC on Hübener's shortwave radio.Listening to radio stations not approved by the Nazis was illegal, but they were both intrigued by the differences in information that the legal German stations reported and the British newscasts. They both concluded that the German stations were spouting propaganda and withholding the real information from German citizens. Hübener decided that he had to do something about this, to inform the public that the Nazi Government was lying to them. He began typing up articles critical of the government and Hitler. Though originally apprehensive of his friend's work, Schnibbe began helping Hübener's cause, along with 15-year-old Rudolf Wobbe, the third member of the teenage group, and started distributing flyers throughout the city of Hamburg. He constantly was on the lookout for the numerous Nazi informants that lurked in the city. The boys agreed that if one of them was captured, that boy would take full responsibility for the work and protect the other two. They distributed flyers for several months, putting them in mail boxes and dropping them in public places. The Gestapomarker began an investigation to find the authors, and they found out that Hübener was involved. They arrested him, and after days of torture and interrogation, he told them of his accomplices. However, Hübener said that he was the mastermind and only gave the flyers to them, and took all of the blame. This spared the lives of the two other boys from the death penalty, and Schnibbe only received 5 years in jail, while Hübener was executed.

After the war

Near the end of World War II, advancing Sovietmarker troops overran the labor camp where Schnibbe was imprisoned, and held him as a prisoner of war for four years. He eventually made his way to the United States. In 1985, Schnibbe was honored by the German government as a resistance fighter, a year after he wrote a book about his experience, The Price: The True Story of a Mormon Who Defied Hitler. Schnibbe now lives in Salt Lake City, Utahmarker at age 84.

See also


Notes and references

  • Bartoletti, Susan "Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow" 113-117, Scholastic, April 2005

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