Mormon who defied Nazis passes away in SLC

by | May 11, 2010

Mormons We Know

Karl-Heinz Schnibbe was one of three Mormon teenagers who risked their lives in Hitler’s Germany to stand up to the Nazis, whom the boys called the "Battalion of the Damned.”

Schnibbe could have been sentenced to death when he stood in front of the Volksgerichtshof, the Nazis' blood tribunal. Or he could have died in the camps, where he endured abhorrent conditions and emerged, in 1949, with his 95 pounds stretched thin across his 6 feet and 2 inches.

Schnibbe died Sunday in a Salt Lake-area care facility, the last of the trio who fought Hitler’s propaganda with leaflets filled with truth. Schnibbe finally succumbed to the effects of Parkinson’s. He was 86.

"Karl always said, 'I'm not a hero,' " his wife, Joan Schnibbe, said Monday. "But he knew how dangerous it was. I always thought it was really pretty daring and brave."

As an 18-year-old in Hamburg, Schnibbe distributed the pamphlets written by Helmuth Hübener, a teenage friend who secretly listened to BBC wartime broadcasts on his radio and used the information to battle Nazi propaganda.

Schnibbe and friend Rudi Wobbe slipped the leaflets into phone booths and coat pockets in hopes of spreading truth throughout the city.

The Hübener Group was arrested, tried and convicted in 1942.

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