1878: Bill Longley, gunslinger 1864: Ranger A.C. Willis, parabolically

1943: Willi Graf, anti-Nazi medic

October 12th, 2011 Headsman

On this date in 1943, anti-Nazi student activist Willi Graf was beheaded at Munich’s Stadelheim Prison.

Graf was a conscientious Catholic whose disaffinity for Naziism manifested in an early refusal to join the Hitler Youth: he did a short stint in prison in 1938 for having continued associating with a banned Catholic youth league.

This subversive fellow might have been destined for the chop regardless in the black years to come, but for a thoroughgoing radicalization, he was drafted into the army as a medic and got a front-row seat on the Holocaust and the horrors of the eastern front.

During a 1942 study leave back in Munich, Graf met White Rose resistance figures Hans and Sophie Scholl and began participating in that circle’s distribution of illicit anti-Nazi leaflets.

He was arrested within months and condemned on April 19, 1943 to die as a traitor — though actual execution of the sentence waited several months on the Gestapo’s vain exertions to extract from their prey actionable information on other collaborators.

A number of schools around Germany are named in Graf’s honor.

Also on this date

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Activists,Beheaded,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Doctors,Execution,Germany,Guillotine,History,Martyrs,Soldiers,Torture,Treason,Wartime Executions

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One thought on “1943: Willi Graf, anti-Nazi medic”

  1. Maurice H says:

    I never heard of this wonderful man until today, as you don’t hear much about anti-Nazis. There were not many, but this man was as good as any, so please sir, do rest in peace!

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