Kurt Huber

Kurt Huber (24 October 1893 – 13 July 1943) was a university professor and resistance fighter with the anti-Nazi group White Rose. For his involvement he was imprisoned and guillotined.

Kurt Huber
Bundesarchiv Bild 146II-744, Kurt Huber
Born24 October 1893
Chur, Switzerland
Died13 July 1943 (aged 49)
Munich, Germany
OccupationProfessor at the University of Munich
Known forWhite Rose movement

Early life

Bild Chur Geburtshaus Kurt Huber
Huber's birthplace in Chur

Huber was born in Chur, Switzerland, to German parents. He grew up in Stuttgart and later, after his father's death, in Munich. He showed an aptitude for such subjects as music, philosophy and psychology. Huber became a professor of Psychology and Music in 1926 at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.


Huber was appalled by the rise of the National Socialist German Workers Party and decided that Hitler and his government had to be removed from power. He came into contact with the White Rose movement through some students who attended his lectures, Hans Scholl and Alexander Schmorell.

Huber wrote the White Rose's sixth and final leaflet calling for an end to National Socialism.

Trial and execution

Huber's political activities came to the attention of the Gestapo and he was arrested on 27 February 1943. By coincidence, composer Carl Orff called at Huber’s house the day after he was taken. Huber’s wife begged him to use his influence to help her husband. But Orff told her that if his friendship with Huber was ever discovered he would be “ruined.” Orff left; Huber’s wife never saw him again. Later, wracked by guilt, Orff would write a letter to his late friend Huber imploring him for forgiveness.[1][2] Orff's Die Bernauerin, a project which he completed in 1946 and which he had discussed with Huber before the latter's execution, is dedicated to Huber's memory. The final scene of this work, which is about the wrongful execution of Agnes Bernauer, depicts a guilt-ridden chorus begging not to be implicated in the title character's death.

Huber was brought before the People's Court on 19 April. In a brief show trial, Chief Justice Roland Freisler subjected Huber to a humiliating verbal attack (see the exchange quoted in the Josef Wirmer article). He was sentenced to death for insurrection.

On 13 July Huber was executed by guillotine at Munich's Stadelheim Prison, along with Alexander Schmorell. The university had stripped Huber of his position and his doctorate at the time of his arrest.

Attempts to take up a collection for Huber's widow Clara only brought about more trouble and eventually led to Hans Leipelt's arrest and execution.


The square opposite from the main building of the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich was named "Professor Huber Platz" in his remembrance.

Huber is also known for a biography of Gottfried Leibniz which he completed while in prison.

After the war, a memorial volume with contributions from his friends and colleagues, including the 1946 letter from Carl Orff, was published by his widow.[3]


  1. ^ The Sunday Times (subscription required).
  2. ^ Duchen, Jessica (4 December 2008). "Dark heart of a masterpiece: Carmina Burana's famous chorus hides a murky Nazi past" (PDF). The Independent.
  3. ^ Huber, Clara, ed. (1947). Kurt Huber zum Gedächtnis, Bildnis eines Menschen, Denkers und Forschers, dargestellt von seinen Freunden (in German). Regensburg: Josef Habbel.

External links

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Carl Orff

Carl Heinrich Maria Orff (German: [ˈɔɐ̯f]; (1895-07-10)10 July 1895 – (1982-03-29)29 March 1982) was a German composer and music educator, best known for his cantata Carmina Burana (1937). The concepts of his Schulwerk were influential for children's music education.

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Hildegard Rütgers

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She began her training with Hermann Weißenborn in Berlin, then studied for a brief time in Italy and then studied with Hilde Wesselmann at the Folkwangschule in Essen. At the university level, she took courses in music science at both the University of Cologne and the Free University of Berlin.Rütgers joined the Städtische Oper Berlin as a contralto from 1957 to 1959, specializing also in oratorio performances, and then worked with the Hamburg State Opera and at the Opera house of Essen until 1963. Between 1963 and 1965 she performed at the Salzburg Festival, the part of Die Vertraute (Her confidante) in a production of Elektra by Richard Strauss, conducted by Herbert von Karajan, alongside Astrid Varnay in the title role, and Martha Mödl, Hildegard Hillebrecht, James King and Eberhard Waechter in leading parts. The production of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte at the Salzburg Festival, with Rütgers as the Third Boy, was filmed and released as a made-for-television-movie in 1964. She appeared alongside Walter Kreppel as Sarastro, Roberta Peters as the Queen of the Night, Pilar Lorengar and Waldemar Kmentt as Pamina and Tamino, and Renate Holm and Walter Berry as Papagena and Papageno, in the production staged by Otto Schenk and conducted by Istvan Kertesz.In 1965, Rütgers toured North America and performed works by Handel and Bach. She recorded the first version of Bach's Magnificat with Helmuth Rilling in 1967.In the 1970s, she no longer accepted long engagements but selected individual appearances. She performed in 1974 in Anton Bruckner's Mass No. 3 and Te Deum with the choir Philharmonischer Chor Schwäbisch Gmünd, featuring Günter Reich, Kari Løvaas and Kurt Huber with the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra.



Huber is a surname of German language origin. It derives from the German word Hube meaning hide, a unit of land a farmer might possess. It is in the top ten most common surnames in the German-speaking world, especially in Austria and Switzerland where it is the surname of approximately 0.3% of the population.

Variants arising from varying dialectal pronunciation of the surname include Hueber, Huemer, Humer, Haumer, Huebmer and (anglicized) Hoover.

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Marie-Luise Jahn

Marie-Luise Jahn (28 May 1918 – 22 June 2010) was a German physician and a member of the anti-Nazi resistance movement White Rose.

Jahn was born in Sandlack, East Prussia (today Sędławki, Poland), where she grew up. From 1934 to 1937 she attended school in Berlin and began her studies in chemistry at the University of Munich in 1940. There Jahn became a close friend of Hans Conrad Leipelt and a member of the White Rose resistance group. After Hans and Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst

had been imprisoned she continued to publish the Scholl leaflets and collected money to aid the widow of Kurt Huber. In October 1943 she was also arrested by the Gestapo and sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment by the Volksgerichtshof in 1944.After her liberation she studied medicine at the University of Tübingen and worked as a physician in Bad Tölz. In 1987 she was a founding member of the White Rose Foundation and member of the executive board until 2002.She died on 22 June 2010 in Bad Tölz.

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Stadelheim Prison

Stadelheim Prison (German: Justizvollzugsanstalt München), in Munich's Giesing district, is one of the largest prisons in Germany.

Founded in 1894, it was the site of many executions, particularly by guillotine during the Nazi period.

Traute Lafrenz

Traute Lafrenz (born May 3, 1919) is a German-American physician and anthroposophist, who was a member of the White Rose anti-Nazi group during World War II.She was born in Hamburg. Together with Heinz Kucharski, Lafrenz studied under Erna Stahl at the Lichtwark-Gymnasium, a liberal arts school in Hamburg. When coeducation was abolished in 1937, Lafrenz moved to a convent school, where she and classmate Margaretha Rothe graduated in Easter 1938. Together with Rothe, Lafrenz began to study medicine at the University of Hamburg in the summer semester of 1939. After the semester she worked in Pomerania, where she met Alexander Schmorell who had begun studying in the summer of 1939 at the Hamburg University's Medical School but continued his studies from 1939/40 in Munich.

In May 1941 Lafrenz moved to Munich to study there, where she got to know Hans Scholl and Christoph Probst. In her opposition to the Nazi regime, she found inspiration in the writings of Rudolf Steiner. She attended many talks and discussions of the White Rose group, including those with Kurt Huber. In late 1942 she brought the third White Rose flyer to Hamburg and redistributed them via her former classmate Heinz Kucharski. When on 18 February 1943 Hans and Sophie Scholl were arrested in Munich University, Traute Lafrenz also was put under investigation by the Gestapo. She was arrested shortly afterwards on 15 March, together with Alexander Schmorell and Kurt Huber and sentenced to one year in prison on 19 April 1943. During her interrogation by the Gestapo Lafrenz succeeded in disguising the full extent of her involvement in the leaflet distribution. After her release she was arrested again by the Gestapo and imprisoned again.In 1947 she emigrated to the United States, completing her medical studies at Saint Joseph's Hospital in San Francisco, California. After moving to Chicago, she served from 1972 to 1994 as head of Esperanza School, a private, therapeutic day school serving students with developmental disabilities between the ages of 5 and 21. She has been involved in the anthroposophical movement in the United States for more than half a century. She is now retired and lives on Yonges Island near Meggett, South Carolina.

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White Rose

The White Rose (German: die Weiße Rose) was a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in the Third Reich led by a group of students and a professor at the University of Munich. The group conducted an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign that called for active opposition to the Nazi party regime. Their activities started in Munich on 27 June 1942, and ended with the arrest of the core group by the Gestapo on 18 February 1943. They, as well as other members and supporters of the group who carried on distributing the pamphlets, faced show trials by the Nazi People's Court (Volksgerichtshof), and many of them were sentenced to death or imprisonment.

The group wrote, printed and initially distributed their pamphlets in the greater Munich region. Later on, secret carriers brought copies to other cities, mostly in the southern parts of Germany. In total, the White Rose authored six leaflets, which were multiplied and spread, in a total of about 15,000 copies. They denounced the Nazi regime's crimes and oppression, and called for resistance. In their second leaflet, they openly denounced the persecution and mass murder of the Jews. By the time of their arrest, the members of the White Rose were just about to establish contacts with other German resistance groups like the Kreisau Circle or the Schulze-Boysen/Harnack group of the Red Orchestra. Today, the White Rose is well-known both within Germany and worldwide.

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