Friday, September 25, 2009

Truth & Conviction: The Helmuth Hubener Story (2002)

Helmuth Hubener was a teenaged German Latter-day Saint from Hamburg, who with the assistance of two fellow young Mormons from his branch, was a surprisingly accomplished anti-Nazi pamphleteer. Though once an apparently contended Hitler Youth, Hubener became convinced of the evils of Naziism by observing their treatment of the Jews and listening to forbidden British radio broadcasts. Recruiting two of his friends to assist him, Hubener composed dozens of anti-Nazi pamphlets which they distributed in fair numbers throughout the Hamburg area. Hubener and his friends were eventually captured by the Nazi’s and Hubener executed, though his compatriots lived to tell his tale.

I admit to being somewhat ill disposed to this story at first, feeling Hubener's tale to have been overplayed within LDS circles in recent years. I can’t help but feel hyping Hubeners story is a way some Latter-day Saints have come to retroactively insert themselves, and their faith into the understandably popular historical narrative of anti-Nazi resistance (in other words, we want in on the righteous indignation too). Truth is most of the relatively small group of Mormons in Germany at that time, like their fellow country men, made no active attempts to resist the Nazi movement. Also some Mormons were Nazi’s themselves, and I’m glade that this documentary addressed that issue. This being said I found Helmuth’s story more interesting that I thought I would, and found him to be a truly impressive individual who showed an unusual amount of courage and conviction, especially given his age. Helmuth’s is not a story of a particularly ‘Mormon’ kind of resistance, but rather of a kind of courage that sets apart valiant individuals from all backgrounds and creeds. Grade: B.

Soon to be a 'major motion picture' with Haley Joel Osment.