Otto and Elise Hampel were a working class German couple who created a simple method of protest against Nazism in Berlin during the middle years of World War II. They wrote postcards denouncing Hitler's government and left them in public places around the city. They were eventually caught, tried, and beheaded in Berlin's Plötzensee Prison in April 1943. Shortly after the end of the war, their Gestapo file was given to German novelist Hans Fallada, and their story inspired his 1947 novel, translated into English and published in 2009 as Every Man Dies Alone (Alone in Berlin in the UK). The story was filmed in 2016 as Alone in Berlin.
The couple married in 1935.After learning that Elise's brother had been killed in action, the Hampels undertook efforts to encourage resistance against the Third Reich. From September 1940 until their arrest in autumn 1942, they hand-wrote over 200 postcards, dropping them into mailboxes and leaving them in stairwells in Berlin, often near Wedding, where they lived.
The postcards urged people to refuse to cooperate with the Nazis, to refrain from donating money, to refuse military service, and to overthrow Hitler.Although nearly all the postcards were immediately brought to the Gestapo, it took two years for the authorities to find the couple. The Hampels were denounced in autumn 1942 and were arrested. Otto declared to the police that he was happy to be able to protest against Hitler and the Third Reich. At trial at the Volksgerichtshof , the Nazi "People's Court", the Hampels were convicted of Wehrkraftzersetzung and of "preparing for high treason". They were both guillotined on 8 April 1943 in the Plötzensee Prison, Berlin.
Their life was fictionalized in the Hans Fallada novel, where they are called Otto and Anna Quangel, and it is their son who is killed, rather than the wife's brother.The English language version of the book published by Melville House Publishing includes an appendix containing some pages from the actual Gestapo file, including mug shots, signed confessions, police reports, and several of the actual postcards used in the protest.
There have been five screen adaptations of the novel: Jeder stirbt für sich allein , directed by Falk Harnack in West Germany in 1962;a television miniseries directed by Hans-Joachim Kasprzik and produced by DEFA in East Germany in 1970; a film version directed by Alfred Vohrer in 1975, released in English as Everyone Dies Alone in 1976, in which Hildegard Knef, who won the award for best actress at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, portrayed "Anna Quangel". It was made into a three-part television miniseries in the Czech Republic in 2004, directed by Dušan Klein . A 2016 film Alone in Berlin , starring Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson as Anna and Otto, was selected to compete for the Golden Bear at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.
Roland Freisler was a German Nazi jurist, judge, and politician who served as the State Secretary of the Reich Ministry of Justice from 1934 to 1942 and President of the People's Court from 1942 to 1945.
The White Rose was a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in Nazi Germany led by a group of students from the University of Munich, including Sophie Scholl, Hans Scholl and Alexander Schmorell. The group conducted an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign that called for active opposition to the Nazi 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, and many of them were sentenced to death or imprisonment.
Hans Fritz Scholl was, along with Alexander Schmorell, one of the two founding members of the White Rose resistance movement in Nazi Germany. The principal author of the resistance movement's literature, he was found guilty of high treason for distributing anti-Nazi material and was executed by the Nazi regime in 1943 during World War II.
Sophia Magdalena Scholl was a German student and anti-Nazi political activist, active within the White Rose non-violent resistance group in Nazi Germany.
Hans Fallada was a German writer of the first half of the 20th century. Some of his better known novels include Little Man, What Now? (1932) and Every Man Dies Alone (1947). His works belong predominantly to the New Objectivity literary style, a style associated with an emotionless reportage approach, with precision of detail, and a veneration for 'the fact'. Fallada's pseudonym derives from a combination of characters found in the Grimm's Fairy Tales: The titular protagonist of Hans in Luck, and Falada the magical talking horse in The Goose Girl.
The People's Court was a Sondergericht of Nazi Germany, set up outside the operations of the constitutional frame of law. Its headquarters were originally located in the former Prussian House of Lords in Berlin, later moved to the former Königsberg Wilhelmsgymnasium at Bellevuestrasse 15 in Potsdamer Platz.
A Klabautermann is a water kobold that assists sailors and fishermen on the Baltic and North Sea in their duties. It is a merry and diligent creature, with an expert understanding of most watercraft, and an irrepressible musical talent. It is believed to rescue sailors washed overboard. The name comes from the Low German verb klabastern meaning "rumble" or "make a noise". An etymology deriving the name from the verb kalfatern has also been suggested.
Hans Coppi was a German resistance fighter who was a member of the anti-fascist resistance group that was later called the Red Orchestra by the Gestapo.
Karl Paul Immanuel von Hase was a German career soldier and figured among the members of the resistance against Adolf Hitler's Nazi régime.
Plötzensee Prison is a men's prison in the Charlottenburg-Nord locality of Berlin with a capacity for 577 prisoners, operated by the State of Berlin judicial administration. The detention centre established in 1868 has a long history; it became notorious during the Nazi era as one of the main sites of capital punishment, where about 3,000 inmates were executed. Famous inmates include East Germany's last communist leader Egon Krenz.
Erwin Geschonneck was a German actor. His biggest success occurred in the German Democratic Republic, where he was considered one of the most famous actors of the time.
Every Man Dies Alone or Alone in Berlin is a 1947 novel by German author Hans Fallada. It is based on the true story of a working-class husband and wife Otto and Elise Hampel who, acting alone, became part of the German Resistance. Fallada's book was one of the first anti-Nazi novels to be published by a German after World War II.
Falk Harnack was a German director and screenwriter. During Germany's Nazi era, he was also active with the German Resistance and toward the end of World War II, the partisans in Greece. Harnack was from a family of scholars, artists and scientists, several of whom were active in the anti-Nazi Resistance and paid with their lives.
Jeder stirbt für sich allein is a 1962 West German made for television political drama film based on a best-selling 1947 novel by Hans Fallada, itself based on the true story of a working class couple, Otto and Elise Hampel, who committed acts of civil disobedience against the government of Nazi Germany and were executed. Directed by former German Resistance member Falk Harnack—whose brother, sister-in-law and cousins were executed during the Nazi regime—it was the first screen adaptation of Fallada's novel.
Everyone Dies Alone is a 1976 West German drama film adapted from the Hans Fallada novel Every Man Dies Alone. The book was based on the story of two ordinary Germans, Otto and Elise Hampel, who committed acts of civil disobedience against the Third Reich, were caught and sentenced to death.
Jeder stirbt für sich allein (1970) is a German television miniseries produced by DEFA in the former German Democratic Republic. The story was adapted from the 1947 Hans Fallada novel, Every Man Dies Alone, known in the UK as Alone in Berlin. It was directed by Hans-Joachim Kasprzik and starred Erwin Geschonneck.
Alfred Schieske was a German actor.
Alone in Berlin is a 2016 war drama film which was directed by Vincent Pérez and written by Pérez and Achim von Borries. It is based on the 1947 fictionalised true story Every Man Dies Alone, by Hans Fallada. The novel's characters Otto and Anna Quangel are based on Otto and Elise Hampel. When their son dies in France, the couple start writing postcards to urge people to protest against Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. The film stars Emma Thompson, Brendan Gleeson, Daniel Brühl, and Mikael Persbrandt. Principal photography began on 27 March 2015 in Berlin. It was selected to compete for the Golden Bear at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.
Fritz Thiel was a Polish-German precision engineeer and resistance fighter, who became part of a Berlin-based anti-fascist resistance group during World War II, that was later named the Red Orchestra by the Abwehr. Thiel along with his wife Hannelore were most notable for printing stickers using a child's toy rubber stamp kit, that they used to protest the The Soviet Paradise exhibition in May 1942 in Berlin.