Walter Klingenbeck was 19 years old when he was executed by the Nazis. His crime was painting the V for Victory sign of the Allies on street signs and mailboxes. Gertrud Liebig was 17 when she was sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp for two years for reading newspapers and pamphlets forbidden by the Nazis.
Their stories and those of other young Germans who resisted Hitler’s National Socialism from 1933 to 1945 will be the subject of the exhibition “Es lebe die Freiheit!” (Long Live Freedom!), which will make its American debut this September at Gallery 210 at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.
The exhibit consists of 25 large panels, peppered with pictures, documents and some of the resisters’ own words.While some of these accounts have been previously documented, many of these stories are being told here for the first time.
The exhibit takes its name from a well-documented Nazi atrocity. “Long Live Freedom!” were the last words uttered by Hans Scholl before the Nazis executed him in 1942 for being part of the resistance group White Rose.
“These are important stories to tell and many of these young activists paid for their civil courage with their lives,” said Larry Marsh, coordinator of the German Culture Center at UMSL, one of the sponsors of the exhibit. “Swimming against the stream, taking a stand against injustice is done at great risk, especially in authoritarian and totalitarian societies. These young people continue to be an example for us all.”
The exhibition has been shown in many German schools and other institutions. It was created in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2011 by the Research Institute for the Study of German Resistance 1933-1945.
The exhibit will open Sept. 19 and run through Oct. 18. An opening reception will begin at 7 p.m. Sept. 19 at Gallery 210. Creators of the panel display will be in attendance. The event is free and open to the public. Call 314-516-6620 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP or for more information.
Additional sponsors for the “Long Live Freedom” exhibit include: the Goethe Institut, St. Louis–Stuttgart Sister Cities, German American Heritage Society of St. Louis and the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center.