My Hero is Wilhelm Hosenfeld
During the gruesome and horrid years of the holocaust many villains were highlighted, but many heroes remained unseen and were overshadowed by the awful wrath of the Nazis. One of these heroic figures was Wilhelm (Welm) Hosenfeld. He served as a German Captain but quickly changed to a anti-nazi. He did not only become against the Nazis, he started to save Jewish people and sacrificing his life. Learning about Hosenfeld is relevant because we can reflect to these figures to make ourselves better people in everyday situations.
Growing up Wilhelm lived a simple life. He lived in the small village of Hessen, Germany. His family was a predominantly catholic and he grew up in a German environment. After participating in the First World War Hosenfeld became a teacher and worked at a nearby school. By the time the Second World War had broke out he was married and had five children.
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In August, 1939 Hosenfeld was drafted into the “Wehrmacht” or the German army. He was placed in Poland then was quickly moved to Warsaw (Still in Poland) where he would stay until the war ended. Although Hosenfeld joined the Nazi party he became disgusted with the Nazis actions and crimes against Jews while he was in Poland. He kept a diary during his time in the service where he expressed his feelings about the Nazis. He believed that they (the Nazis) had lost the war and brought an eternal curse to themselves and would be covered in shame.
He did not only express his deep thoughts in words, but he risked his life to save Jews. He did this in a variety of ways including getting people off trains, giving them fake identities, etc. . During this period of time, Wilhelm managed to escape the ghetto with the aid of his Polish friends. In 1945 Hosenfeld was taken prisoner by the Soviets. Five years later he was sentenced to twenty-five years. Hosenfeld ended up dying in the Soviet prison in 1952.
Even though he was dead, his legacy wasn´t short lived. Leon Warm, a Jewish person who was saved by Hosenfeld had wrote a letter regarding his heroic actions was recovered by Spilzman, a Polish priest. He had meet Wilhelm while in camp. He luckily managed to survive. In the year 1998 he had given this information to Yad Vashem. Even though Warm had passed away years ago the letter didn’t. Once they had found enough information that these events were actually true due to his diarys and many more sources, Yad Vashem finally recognized Hosenfeld a “Hero Among Nations” only on November 25, 2008.
In conclusion Wilhelm Hosenfeld was one of the many under looked heroes of the whole entire Holocaust. He saved many lives and turned himself around from being a Nazi to being one of the most important anti-Nazi figures in this horrible time. He should be learned about in the future because he risked his life to save multiple lives in a time where this was practically unheard of back then, and in today’s society we could use more like him.