Josef Landgrave

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Josef Landgraf (born July 29, 1924 in Vienna ; † April 5, 2018 there ) was a youthful resistance fighter against National Socialism .


Since the beginning of the war in 1939, the Viennese high school student Josef Landgraf, then living in Vienna's 6th district, Gumpendorfer Strasse 97, listened to so-called enemy broadcasters: broadcasts of the BBC and the broadcasters of the European revolution, which were shaped by socialist emigrants . At the beginning of September 1941 he began to process what he had heard into leaflets. After just three weeks, he was denounced and arrested. Nevertheless, by then, on his father's typewriter, he had produced no fewer than 70 pamphlets between half a page and one page in length. He made around 50 leaflets and a couple of stickers with a rubber box.

His schoolmates Ludwig Igalffy, Friedrich Fexer and Anton Brunner helped him distribute the leaflets in Vienna in the 2nd, 3rd and 6th district. The Viennese youth belong to the groups of four .

In his pamphlets, like Helmuth Hübener , he distributed the BBC reports about German losses at the front. These contradicted the official war reports within the Third Reich. Landgraf criticized the anti-religious activities of the NSDAP.

Like Walter Klingenbeck , Landgraf took up the appeal of the BBC V-Aktion . Through leaflets he spread the following: The V-Army has only the liberation of Hitler and his war as its goal , the V-mark is Hitler's downfall and the V-Army brings peace .

Arrest and conviction

Landgraf was arrested by the Gestapo on September 20, 1941 . On August 23, 1942, Landgraf and Brunner were sentenced to death by the notorious People's Court . Both were then brought to the "Köpfler cells" in the Vienna Regional Court. The other defendants received eight and six years in prison.

"The pamphlets were designed to promote the aims of enemy war propaganda aimed at the overthrow of the German leadership, the tearing away of parts of the Reich and the destruction of the German will to resist."

- Quote from the judgment

Josef Landgraf's parents submitted a petition for clemency. On September 21, 1943, a good year after the death sentence, he was pardoned for seven years; Brunner was pardoned to five years in prison.

Landgraf was transferred to Kaiser-Ebersdorf on October 9, 1943, where he was imprisoned until he was liberated on April 7, 1945.

After 1945

As a contemporary witness, Josef Landgraf gave lectures about his experiences, for example at schools. He wrote the book 406 Days on the Nazi Death Row , based on autobiographical notes by Josef Landgraf and scientific research by Eva Knollmüller (among other things founder of the platform JUNA ). The book describes the ordeal of Josef Landgraf, who was sentenced to the death penalty because of his activities in the resistance and only narrowly escaped execution.


“My late husband Günther Hamann was a classmate of Josef Landgraf. He sympathized with him, but shrank back, as he himself repeatedly emphasized later, from the obvious consequences. All the greater was his respect, yes, his astonishment at the loyalty to principles and radicalism of the young Josef Landgraf. "

- Brigitte Hamann , historian

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Josef Franz Heinrich Maria Landgraf on, accessed on May 16, 2018
  2. Five résumés of juvenile prisoners ( memento of the original from January 18, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. 406 days on Nazi death row