A short biography of Hermann Hannibal, blacksmith and member of the FAUD, imprisoned by the Nazis in Sachsenhausen concentration camp
Hermann Hannibal was born on 8 October 1898 in Kassel. Little is known about his private life. He worked as a blacksmith. Between 1919 and 1925 he had 10 criminal convictions, eight of them for theft. He had two children: Franz, born on 4th January 1930, and Ilse, also born in the 1930s.
Hannibal joined the Kassel group of the Free Workers' Union of Germany (FAUD) in 1930. He was involved in the Kassel group of the Shwarze Scharen (Black Crowds) the antifascist combat grouping organised by members of the FAUD. This group produced two newspapers: Die Proletarische Front (Proletarian Front) and Die Schwarze Horde (The Black Horde). Hermann was arrested in mid-December 1930 for selling Proletarische Front in front of a post office. He was charged with a breach of the Protection of the Republic Act, based on an article in the paper calling for the creation of workers councils in reply to the economic crisis He was acquitted at his trial on 2nd July 1931.
The Kassel FAUD dissolved on 15th February 1933 , hiding its property and funds to prepare for illegal work under the Nazis. They began to publish underground newspapers and sometimes these were put together at Herrmann’s flat. A network was set up to coordinate with other other FAUD groups at home and abroad and to collect solidarity funds for imprisoned comrades and their families.
The Gestapo only succeeeded in totally dismantling the Kassel FAUD in 1941 and to arrest the last remaining members. Hermann was arrested on 27th May 1941. During interrogations by the Gestapo, he denied any illegal activity with the FAUD, but was implicated by the testimony obtained under duress of another FAUD member. Hermann and the others remained in custody until their trial at the end of 1941. The lack of of evidence against all seven on the charge of preparation for high treason led to their acquittal. They were immediately re-arrested by the Gestapo. In May 1942 five of them were tried before the Higher Regional Court in Kassel. Hermann Hannibal was sentenced to nine months in prison, with remission for pre-trial detention. Nevertheless, he was sent to the Breitenau concentration camp and from there on 18th July 1942 to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. He was liberated with the Allied advance on 2nd May 1945.
After his return to Kassel Hannibal ran a haulage company. His health had been destroyed by his sufferings in the camp,and his ill- treatment there had led to a loss of hearing. He died in 1963.
Adapted from a translation of biographies by Hansi Oostinga at http://www.fau.org/texte/biographien/