Recently I was made aware of the existence of Friedrich Kellner. He was a man living in Nazi Germany who wrote an opposition to Mein Kampf, in secret for obvious reasons, and detailed the Nazi crimes he witnessed so that people would know about them in the future.
According the The Guardian,
What Kellner did was to take extracts from the press, stick them in his book and comment on them at length from his own point of view.
Which is what the whole world does now on Twitter and on blogs. I guess Kellner was ahead of his time in more than one way.
There’s surprisingly little written about him considering how remarkable his story is. He very much put himself in the firing line.
In 1925, according to a biographical essay written by his grandson, Kellner received a copy of Adolf Hitler’s newly published Mein Kampf, along with the encouragement to “take a stand against its author.” Speaking at rallies, Kellner would hold up the copy of Hitler’s book and declare, “Gutenberg, your printing press has been violated by this evil book!” His public criticism of Nazism earned him unfriendly attention from the SA, but having lived through the trenches, he was accustomed to violence and not easily intimidated. – source
Eventually he was told he and his wife Paulina (who completely stood by him) would be sent to a concentration camp if they continued to criticize the Nazi regime. That didn’t stop Kellner though, he just continued to do it in secret. He wrote in his book,
“I could not fight the Nazis in the present, as they had the power to still my voice, so I decided to fight them in the future. I would give the coming generations a weapon against any resurgence of such evil.”
My list of Historical Figures Who Should Get Movies is incredibly long, but Kellner is very close to the top because his story has a LOT of reasonance today. And not just because he was basically a blogger.
I wish I could have met Friedrich Kellner. I think we would have gotten along.