Willi Graf

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Willi Graf (2 January 1918 in Kuchenheim near Euskirchen; - 12 October 1943 in Munich) was a member of the White Rose (Weiße Rose) resistance group in Nazi Germany.



Willi Graf's family moved to Saarbrücken in 1922, where his father ran a wine wholesaler's, and was the manager of the Johannishof, the second largest banquet hall in Saarbrücken. He went to school at the Ludwigsgymnasium. It was not long before he joined, at the age of eleven, the Bund Neudeutschland, a Catholic youth movement for young men in schools of higher learning, which was banned after Hitler and the Nazis came to power in 1933. In 1934, Graf joined the Grauer Orden ("Grey Order"), another Catholic movement which became known for its anti-Nazi rhetoric. It, too, was banned and for this reason, it formed many splinter youth groups.

Graf showed conviction in his beliefs at a young age. Although compulsory at the time, he refused to associate with the Hitler Youth. While other future members of the White Rose initially embraced the Hitler Youth, Graf never did so. Moreover, in his address book he crossed out the names of friends who had joined the Hitler Youth. In 1935, at the age of 17, Graf and a few friends marched in an annual May Day parade. The parade was a dominated by swastikas, brown-shirted Hitler Youth troops marching in formation, and "Sieg Heils." However, Graf and his friends were not wearing brown, marching in step, carrying swastikas, or shouting "Sieg...
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