Katharina studied chemistry at university and shortly after the First World War she married the engineer Konrad Leipelt. Hans Leipelt was born in 1921. A daughter, Maria, was born four years later. Her husband became Technical Director of Zinnwerke Wilhelmsburg.
Life for Katharina Leipelt became very difficult after Adolf Hitler came to power. (2) Under the terms of the Nuremberg Laws her children were classified as "Jews". It is estimated that over 70,000 Christians in Germany had two Jewish grandparents and now lost their rights as German citizens. (3)
In March 1938, Hitler sent troops to Austria and announced to Anschluss. As a result Katharina Leipelt's brother committed suicide and her parents fled the country. Hans Leipelt joined the Motorized Infantry Regiment and served in France and Poland, winning the Tank Combat Medal and the Iron Cross II, before being dismissed from the German Army when they discovered his mother was half-Jewish. (4)
In September 1942, Konrad Leipelt, died of a heart attack. In January 1943, the anti-Nazi White Rose group based in Munich published a leaflet, entitled A Call to All Germans!, It included the following passage: "Germans! Do you and your children want to suffer the same fate that befell the Jews? Do you want to be judged by the same standards as your traducers? Are we do be forever the nation which is hated and rejected by all mankind? No. Dissociate yourselves from National Socialist gangsterism. Prove by your deeds that you think otherwise. A new war of liberation is about to begin." (5)
The Gestapo later estimated that the White Rose group distributed around 10,000 copies of this leaflet. The Leipelt family were involved in distributing the leaflets in Hamburg. (6) The authorities took the fifth leaflet more seriously than the others. One of the Gestapo's most experienced agents, Robert Mohr, was ordered to carry out a full investigation into the group called the "Resistance Movement in Germany". He was told "the leaflets were creating the greatest disturbance at the highest levels of the Party and the State". Mohr was especially concerned by the leaflets simultaneous appearance in widely separated cities. This suggested an organization of considerable size was at work, one with capable leadership and considerable resources. (7)
The authorities arrested and executed the leaders of the White Rose group. Sophie Scholl, Hans Scholl, Christoph Probst, Willi Graf, Alexander Schmorell and Kurt Huber. Katharina's son, Hans Leipelt, continued to distribute leaflets and collected money for Huber's family. It was not long before, Katharina, Hans and Maria were all arrested. (8)
Katharina Leipelt committed suicide on 9th December, 1943. (9)
Germans! Do you and your children want to suffer the same fate that befell the Jews? Do you want to be judged by the same standards as your traducers? Are we do be forever the nation which is hated and rejected by all mankind? No. Dissociate yourselves from National Socialist gangsterism. Prove by your deeds that you think otherwise. A new war of liberation is about to begin. The better part of the nation will fight on our side. Cast off the cloak of indifference you have wrapped around you. Make the decision before it is too late! Do not believe the National Socialist propaganda which has driven the fear of Bolshevism into your bones. Do not believe that Germany's welfare is linked to the victory of National Socialism for good or ill. A criminal regime cannot achieve a victory. Separate yourself in time from everything connected with National Socialism. In the aftermath a terrible but just judgment will be meted out to those who stayed in hiding, who were cowardly and hesitant.... Imperialistic designs for power, regardless from which side they come, must be neutralized for all time... All centralized power, like that exercised by the Prussian state in Germany and in Europe, must be eliminated... The coming Germany must be federalistic. The working class must be liberated from its degraded conditions of slavery by a reasonable form of socialism... Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the protection of individual citizens from the arbitrary will of criminal regimes of violence - these will be the bases of the New Europe.