Originally a teacher, he joined the Wehrmacht in WWII. He helped to hide and rescue many Poles and Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland, and is most remembered for helping Polish-Jewish pianist and composer ,Władysław Szpilman, to survive, hidden, in the ruins of Warsaw during the last months of 1944. Hosenfeld was taken prisoner by the Russians at the end of the war and condemned to twenty years hard labour for having belonged to the German military unit which they believed was largely responsible for the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Despite the fact that many people who had benefitted from Hosenfeld’s help, petitioned on his behalf, the Russians were never to release him and he died of heart failure while still in captivity. In June 2009 he was posthumously recognized as a Righteous among the Nations by Yad Vashem.

Read more in In the Way of the Reich by Paula Astridge