Hugo Kapteina was a member of the workers’ resistance and active in the Saefkow-Jacob-Baestlein organisation in the years 1943-44. He was born on 23 June 1903 in Gelsenkirchen, the son of a miner. His parents died when he was young. Between 1924 and 1928 he studied at various universities, paying his way by performing casual work. He moved to Berlin in 1928 and started contributing to several newspapers and magazines including Welt am Abend and Simplizissimus. He was a KPD sympathiser but not a party member. In 1933 he was barred from the Nazi Literary Chamber and resorted to working as a newspaper deliverer and painter. At the same time, he took evening classes at the Technische Universität Berlin. After 1943 he was employed by the company Alkett in Berlin-Borsigwalde as a draftsman.
Here he built up a resistance group to disseminate illegal writings and disrupt the company’s war-relevant production. He supported foreign forced labourers and tried to involve them in the group’s resistance work. He distributed flyers written by the group and wrote a manuscript, Die Gesellschaft. He was arrested on 22 June 1944 and brutally abused during questioning, but managed to flee from detention. In February 1945 he was rearrested, and on 15 February 1945 he was sentenced to death on grounds of preparing high treason and aiding the enemy. He was killed by guillotining at Brandenburg-Görden prison on 20 April 1945.