Wilhelm Leist was born on 2 January 1899 in Berlin. After leaving school, he completed an apprenticeship as a turner and began working as a journeyman. He was taken prisoner during World War I and not released until September 1919. In 1920 he married Anna Rittig and they had three children together. Wilhelm Leist, a pre-1933 member of the KPD (Communist Party of Germany) and the German Metal Workers’ Union, was an avowed opponent of Nazism. He was held in custody for a time as early as 1933. On his release he set up a resistance group at his place of work in the AEG turbine factory in Hutten Strasse. He was one of the first of this works’ group to be arrested in November 1944. It is presumed that the Gestapo tortured him to obtain information on his colleagues. On 7 March 1945 Wilhelm Leist was taken to the Gestapo section of the prison at Lehrter Strasse 3, where many of his colleagues were already awaiting trial. His trial took place on 20 and 21 March at the Berlin Court of Appeal. Wilhelm Leist was sentenced to death and murdered on 10 April 1945 in Plötzensee.