- Category : 1904-births
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 2/5 - Hermit / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (5,12,14,34,35)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Four Ways 2
German communist and wrestler, executed by the Nazis toward the end of World War II. Seelenbinder was inducted to Germany's Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
Seelenbinder won the light heavyweight class of Greco-Roman wrestling at the 1925 Workers' Olympiad in Frankfurt. In 1928 and 1929 he won the Spartakiad in Moscow; over 200 German sportsmen were banned from the contest, but Seelenbinder, with his interest in Marxism, took part. His first trip to Moscow had already persuaded him to become a member of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). In 1933 he refused to give the Nazi salute when receiving his medal at the German Wrestling Championship, and was punished with a sixteen-month ban on training and sports events.
German workers' sports clubs were soon banned by the Nazi party; at this point the KPD approached Seelenbinder, asking him to join one of the legal sports clubs, to train to get as much sporting success as possible, so he would be able to carry messages across Germany and into other countries. As one of the country's top sportsmen he had more freedom of movement and could travel abroad. As well as preparing for the Olympics, Seelenbinder joined the Uhrig Group, an underground resistance group named after Robert Uhrig, who organized it.
As a committed communist Seelenbinder was appalled by the 1936 Olympic Games that were to be held in Nazi Germany. He had originally planned to boycott it, but friends persuaded him to compete anyway, win, and defy the Nazis by not giving the required Nazi salute, but to use a vulgar gesture instead. This plan was foiled when he lost the first match. He eventually came in fourth in the event.
The Nazis had only allowed Seelenbinder to take part in the Olympics because they thought he would secure them a medal: otherwise, they did not trust him in the slightest. Seelenbinder's illegal activities as a courier and his participation in the Uhrig Group had caught their attention: he was arrested, along with 65 other members of the group, on 4 February 1942 and after being tortured for eight days, and enduring nine camps and prisons for two and half years, he was sentenced to death by the Volksgerichtshof, he was executed for treason on 24 October 1944 at Brandenburg-Görden Prison – he was beheaded with an axe. The imprisonment left him weighing a mere 60 kilograms (132 pounds), from his previous weight of 90 kilos (198 pounds).