Robey Leibbrandt bigraphy, stories - South African boxer

Robey Leibbrandt : biography

1913 - 7 January 1966

Sidney Robey Leibbrandt (25 January 1913 in Potchefstroom, Transvaal; 1 August 1966 in Ladybrand, Free State province, South Africa), who was led by the German military intelligence (Abwehr) under the pseudonym "Robert Leibbrand", was a South African Boer of German and Irish descent. Leibbrandt was an Olympic boxer and later a German secret agent and freedom fighter against the British influence and political power within South Africa.



Leibbrandt was the third of six children, his father was Sergeant Major Meyder (Meider) Johannes Leibbrandt19.04.1878, Smithfield – 17.06.1954, Pretoria and his mother Susan Marguarite (née Joyce).

Sergeant Major Leibbrandt fought with his friend Jan Smuts in the Second Boer War. Later he wanted to become an officer in the South African Army, but when World War I broke out, he was ordered to invade German South-West Africa, an order, which he morally could not follow, because "Germans should not war against Germans". He was allowed to stay with the army as a Drill Sergeant for recruits, but he received no further promotions. Later he became a policeman and politician in Pretoria, where he was known as "Oom John" (Afrikaans for "uncle Johannes").

From 1924 to 1930, Robey Leibbrandt visited Grey college in Bloemfontein. With 13 he started to box.

Boxing career

  • 1934: Leibbrandt won the light heavyweight bronze medal for South Africa at the 1934 Empire Games,.
  • 1936: He also represented South Africa at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. He competed in the light heavyweight class. He was not able to fight the bronze medal bout to Francisco Risiglione and finished fourth.
  • 1937: He became South African heavyweight champion on 31 July 1937 in Johannesburg, beating Jim Pentz.
  • 1948: He returned to boxing in 1948, winning two fights.

Later life and death

Leibbrandt remained politically active in his later life, founding the organisation Anti-Kommunistiese Beskermingsfront (Anti-Communist Protection Front) in 1962, and producing a series of pamphlets titled Ontwaak Suid-Afrika (Wake up South Africa). He was also a passionate sportsman and hunter.

Leibbrandt was married with Margaretha "Etha" Cornelia Botha, they had five sons: Hermann, Remer, Izan, Rayna, and Meyder Johannes.

Robey Leibbrandt, "Der treue Gefolgsmann" (the loyal follower) died on 1 August 1966 after having a heart attack. The request by family and friends from around the world to let him be buried with full military honors was denied by the South African government.

Capture and imprisonment

Leibbrandt's 60 resistance fighters kept the British rulers of South Africa on high alert. They fought and committed sabotage succesfully. After a confrontation and fierce fire fight with soldiers in the fall of 1942, Leibbrandt went on the run and evaded the police for some time, until he was eventually betrayed, captured and arrested in Pretoria at the end of December 1942. The arresting officer was Claude Sterley, a fellow Springbok Boxer who was, at the time, a Sergeant in the South African Police. Leibbrandt was armed at the time but did not resist his capture by his old friend.

On 11 March 1943 Leibbrandt was sentenced to death for high treason. Although Leibbrandt refused to give evidence at any stage in the trial, he claimed that he had acted "for Volk and Führer" and gave the German Salute (Hitler Salute) when he first entered the court, to which several spectators responded and calling "Sieg Heil". After being sentenced to death, Leibbrandt shouted loudly and clearly "I greet death".

His sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by General Jan Smuts, who had great sympathies for the Leibbrandt family, in the same year. In 1948, Leibbrandt was released in an amnesty of war offenders by the newly victorious National Party government under Daniel François Malan,Daniel François Malan (22 May 1874 – 7 February 1959), more commonly known as D.F. Malan, was the Prime Minister of South Africa from 1948 to 1954. He is seen as a champion of Afrikaner nationalism and white supremacy. His National Party government came to power on the program of apartheid and began its comprehensive implementation. which had opposed South Africa's entry into World War II on the side of the Allies and wanted to remain neutral. Leibbrandt left the prison and was greeted by crowds as a "folk hero", a legend was born.

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