Every year on February 22, the comrades of Unit 1012, will honor Sophie Scholl and the White Rose, Sophie and her brother, Hans Scholl and Christoph Probst were all executed by the guillotine on February 22, 1943.
We will remember how Sophie and the White Rose lived on this earth and not how she died. We will make her one of the 26 Christian Martyrs of Unit 1012. Sophie was a perfect example of a Christian Martyr who had the courage to speak out against the evil Nazis during World War II. We will learn from her quotes to speak out for victims’ rights too.
We will post information about her from Wikipedia and other links.
9 May 1921
22 February 1943 (aged 21)
Student, resistance member
Sophia Magdalena Scholl (9 May 1921 – 22 February 1943) was a German student and revolutionary, active within the White Rose non-violent resistance group in Nazi Germany. She was convicted of high treason after having been found distributing anti-war leaflets at the University of Munich with her brother Hans. As a result, they were both executed by guillotine.
Since the 1970s, Scholl has been celebrated as one of the great German heroes who actively opposed the Third Reich during the Second World War.
Scholl's father, Robert, was the Bürgermeister (or mayor) of Forchtenberg am Kocher in northern Baden-Württemberg when she was born. She was the fourth of six children:
- Inge Aicher-Scholl (1917–1998)
- Hans Scholl (1918–1943)
- Elisabeth Scholl Hartnagel (born 1920), married Sophie's long-term boyfriend, Fritz Hartnagel
- Sophie Scholl (1921–1943)
- Werner Scholl (1922–1944) missing in action and presumed dead in June 1944
- Thilde Scholl (1925–1926)
Scholl was brought up a Lutheran. She entered junior or grade school at the age of seven, learned easily, and had a carefree childhood. In 1930, the family moved to Ludwigsburg and then two years later to Ulm where her father had a business consulting office.
In 1932, Scholl started attending a secondary school for girls. At the age of twelve, she chose to join the Bund Deutscher Mädel (League of German Girls), as did most of her classmates, but her initial enthusiasm gradually gave way to criticism. She was aware of the dissenting political views of her father, of friends, and also of some teachers. Political attitude had become an essential criterion in her choice of friends. The arrest of her brothers and friends in 1937 for participating in the German Youth Movement left a strong impression on her.
She had a talent for drawing and painting and for the first time came into contact with a few so-called "degenerate" artists. An avid reader, she developed a growing interest in philosophy and theology. Her firm Christian belief in God and in every human being's essential dignity formed her basis for resisting Nazi ideology.
In spring 1940, she graduated from secondary school, where the subject of her essay was, "The Hand that Moved the Cradle, Moved the World". Being fond of children, she became a kindergarten teacher at the Fröbel Institute in Ulm-Söflingen. She also had chosen this kindergarten job hoping that it would be recognized as an alternative service to Reichsarbeitsdienst (National Labor Service), a prerequisite to be admitted to the university. This was not the case, though, and in spring 1941 she began a six-month stint in the auxiliary war service as a nursery teacher in Blumberg. The military-like regimen of the Labor Service caused her to think very hard about the political situation as well as to begin practicing passive resistance.
After her six months in the National Labor Service, in May 1942, she enrolled at the University of Munich as a student of biology and philosophy. Her brother Hans, who was studying medicine there, introduced her to his friends. Although this group of friends eventually was known for their political views, they initially were drawn together by a shared love of art, music, literature, philosophy, and theology. Hiking in the mountains, skiing, and swimming were also of importance to them. They often attended concerts, plays, and lectures together.
In Munich, Scholl met a number of artists, writers, and philosophers, particularly Carl Muth and Theodor Haecker, who were important contacts for her. The question they pondered the most was how the individual must act under a dictatorship. During the summer vacation in 1942, Scholl had to do war service in a metallurgical plant in Ulm. At the same time, her father was serving time in prison for having made a critical remark to an employee about Hitler.
Stamp which represents Sophie Scholl (Personal stamp-collection of Gretaz).
The Town Hall in Forchtenberg, birthplace of Sophie Scholl The Town Hall in Forchtenberg, birthplace of Sophie Scholl.
Origins of the White Rose
Based upon letters between her and her boyfriend, Fritz Hartnagel (reported and analyzed by Gunter Biemer and Jakob Knab in the journal, Newman Studien) she had given two volumes of Cardinal John Henry Newman's sermons to Hartnagel when he was deployed to the eastern front in May 1942. This discovery by Jakob Knab shows the importance of religion in Scholl's life and was highlighted in an article in the Catholic Herald in the UK. The White Rose was founded after Scholl and others read a stern anti-Nazi sermon by Clemens August Graf von Galen (the "Lion of Münster"), the Roman Catholic Bishop of Münster. Although she was Lutheran, Scholl was motivated by it.
She and they had been horrified by Hartnagel's reports of the behavior of the Germans on the Eastern Front where Hartnagel witnessed Soviet soldiers being shot in a pit and learned of the mass killings of Jews. Her correspondence with Hartnagel deeply discussed the "theology of conscience" developed in Newman's writings. This is seen as her primary defense in her transcribed interrogations leading to her "trial" and execution. Those transcripts became the basis for a 2005 film treatment of her final days, Sophie Scholl – The Final Days.
Activities of the White Rose
The core members initially included Hans Scholl (Sophie's brother), Willi Graf, and Christoph Probst. In early summer 1942, this group of young men co-authored six anti-Nazi political resistance leaflets. Contrary to popular belief, Sophie Scholl was not a co-author of the articles. Initially her brother had been keen to keep her unaware of their activities, but once she discovered them, she joined him and proved valuable to the group because as a woman, her chances of being randomly stopped by the SS were much smaller. Calling themselves The White Rose, they instructed Germans to passively resist the Nazis. She and the rest of the White Rose were arrested for distributing the sixth leaflet at the University of Munich on 18 February 1943.
In the People's Court before Judge Roland Freisler on 22 February 1943, Scholl was recorded as saying these words:
Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare express themselves as we did.
On 22 February 1943, Scholl, her brother Hans, and their friend Christoph Probst were found guilty of treason and condemned to death. They were all beheaded by a guillotine by executioner Johann Reichhart in Munich's Stadelheim Prison only a few hours later, at 17:00 hrs. The execution was supervised by Walter Roemer, the enforcement chief of the Munich district court. Prison officials, in later describing the scene, emphasized the courage with which she walked to her execution. Her last words were:
How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause. Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?
Fritz Hartnagel was evacuated from Stalingrad in January 1943, but did not return to Germany before Sophie was executed. He later married Sophie's sister Elisabeth.
PHOTO SOURCE: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/168251736052102961/
PHOTO SOURCE: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/140737557079188738/
Following her death, a copy of the sixth leaflet was smuggled out of Germany through Scandinavia to the UK by German jurist Helmuth James Graf von Moltke, where it was used by the Allied Forces. In mid-1943, they dropped over Germany millions of propaganda copies of the tract, now retitled, The Manifesto of the Students of Munich.
In a historical context, the White Rose's legacy has significance for many commentators, both as a demonstration of exemplary spiritual courage, and as a well-documented case of social dissent in a time of violent repression, censorship, and conformist pressure.
Playwright Lillian Garrett-Groag stated in Newsday on 22 February 1993, that "It is possibly the most spectacular moment of resistance that I can think of in the twentieth century... The fact that five little kids, in the mouth of the wolf, where it really counted, had the tremendous courage to do what they did, is spectacular to me. I know that the world is better for them having been there, but I do not know why."
In the same issue of Newsday, Holocaust historian Jud Newborn noted that "You cannot really measure the effect of this kind of resistance in whether or not X number of bridges were blown up or a regime fell... The White Rose really has a more symbolic value, but that's a very important value."
Bust of Sophie Scholl in Walhalla
Stamp of Sophie Scholl and Hans Scholl
On 22 February 2003, a bust of Scholl was placed by the government of Bavaria in the Walhalla temple in her honor.
The Geschwister-Scholl-Institut for Political Science at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) is named in honour of Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans. The institute is home to the university's political science and communication departments, and is housed in the former Radio Free Europe building close to the city's Englischer Garten. There is also an ongoing effort by the LMU Students' Committee (AStA) to rename the university to Geschwister Scholl University of Munich (Scholl Siblings University).
Many local schools as well as countless streets and squares in Germany have been named after Scholl and her brother.
In 2003, Germans were invited by television broadcaster ZDF to participate in Unsere Besten (Our Best), a nation-wide competition to choose the top ten most important Germans of all time. Voters under the age of forty helped Scholl and her brother Hans to finish in fourth place, above Bach, Goethe, Gutenberg, Bismarck, Willy Brandt, and Albert Einstein. If the votes of young viewers alone had been counted, Sophie and Hans Scholl would have been ranked first. Several years earlier, readers of Brigitte, a German magazine for women, voted Scholl "the greatest woman of the twentieth century", winning over such figures as Madeleine Albright.
Monument to Hans and Sophie Scholl and the "White Rose" (German: Die Weiße Rose) resistance movement against the Nazi regime, in front of Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Bavaria, Germany. Monument to Hans and Sophie Scholl and the "White Rose" (German: Die Weiße Rose) resistance movement against the Nazi regime, in front of Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Bavaria, Germany.
Film, book, and theatrical portrayals
In February 2005, a movie about Scholl's last days, Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage (Sophie Scholl: The Final Days), featuring actress Julia Jentsch in the title role, was released. Drawing on interviews with survivors and transcripts that had remained hidden in East German archives until 1990, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in January 2006. For her portrayal of Scholl, Jentsch won the best actress at the European Film Awards, best actress at the German Film Awards (Lolas), along with the Silver Bear for best actress at the Berlin Film Festival.
Jud Newborn and Annette Dumbach's 1986 book about the White Rose, Shattering the German Night (Little, Brown) was reissued in an expanded, updated, and illustrated edition in 2006, Sophie Scholl and the White Rose, to accompany the new film's release and provide an account of the history behind the White Rose.
In February 2009, The History Press released Sophie Scholl: The Real Story of the Woman who Defied Hitler by Frank McDonough.
In February 2010, Carl Hanser Verlag released Sophie Scholl: A Biography (in German), by Barbara Beuys.
There were three earlier film accounts of the White Rose resistance. The first film was financed by the Bavarian state government and released in the 1970s, entitled Das Versprechen (The Promise). In 1982, Percy Adlon's Fünf letzte Tage (Five Last Days) presented Lena Stolze as Scholl in her last days from the point of view of her cellmate Else Gebel. In the same year, Stolze repeated the role in Michael Verhoeven's Die Weiße Rose (The White Rose). In an interview, Stolze said that playing the role was "an honour".
American playwright Lillian Garrett-Groag's play The White Rose features Scholl as a major character.
Deutsch: Briefmarken-Blockausgabe der Deutschen Bundespost mit dem Motiv "20. Jahrestag des Attentats auf Adolf Hitler": Sophie Scholl, Ludwig Beck, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Alfred Delp, Carl Friedrich Goerdeler, Wilhelm Leuschner, Helmuth James Graf von Moltke, Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (20 July 1964)
INTERNET SOURCE: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/rose.html
The White Rose - A Lesson in Dissent
by Jacob G. Hornberger
The date was February 22, 1943. Hans Scholl and his sister Sophie, along with their best friend, Christoph Probst, were scheduled to be executed by Nazi officials that afternoon. The prison guards were so impressed with the calm and bravery of the prisoners in the face of impending death that they violated regulations by permitting them to meet together one last time. Hans, a medical student at the University of Munich, was 24. Sophie, a student, was 21. Christoph, a medical student, was 22.
This is the story of The White Rose. It is a lesson in dissent. It is a tale of courage, of principle, of honor. It is detailed in three books, The White Rose (1970) by Inge Scholl, A Noble Treason (1979) by Richard Hanser, and An Honourable Defeat (1994) by Anton Gill.
Hans and Sophie Scholl were German teenagers in the 1930s. Like other young Germans, they enthusiastically joined the Hitler Youth. They believed that Adolf Hitler was leading Germany and the German people back to greatness.
Their parents were not so enthusiastic. Their father, Robert Scholl, told his children that Hitler and the Nazis were leading Germany down a road of destruction. Later, in 1942, he would serve time in a Nazi prison for telling his secretary: “The war! It is already lost. This Hitler is God's scourge on mankind, and if the war doesn't end soon the Russians will be sitting in Berlin.” Gradually, Hans and Sophie began realizing that their father was right. They concluded that, in the name of freedom and the greater good of the German nation, Hitler and the Nazis were enslaving and destroying the German people.
They also knew that open dissent was impossible in Nazi Germany, especially after the start of World War II. Most Germans took the traditional position, that once war breaks out, it is the duty of the citizen to support the troops by supporting the government. But Hans and Sophie Scholl believed differently. They believed that it was the duty of a citizen, even in times of war, to stand up against an evil regime, especially when it is sending hundreds of thousands of its citizens to their deaths.
The Scholl siblings began sharing their feelings with a few of their friends, Christoph Probst, Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graf, as well as with Kurt Huber, their psychology and philosophy professor.
One day in 1942, copies of a leaflet entitled “The White Rose” suddenly appeared at the University of Munich. The leaflet contained an anonymous essay that said that the Nazi system had slowly imprisoned the German people and was now destroying them. The Nazi regime had turned evil. It was time, the essay said, for Germans to rise up and resist the tyranny of their own government. At the bottom of the essay, the following request appeared: “Please make as many copies of this leaflet as you can and distribute them.”
The leaflet caused a tremendous stir among the student body. It was the first time that internal dissent against the Nazi regime had surfaced in Germany. The essay had been secretly written and distributed by Hans Scholl and his friends.
Another leaflet appeared soon afterward. And then another. And another. Ultimately, there were six leaflets published and distributed by Hans and Sophie Scholl and their friends, four under the title “The White Rose” and two under the title “Leaflets of the Resistance.” Their publication took place periodically between 1942 and 1943, interrupted for a few months when Hans and his friends were temporarily sent to the Eastern Front to fight against the Russians.
The members of The White Rose, of course, had to act cautiously. The Nazi regime maintained an iron grip over German society. Internal dissent was quickly and efficiently smashed by the Gestapo. Hans and Sophie Scholl and their friends knew what would happen to them if they were caught.
People began receiving copies of the leaflets in the mail. Students at the University of Hamburg began copying and distributing them. Copies began turning up in different parts of Germany and Austria. Moreover, as Hanser points out, the members of The White Rose did not limit themselves to leaflets. Graffiti began appearing in large letters on streets and buildings all over Munich: “Down with Hitler! . . . Hitler the Mass Murderer!” and “Freiheit! . . . Freiheit! . . . Freedom! . . . Freedom!”
The Gestapo was driven into a frenzy. It knew that the authors were having to procure large quantities of paper, envelopes, and postage. It knew that they were using a duplicating machine. But despite the Gestapo's best efforts, it was unable to catch the perpetrators.
One day, February 18, 1943, Hans' and Sophie's luck ran out. They were caught leaving pamphlets at the University of Munich and were arrested. A search disclosed evidence of Christoph Probst's participation, and he too was soon arrested. The three of them were indicted for treason.
On February 22, four days after their arrest, their trial began. The presiding judge, Roland Freisler, chief justice of the People's Court of the Greater German Reich, had been sent from Berlin. Hanser writes:
He conducted the trial as if the future of the Reich were indeed at stake. He roared denunciations of the accused as if he were not the judge but the prosecutor. He behaved alternately like an actor ranting through an overwritten role in an implausible melodrama and a Grand Inquisitor calling down eternal damnation on the heads of the three irredeemable heretics before him. . . . No witnesses were called, since the defendants had admitted everything. The proceedings consisted almost entirely of Roland Freisler's denunciation and abuse, punctuated from time to time by half-hearted offerings from the court-appointed defense attorneys, one of whom summed up his case with the observation, “I can only say fiat justitia. Let justice be done.” By which he meant: Let the accused get what they deserve.
Freisler and the other accusers could not understand what had happened to these German youths. After all, they all came from nice German families. They all had attended German schools. They had been members of the Hitler Youth. How could they have turned out to be traitors? What had so twisted and warped their minds?
Sophie Scholl shocked everyone in the courtroom when she remarked to Freisler: “Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare to express themselves as we did.” Later in the proceedings, she said to him: “You know the war is lost. Why don't you have the courage to face it?”
In the middle of the trial, Robert and Magdalene Scholl tried to enter the courtroom. Magdalene said to the guard: “But I'm the mother of two of the accused.” The guard responded: “You should have brought them up better.” Robert Scholl forced his way into the courtroom and told the court that he was there to defend his children. He was seized and forcibly escorted outside. The entire courtroom heard him shout: “One day there will be another kind of justice! One day they will go down in history!”
Robert Freisler pronounced his judgment on the three defendants: Guilty of treason. Their sentence: Death.
They were escorted back to Stadelheim prison, where the guards permitted Hans and Sophie to have one last visit with their parents. Hans met with them first, and then Sophie. Hansen writes:
His eyes were clear and steady and he showed no sign of dejection or despair. He thanked his parents again for the love and warmth they had given him and he asked them to convey his affection and regard to a number of friends, whom he named. Here, for a moment, tears threatened, and he turned away to spare his parents the pain of seeing them. Facing them again, his shoulders were back and he smiled. . . .
Then a woman prison guard brought in Sophie. . . . Her mother tentatively offered her some candy, which Hans had declined. “Gladly,” said Sophie, taking it. “After all, I haven't had any lunch!” She, too, looked somehow smaller, as if drawn together, but her face was clear and her smile was fresh and unforced, with something in it that her parents read as triumph. “Sophie, Sophie,” her mother murmured, as if to herself. “To think you'll never be coming through the door again!” Sophie's smile was gentle. “Ah, Mother,” she said. “Those few little years. . . .” Sophie Scholl looked at her parents and was strong in her pride and certainty. “We took everything upon ourselves,” she said. “What we did will cause waves.” Her mother spoke again: “Sophie,” she said softly, “Remember Jesus.” “Yes,” replied Sophie earnestly, almost commandingly, “but you, too.” She left them, her parents, Robert and Magdalene Scholl, with her face still lit by the smile they loved so well and would never see again. She was perfectly composed as she was led away. Robert Mohr [a Gestapo official], who had come out to the prison on business of his own, saw her in her cell immediately afterwards, and she was crying. It was the first time Robert Mohr had seen her in tears, and she apologized. “I have just said good-bye to my parents,” she said. “You understand . . .” She had not cried before her parents. For them she had smiled.
No relatives visited Christoph Probst. His wife, who had just had their third child, was in the hospital. Neither she nor any members of his family even knew that he was on trial or that he had been sentenced to death. While his faith in God had always been deep and unwavering, he had never committed to a certain faith. On the eve of his death, a Catholic priest admitted him into the church in articulo mortis, at the point of death. “Now,” he said, “my death will be easy and joyful.”
That afternoon, the prison guards permitted Hans, Sophie, and Christoph to have one last visit together. Sophie was then led to the guillotine. One observer described her as she walked to her death: “Without turning a hair, without flinching.” Christoph Probst was next. Hans Scholl was last; just before he was beheaded, Hans cried out: “Long live freedom!”
Unfortunately, they were not the last to die. The Gestapo's investigation was relentless. Later tried and executed were Alex Schmorell (age 25), Willi Graf (age 25), and Kurt Huber (age 49). Students at the University of Hamburg were either executed or sent to concentration camps.
Today, every German knows the story of The White Rose. A square at the University of Munich is named after Hans and Sophie Scholl. And there are streets, squares, and schools all over Germany named for the members of The White Rose. The German movie The White Rose is now found in video stores in Germany and the United States. Richard Hansen sums up the story of The White Rose:
In the vogue words of the time, the Scholls and their friends represented the “other” Germany, the land of poets and thinkers, in contrast to the Germany that was reverting to barbarism and trying to take the world with it. What they were and what they did would have been “other” in any society at any time. What they did transcended the easy division of good-German/bad-German and lifted them above the nationalism of time-bound events. Their actions made them enduring symbols of the struggle, universal and timeless, for the freedom of the human spirit wherever and whenever it is threatened.
Sources: The Future of Freedom Foundation. Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
PHOTO SOURCE: http://verbewarp.blogspot.com.au/2012_02_01_archive.html
|PHOTO SOURCE: http://www.ascensionearth2012.org/2014/01/sophie-scholl-excecuted-by-nazis.html|
|Hans Scholl (left), Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst, leaders of the White Rose resistance organization. Munich 1942|
PLEASE SEE THIS VIDEO:
Opposition to the Nazis - Sophie Scholl
VIDEO SOURCE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZJXLZdnhCI