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El grupo antinazi de la rosa blanca

El grupo antinazi de la rosa blanca


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En la primavera de 1942 supimos del arresto y ejecución de diez o doce comunistas. Y mi hermano (Hans Scholl) dijo: "En nombre del valor cívico y cristiano se debe hacer algo". Sophie conocía los riesgos. Fritz Hartnagel me habló de una conversación en mayo de 1942. Sophie le pidió mil marcos, pero no quiso decirle por qué. Él le advirtió que la resistencia podría costarle tanto la cabeza como el cuello. Ella le dijo: "Soy consciente de eso". Sophie quería el dinero para comprar una imprenta para publicar los folletos antinazis.

La elección del nombre "Rosa Blanca" no se explica fácilmente. La rosa como símbolo del secreto se les podría haber ocurrido, y "blanco" podría haber reflejado el hecho de que sus volantes no estaban inspirados en ningún color de pensamiento político, sino en un amplio humanismo ... El grupo no tenía deseos de arrojar bombas. , o causar cualquier daño a la vida humana. Querían influir en la mente de la gente contra el nazismo y el militarismo.

La Rosa Blanca, cuyos líderes eran Sophie Scholl y su hermano Hans, estudiantes de la Universidad de Munich, quienes imprimieron una serie de panfletos clandestinos condenando el dominio nazi y pidiendo resistencia. Junto con varios estudiantes de ideas afines, todos inspirados por su fe cristiana y su compromiso con los ideales humanistas, distribuyeron estos folletos en Alemania y Austria.

Uno de los muchos grupos que se parecen entre sí tanto en espíritu como en acción fue el de los Scholl (hermano y hermana) y sus amigos; en 1942 y 1943 prepararon y distribuyeron folletos en Munich pidiendo resistencia al gobierno y la guerra. Aunque se dieron cuenta de que sus actividades difícilmente podrían causar un daño significativo al régimen, estaban dispuestos a sacrificarse. Es posible que en secreto esperaran producir mejores resultados, pero principalmente estaban dispuestos a arriesgar sus vidas por la causa.

Un pequeño grupo de estudiantes de Munich ... habló con vehemencia, no solo contra el régimen, sino también contra la indolencia moral y el entumecimiento del pueblo alemán. Bajo el nombre de White Rose emitieron llamamientos y pintaron consignas en las paredes pidiendo un levantamiento contra Hitler. También establecieron vínculos con estudiantes de ideas afines en Berlín, Stuttgart, Hamburgo y Viena ... Sus motivos estaban entre los más simples y, lamentablemente, los más raros de todos: un sentido del bien y el mal y la determinación de actuar.

Utilizando pequeñas máquinas duplicadoras, los estudiantes desafiaron un aparato estatal enormemente poderoso. La contraseña White Rose fue diseñada para simbolizar un espíritu cristiano que amaba todo lo que era noble y hermoso y se oponía a la "dictadura del mal" en la Alemania nacionalsocialista. A mediados de febrero de 1943, los Scholl, ayudados por otros estudiantes, participaron en una manifestación en las calles de Munich, la primera protesta de este tipo en el Tercer Reich.

Todos los miembros de la Rosa Blanca compartían un profundo amor por la filosofía alemana y utilizaron ideas de la herencia para desahogar su odio hacia los nazis ... La Rosa Blanca era valiente y no violenta, y resistió de la única manera que podía: con palabras. Distribuyeron folletos idealistas y románticos en los que se pedía al pueblo alemán que se levantara contra la represión y la violencia.

Durante el transporte al frente, su tren se había detenido durante unos minutos en una estación polaca. A lo largo del terraplén vio mujeres y niñas inclinadas y haciendo trabajos pesados ​​de hombres con picos. Llevaban la estrella de David amarilla en sus blusas. Hans se deslizó por la ventanilla de su coche y se acercó. La primera del grupo era una chica joven, demacrada, de manos pequeñas y delicadas y un rostro hermoso e inteligente que mostraba una expresión de dolor indescriptible. ¿Tenía algo que pudiera darle? Recordó su Ración de Hierro, una barra de chocolate, pasas y nueces, y se la metió en el bolsillo. La niña lo tiró al suelo a sus pies con un gesto acosado pero infinitamente orgulloso. Lo recogió, sonrió y dijo: "Quería hacer algo para complacerte". Luego se inclinó, cogió una margarita y la colocó junto con el paquete a sus pies. El tren empezaba a moverse y Hans tuvo que dar un par de saltos largos para volver a subir. Desde la ventana pudo ver que la niña estaba quieta, mirando el tren que partía, la flor blanca en su cabello.

Nada es tan indigno de una nación civilizada como dejarse "gobernar" sin oposición por una camarilla irresponsable que ha cedido al instinto de base. Es cierto que hoy todo alemán honesto se avergüenza de su gobierno. ¿Quién de nosotros tiene alguna concepción de las dimensiones de la vergüenza que nos sobrevendrá a nosotros y a nuestros hijos cuando un día el velo haya caído de nuestros ojos y el más horrible de los crímenes, crímenes que superan infinitamente toda medida humana, alcance la luz del día? Si el pueblo alemán ya está tan corrompido y aplastado espiritualmente que no levanta la mano, confiando frívolamente en una fe cuestionable en el orden legítimo de la historia; si renuncian al principio supremo del hombre, aquello que lo eleva por encima de todas las demás criaturas de Dios, su libre albedrío; si abandonan la voluntad de actuar decisivamente y hacen girar la rueda de la historia y así la someten a su propia decisión racional; si están tan desprovistos de toda individualidad, ya han avanzado tanto en el camino de convertirse en una masa cobarde y sin espíritu, entonces, sí, merecen su caída ... Ofrezca resistencia pasiva-resistencia, dondequiera que esté, prevenga la propagación de esta máquina de guerra atea antes de que sea demasiado tarde, antes de que las últimas ciudades, como Colonia, hayan quedado reducidas a escombros, y antes de que el último joven de la nación haya dado su sangre en algún campo de batalla por la arrogancia de un subhumano. No olvide que todo pueblo merece el régimen que está dispuesto a soportar.

La resistencia pasiva comúnmente se refiere a acciones de protesta no violenta o resistencia a la autoridad. La característica central es la elección consciente de los actores de abstenerse de una respuesta violenta incluso frente a una agresión violenta. El término se hizo de uso común durante la lucha por la independencia en la India entre las décadas de 1920 y 1948. Ha sido ampliamente utilizado por grupos que carecen de autoridad o posición formal y, a veces, ha sido llamado el arma de los débiles ... La resistencia pasiva tiene una larga y historia variada ... Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) articuló su llamado a la desobediencia civil con su acto de denegación de impuestos durante la Guerra de México en la década de 1840. Los sufragistas realizaron manifestaciones en las principales ciudades de Estados Unidos y Gran Bretaña en los primeros años del siglo XX; algunos participaron en huelgas de hambre.

La resistencia pasiva ganó un amplio reconocimiento público en los Estados Unidos cuando el movimiento de derechos civiles explotó en las décadas de 1950 y 1960. A lo largo de los años del movimiento, se utilizaron técnicas de resistencia pasiva tanto para afirmar una posición moral sobre los derechos y la igualdad como para aplicar presión económica y política. Martin Luther King Jr. se basó en Gandhi y su propia tradición cristiana para formular una estrategia de no violencia. Como los satyagrahis de Gandhi, los activistas de derechos civiles marcharon pacífica y públicamente en Birmingham, Alabama, en Selma, Alabama y en otros lugares. También aceptaron sobre sí mismos los costos de sus acciones, incluidas la incomodidad, el arresto, las golpizas e incluso la muerte.

El acusado Hans Scholl ocupó sus pensamientos durante mucho tiempo con la situación política. Llegó a la conclusión de que, al igual que en 1918, así también después de la toma del poder por los nacionalsocialistas en 1933, no era la mayoría de las masas alemanas sino los intelectuales en particular quienes habían fracasado políticamente.

Por lo tanto, decidió preparar y distribuir folletos destinados a llevar sus ideas a las amplias masas populares. Compró una máquina duplicadora y, con la ayuda de un amigo, Alexander Schmorell, con quien había hablado a menudo de sus opiniones políticas, adquirió una máquina de escribir. Luego redactó el primer folleto de la Rosa Blanca y afirma, sin ayuda de nadie, haber preparado alrededor de un centenar de copias y haberlas enviado por correo a las direcciones elegidas de la guía telefónica de Munich. Al hacerlo, seleccionó a personas de círculos académicos en particular, pero también a propietarios de restaurantes, quienes, esperaba, difundirían el contenido de los folletos de boca en boca.

Estos panfletos sediciosos contienen ataques al nacionalsocialismo y a sus partidos político-culturales en particular; además, contienen declaraciones sobre las presuntas atrocidades del nacionalsocialismo, a saber, el presunto asesinato de judíos y la presunta deportación forzada de los polacos.

Desde la conquista de Polonia, trescientos mil judíos han sido asesinados en este país de la forma más bestial. Aquí vemos el crimen más espantoso contra la dignidad humana, un crimen sin paralelo en toda la historia ... Todos los hijos varones de las casas de la nobleza entre las edades de quince y veinte fueron transportados a campos de concentración en Alemania y condenados a trabajo forzado, y todas las niñas de este grupo de edad fueron enviadas a Noruega, ¡a los burdeles de las SS! ¿Por qué decirte estas cosas, si eres plenamente consciente de ellas, o si no de ellas, de otros crímenes igualmente graves cometidos por esta espantosa subhumanidad? Porque aquí tocamos un problema que nos involucra profundamente y nos obliga a todos a pensar. ¿Por qué el pueblo alemán se comporta con tanta apatía ante todos estos abominables crímenes, crímenes tan indignos de la raza humana? Casi nadie piensa en eso. Se acepta como un hecho y se olvida. El pueblo alemán sigue durmiendo en su sueño estúpido y aburrido y anima a estos criminales fascistas; les dan la oportunidad de continuar con sus depredaciones; y por supuesto que lo hacen ... Hasta el estallido de la guerra, la mayor parte del pueblo alemán estaba cegado; los nazis no se mostraron en su verdadero aspecto. Pero ahora, ahora que los hemos reconocido por lo que son, debe ser el único y primer deber, el deber más sagrado de todo alemán destruir estas bestias.

Alemanes! ¿Quieren usted y sus hijos sufrir el mismo destino que les sucedió a los judíos? ¿Quieres que te juzguen con los mismos estándares que tus traductores? ¿Seremos para siempre la nación que es odiada y rechazada por toda la humanidad? No. Distíngase del gángsterismo nacionalsocialista. Demuestre con sus hechos que piensa lo contrario. Está por comenzar una nueva guerra de liberación. La mayor parte de la nación luchará de nuestro lado. Quítate el manto de indiferencia que te envuelve. ¡Toma la decisión antes de que sea demasiado tarde! No crean en la propaganda nacionalsocialista que ha llevado el miedo al bolchevismo hasta sus huesos. No crea que el bienestar de Alemania esté vinculado a la victoria del nacionalsocialismo para bien o para mal. Un régimen criminal no puede lograr una victoria. Sepárate en el tiempo de todo lo relacionado con el nacionalsocialismo. Como consecuencia, se dictará un juicio terrible pero justo a los que permanecieron ocultos, que fueron cobardes y vacilantes ... Los diseños imperialistas de poder, sin importar de qué lado vengan, deben ser neutralizados para siempre ... Todos El poder centralizado, como el que ejerce el Estado prusiano en Alemania y en Europa, debe ser eliminado ... La Alemania venidera debe ser federalista. La clase trabajadora debe ser liberada de sus degradadas condiciones de esclavitud mediante una forma razonable de socialismo ... La libertad de expresión, la libertad de religión, la protección de los ciudadanos individuales de la voluntad arbitraria de los regímenes criminales de violencia: estas serán las bases de la Nueva Europa.

La acusada, Sophie Scholl, ya en el verano de 1942 participó en discusiones políticas, en las que ella y su hermano Hans Scholl llegaron a la conclusión de que Alemania había perdido la guerra. Confiesa haber participado en la preparación y distribución de los folletos en 1943. Junto con su hermano redactó el texto de los sediciosos Folletos de la Resistencia en Alemania. Además, participó en la compra de papel, sobres y plantillas y, junto con su hermano, preparó los duplicados del folleto. Colocó las cartas preparadas en varios buzones y participó en la distribución de folletos en Munich. Acompañó a su hermano a la universidad, allí se la observó en el acto de esparcir los folletos.

¿Cómo podemos esperar que prevalezca la justicia cuando casi nadie está dispuesto a entregarse individualmente a una causa justa ... Es un día soleado tan espléndido y tengo que irme? Pero cuántos tienen que morir en el campo de batalla en estos días, cuántas vidas jóvenes y prometedoras. ¿Qué importa mi muerte si por nuestros actos miles son advertidos y alertados? Entre el alumnado seguramente habrá una revuelta.

Preguntas para estudiantes

Pregunta 1: Según Elisabeth Scholl (fuente 2), ¿por qué Hans Scholl estableció el White Rose Group en la primavera de 1942?

Pregunta 2: Lea las fuentes 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 y 14. Describa los métodos utilizados por la Rosa Blanca en un intento de derrocar al gobierno nazi.

Pregunta 3: En sus folletos, el grupo de la Rosa Blanca dejó en claro que creían en la "resistencia pasiva". ¿Qué significa esto y por qué se ha descrito como el "arma de los débiles"? ¿Puede nombrar otros grupos que hayan utilizado esta estrategia? Le ayudará leer la fuente 13 antes de responder esta pregunta.

Pregunta 4: ¿Qué querían decir los autores del primer folleto (fuente 12) con las palabras: "No olviden que todo pueblo merece el régimen que está dispuesto a soportar".

Pregunta 5: En los primeros meses de 1942, varios de sus miembros del grupo de la Rosa Blanca fueron enviados a trabajar como personal médico con las tropas alemanas en la Unión Soviética. ¿Qué vieron en su camino a la Unión Soviética que los animó a producir su segundo folleto? Le ayudará a leer las fuentes 10 y 15, antes de responder esta pregunta.

Pregunta 6: Lea la fuente 15. ¿Hay algo en esta fuente que no crea que sea completamente exacto? ¿Por qué incluyeron esto en el folleto?

Pregunta 7: Describa el tipo de sociedad que el grupo de la Rosa Blanca quería lograr después de la derrota de los nazis. Deberá leer la fuente 16 antes de responder esta pregunta.

Pregunta 8: El historiador Peter Hoffmann ha afirmado: "Aunque se dieron cuenta de que sus actividades difícilmente podrían causar un daño significativo al régimen, estaban dispuestos a sacrificarse. En secreto, pueden haber esperado producir mejores resultados, pero principalmente estaban dispuestos a arriesgar sus vidas por la causa ". ¿Las últimas palabras de Sophie Scholl (fuente 19) apoyan las opiniones de Hoffmann sobre el grupo de la Rosa Blanca?

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Resistencia al Holocausto: La rosa blanca: una lección de disensión

La fecha era el 22 de febrero de 1943. Hans Scholl y su hermana Sophie, junto con su mejor amigo, Christoph Probst, estaban programados para ser ejecutados por funcionarios nazis esa tarde. Los guardias de la prisión quedaron tan impresionados con la calma y la valentía de los presos ante la muerte inminente que violaron las normas al permitirles reunirse por última vez. Hans, un estudiante de medicina en la Universidad de Munich, tenía 24 años. Sophie, una estudiante, tenía 21 años. Christoph, una estudiante de medicina, tenía 22 años.

Esta es la historia de La Rosa Blanca. Es una lección de disensión. Es una historia de valentía, de principios, de honor. Se detalla en tres libros, La rosa blanca (1970) de Inge Scholl, Una noble traición (1979) de Richard Hanser, y Una derrota honorable (1994) de Anton Gill.

Hans y Sophie Scholl eran adolescentes alemanes en la década de 1930. Como otros jóvenes alemanes, se unieron con entusiasmo a las Juventudes Hitlerianas. Creían que Adolf Hitler estaba llevando a Alemania y al pueblo alemán a la grandeza.

Sus padres no estaban tan entusiasmados. Su padre, Robert Scholl, les dijo a sus hijos que Hitler y los nazis estaban conduciendo a Alemania por un camino de destrucción. Más tarde, en 1942, cumpliría condena en una prisión nazi por decirle a su secretaria: "¡La guerra!" Ya está perdido. Este Hitler es el azote de Dios para la humanidad, y si la guerra no termina pronto, los rusos estarán sentados en Berlín. Gradualmente, Hans y Sophie comenzaron a darse cuenta de que su padre tenía razón. Llegaron a la conclusión de que, en nombre de la libertad y el bien común de la nación alemana, Hitler y los nazis estaban esclavizando y destruyendo al pueblo alemán.

También sabían que la disidencia abierta era imposible en la Alemania nazi, especialmente después del comienzo de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. La mayoría de los alemanes adoptaron la posición tradicional de que una vez que estalla la guerra, es deber del ciudadano apoyar a las tropas apoyando al gobierno. Pero Hans y Sophie Scholl creían de manera diferente. Creían que era deber de un ciudadano, incluso en tiempos de guerra, oponerse a un régimen maligno, especialmente cuando está enviando a la muerte a cientos de miles de sus ciudadanos.

Los hermanos Scholl comenzaron a compartir sus sentimientos con algunos de sus amigos, Christoph Probst, Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graf, así como con Kurt Huber, su profesor de psicología y filosofía.


Hans Scholl (izquierda), Sophie Scholl y Christoph Probst, líderes de la organización de resistencia White Rose. Múnich 1942 (Foto del USHMM)

Un día de 1942, aparecieron repentinamente en la Universidad de Munich copias de un folleto titulado "La rosa blanca". El folleto contenía un ensayo anónimo que decía que el sistema nazi había encarcelado lentamente al pueblo alemán y ahora lo estaba destruyendo. El régimen nazi se había vuelto malvado. Era hora, decía el ensayo, de que los alemanes se levantaran y resistieran la tiranía de su propio gobierno. Al final del ensayo, apareció la siguiente solicitud: & ldquoHaga tantas copias de este folleto como pueda y distribúyalas. & Rdquo

El folleto causó un tremendo revuelo entre el alumnado. Fue la primera vez que surgió en Alemania la disidencia interna contra el régimen nazi. El ensayo había sido escrito y distribuido en secreto por Hans Scholl y sus amigos.

Poco después apareció otro folleto. Y luego otro. Y otro. Finalmente, fueron seis folletos publicados y distribuidos por Hans y Sophie Scholl y sus amigos, cuatro bajo el título & ldquoThe White Rose & rdquo y dos con el título & ldquoLeaflets of the Resistance & rdquo. Su publicación tuvo lugar periódicamente entre 1942 y 1943, interrumpida por algunos meses en los que Hans y sus amigos fueron enviados temporalmente al Frente Oriental para luchar contra los rusos.

Los miembros de La Rosa Blanca, por supuesto, tuvieron que actuar con cautela. El régimen nazi mantuvo un control férreo sobre la sociedad alemana. La disidencia interna fue aplastada rápida y eficientemente por la Gestapo. Los Scholl y sus amigos sabían lo que les pasaría si los atrapaban.

La gente empezó a recibir copias de los folletos por correo. Los estudiantes de la Universidad de Hamburgo comenzaron a copiarlos y distribuirlos. Comenzaron a aparecer copias en diferentes partes de Alemania y Austria. Además, como señala Hanser, los miembros de La Rosa Blanca no se limitaron a los folletos. Los grafitis comenzaron a aparecer en letras grandes en las calles y edificios de todo Munich: & ldquoDown with Hitler! . . . Hitler, el asesino en masa! & Rdquo y & ldquoFreiheit! . . . ¡Freiheit! . . . ¡Libertad! . . . ¡Libertad! & Rdquo

La Gestapo se puso frenética. Sabía que los autores tenían que conseguir grandes cantidades de papel, sobres y franqueo. Sabía que estaban usando una máquina duplicadora. Pero a pesar de los mejores esfuerzos de la Gestapo & rsquos, no pudo atrapar a los perpetradores.

Un día, 18 de febrero de 1943, la suerte de Hans & rsquo y Sophie & rsquos se acabó. Fueron sorprendidos dejando panfletos en la Universidad de Munich y arrestados. Una búsqueda reveló evidencia de la participación de Christoph Probst & rsquos, y él también fue arrestado pronto. Los tres fueron acusados ​​de traición.

El 22 de febrero, cuatro días después de su detención, comenzó su juicio. El juez presidente, Roland Freisler, presidente del Tribunal Popular del Gran Reich Alemán, había sido enviado desde Berlín. Hanser escribe:

Freisler y los demás acusadores no pudieron entender qué les había sucedido a estos jóvenes alemanes. Después de todo, todos procedían de agradables familias alemanas. Todos habían asistido a escuelas alemanas. Habían sido miembros de las Juventudes Hitlerianas. ¿Cómo pudieron resultar traidores? ¿Qué había retorcido y deformado tanto sus mentes?

Sophie Scholl sorprendió a todos en la sala del tribunal cuando le comentó a Freisler: & ldquoAlguien, después de todo, tenía que empezar. Lo que escribimos y dijimos también lo creen muchos otros. Ellos simplemente no se atreven a expresarse como lo hicimos nosotros ”. Más adelante en el proceso, ella le dijo:“ Sabes que la guerra está perdida. ¿Por qué no tienes el coraje de afrontarlo?

En medio del juicio, Robert y Magdalene Scholl intentaron ingresar a la sala del tribunal. Magdalena le dijo al guardia: "Pero yo soy la madre de dos de los acusados". El guardia respondió: "Deberías haberlos educado mejor". Robert Scholl entró a la fuerza en la sala del tribunal y le dijo al tribunal que estaba allí para defender a sus hijos. . Lo detuvieron y lo escoltaron a la fuerza al exterior. Toda la sala lo escuchó gritar: "¡Un día habrá otra clase de justicia!" ¡Un día pasarán a la historia! & Rdquo

Robert Freisler dictó sentencia sobre los tres acusados: Culpables de traición. Su sentencia: Muerte.

Fueron escoltados de regreso a la prisión de Stadelheim, donde los guardias permitieron que Hans y Sophie tuvieran una última visita con sus padres. Hans se reunió con ellos primero y luego con Sophie. Hanser escribe:

Ningún familiar visitó a Christoph Probst. Su esposa, que acababa de tener su tercer hijo, estaba en el hospital. Ni ella ni ningún miembro de su familia sabían siquiera que estaba siendo juzgado o que había sido condenado a muerte. Si bien su fe en Dios siempre había sido profunda e inquebrantable, nunca se había comprometido con una fe determinada. La víspera de su muerte, un sacerdote católico lo admitió en la iglesia in articulo mortis, a punto de morir. "Ahora", dijo, "la muerte será fácil y gozosa".

Esa tarde, los guardias de la prisión permitieron que Hans, Sophie y Christoph tuvieran una última visita juntos. Luego llevaron a Sophie a la guillotina. Un observador la describió mientras caminaba hacia su muerte: "Sin mover un cabello, sin inmutarse". Christoph Probst fue el siguiente. Hans Scholl fue el último justo antes de ser decapitado, Hans gritó: "¡Viva la libertad!"

Desafortunadamente, no fueron los últimos en morir. La investigación de la Gestapo & rsquos fue implacable. Posteriormente fueron juzgados y ejecutados Alex Schmorell (25 años), Willi Graf (25 años) y Kurt Huber (49 años). Los estudiantes de la Universidad de Hamburgo fueron ejecutados o enviados a campos de concentración.

Hoy, todos los alemanes conocen la historia de La rosa blanca. Una plaza de la Universidad de Munich lleva el nombre de Hans y Sophie Scholl. Y hay calles, plazas y escuelas en toda Alemania que llevan el nombre de los miembros de La Rosa Blanca. La película alemana The White Rose ahora se encuentra en tiendas de videos en Alemania y Estados Unidos. Richard Hanser resume la historia de La rosa blanca:

Fuente: Fundación El Futuro de la Libertad. Hornberger es fundador y presidente de The Future of Freedom Foundation.


White Rose: los activistas antinazis alemanes decapitados en 1943

En toda Alemania y especialmente en Múnich, la ciudad donde estuvieron más activos, la gente recuerda y honra, al nombrar calles, monumentos e incluso un premio literario superior en honor a los hermanos Scholl y su audaz grupo de protesta White Rose. Para muchos alemanes y para muchas otras personas en todo el mundo ahora, son un símbolo de valentía y convicción moral frente a opresores inmensamente poderosos como el gobierno nazi de Alemania.

No serían cómplices, no podrían guardar silencio. Llamaron a la maldad, la brutalidad y el fascismo ciego y engañado del Tercer Reich hasta el momento en que la guillotina finalmente puso fin a sus gritos de razón, paz y libertad.

En secreto, un puñado de estudiantes y un profesor de la Universidad Ludwig Maximilian de Munich y algunos otros partidarios escribieron siete folletos (cinco distribuidos por el grupo, uno después de su captura y uno inédito) declarando los horrores del gobierno nazi y exigiendo que que el pueblo alemán reconozca y detenga el terror nazi. El grupo usó un lenguaje audaz para denunciar al gobierno como se ve a continuación,

“Porque a través de su comportamiento apático les da a estos hombres malvados la oportunidad de actuar como lo hacen & # 8230. ¡él mismo es el culpable de que se haya producido! Todo hombre quiere ser exonerado & # 8230. ¡Pero no puede ser exonerado, es culpable, culpable, culpable! & # 8230 ahora que hemos reconocido [a los nazis] por lo que son, debe ser el único y primer deber, el El deber más sagrado de todo alemán es destruir estas bestias ”(Fuente: wikipedia.org).

Esta es una cita del segundo folleto escrito, impreso y distribuido por White Rose. Muestra la intensidad con la que se opusieron al régimen nazi y su exigencia de que los alemanes vean más allá de la propaganda y vean la verdad.

Los miembros de este grupo fueron Hans y Sophie Scholl, y Christoph Probst (los primeros miembros en ser juzgados y ejecutados), Kurt Huber, Hans Conrad Leipelt y Alex Schmorell (quienes también fueron ejecutados), Rudi Alt, Helmut Bauer, Lieselotte Berndl, Heinrich Bollinger, Harald Dohrn, Manfred Eickemeyer, Hubert Furtwängler, Wilhelm Geyer, Willi Graf, Heinrich Guter, Falk Harnack, Marie-Luise Jahn, Wolfgang Jaeger, Traute Lafrenz, Gisela Schertling, Josede Jürgenüstein .

Eran católicos, ortodoxos, luteranos, budistas, algunos inspirados por la antroposofía, las filosofías orientales o por el terror del tiempo dedicado a luchar en Stalingrado. Alexander Schmorell, quien escribió gran parte del material del grupo, fue incluso canonizado como Nuevo Mártir por la Iglesia Ortodoxa, con su imagen sagrada que representa una cruz y una rosa blanca en su mano.

Alexander Schmorell. Por Angelika Knoop-Probst, Nicoasc & # 8211 CC BY 3.0

El primer folleto que publicó el grupo era el texto de un sermón del obispo August von Galen que Hans Scholl había leído en 1941 y que Sophie Scholl había obtenido permiso para usar. El obispo escribió mordazmente sobre los nazis, especialmente por sus prácticas de eutanasia por el bien de la eugenesia y la creencia de que estaban mejorando la raza alemana. White Rose publicó su primer artículo en el verano de 1942. Durante el año siguiente, publicaron cuatro folletos más, dejándolos en cabinas telefónicas públicas, enviándolos por correo a colegas académicos y enviándolos a otras universidades del país.

Varios miembros del grupo sirvieron en el frente oriental. Graf había visto los guetos judíos establecidos por los nazis en Polonia. Schmorell, que hablaba ruso con fluidez, pudo escuchar historias de rusos y otros eslavos sobre crímenes de guerra y la violencia inhumana del ejército alemán y las Waffen SS. Todas estas experiencias se suman a la convicción moral del Grupo y explica la retórica ardiente de sus folletos.

Willi Graf

En enero de 1943, White Rose imprimió entre 6.000 y 9.000 copias de su quinto folleto. El 18 de febrero de ese año, Hans y Sophie colocaron pilas de esta literatura en su universidad justo antes de que terminaran las clases. Mientras Sophie empujaba una pila de una barandilla superior hacia el atrio abierto de abajo, un conserje la vio. Hans y ella fueron denunciados y arrestados por la Gestapo. Una investigación rápida de los artículos en su persona y en su hogar condujo al arresto de la mayoría de los otros miembros.

En una época en Alemania donde la libertad de expresión no era un derecho, cuando la disidencia estaba prohibida, cuando Total War era la única mentalidad aceptable, estos jóvenes estudiantes y activistas sabían a lo que se enfrentaban.

El 22 de febrero de 1943, los Scholl y Probst fueron juzgados en el Volksgericht, en un "tribunal del pueblo" por delitos políticos. Fue un espectáculo de prueba para hacer un ejemplo de ellos.

Rápidamente fueron declarados culpables y, el mismo día, los tres fueron decapitados por guillotina. Eran idealistas comprometidos y verdaderos creyentes hasta el último.

Cuando la hoja cayó, Hans gritó: "¡Que viva la libertad!"

¿Cómo podemos esperar que prevalezca la justicia cuando casi nadie está dispuesto a entregarse individualmente a una causa justa? Un día tan hermoso y soleado, y tengo que irme, pero ¿qué importa mi muerte, si a través de nosotros, miles de personas se despiertan y se ponen en acción?

-Sophie Scholl & # 8217s últimas palabras

Schmorell y el profesor Huber fueron decapitados el 13 de julio de 1943. Leipelt sufrió la misma suerte el 29 de enero de 1945 después de ser sorprendido distribuyendo el sexto folleto del grupo en Hamburgo. La esposa de Huber y # 8217 recibió una factura por 600 marcos. El cargo fue por "uso de la guillotina".

Profesor Kurt Huber. Por Bundesarchiv & # 8211 CC BY-SA 3.0 de

El sexto folleto que Leipelt había estado distribuyendo había sido sacado de contrabando de Alemania después de los juicios y puesto en manos de las fuerzas aliadas. Procedieron a lanzar por aire millones de copias sobre Alemania como una campaña de propaganda antinazi que precedió a su invasión. El Grupo reconoció la inevitabilidad de una derrota alemana que vio el creciente poder de la Unión Soviética, Gran Bretaña y Estados Unidos y los límites de la máquina de guerra de Alemania.

A través de obras de teatro, óperas, libros, películas y los corazones y las mentes del pueblo alemán, el legado de White Rose sigue vivo como una gran inspiración. Por ejemplo, Hans y Sophie Scholl fueron elegidos como algunos de los mejores alemanes que jamás hayan existido.

La película de 2005 Escuela Sophie: Die Letzten Tage(los últimos días), basado en entrevistas con testigos y transcripciones oficiales, es una mirada convincente a la investigación y los juicios.


El movimiento de oposición de la rosa blanca

En 1942 Hans Scholl, un estudiante de medicina en la Universidad de Munich, su hermana Sophie Scholl, Christoph Probst, Willi Graf y Alexander Schmorell fundaron el movimiento "White Rose", uno de los pocos grupos alemanes que se pronunció contra las políticas genocidas nazis.

Este contenido está disponible en los siguientes idiomas

La tiranía nazi y la apatía de los ciudadanos alemanes frente a los "abominables crímenes" del régimen indignaron a los idealistas miembros de la "Rosa Blanca". Muchos de ellos habían oído hablar del asesinato en masa de judíos polacos como soldado en el frente oriental, Hans Scholl también había visto de primera mano el maltrato de los judíos trabajadores forzados y había oído hablar de la deportación de un gran número de polacos a campos de concentración.

El grupo se expandió a una organización de estudiantes en Hamburgo, Friburgo, Berlín y Viena. Corriendo un gran riesgo, los miembros de la “Rosa Blanca” transportaban y enviaban por correo folletos mimeografiados que denunciaban al régimen. En su intento por detener el esfuerzo bélico, abogaron por el sabotaje de la industria de armamentos. “No nos callaremos”, escribieron a sus compañeros de estudios. “Somos tu mala conciencia. The White Rose will not leave you in peace!" Because the students were aware that only military force could end Nazi domination, they limited their aims to achieve “a renewal from within of the severely wounded German spirit.”

After the German army’s defeat at Stalingrad in late January 1943, the Scholls distributed pamphlets urging students in Munich to rebel. But in the next month, a university janitor who saw them with the pamphlets betrayed them to the Gestapo (German secret state police).

The regime executed Hans and Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst on February 22, 1943. Officials also eventually arrested and executed philosophy professor Kurt Huber, who had guided the movement, and the rest of the “White Rose” members.

At his trial Huber remained loyal to the eighteenth century German philosopher Immanuel Kant’s ethical teaching, as he concluded his defense with the words of Kant’s disciple Johann Gottlieb Fichte:

And thou shalt act as if
On thee and on thy deed
Depended the fate of all Germany,
And thou alone must answer for it.


White Rose Resistance to Hitler's Regime, 1942-1943

The students were certainly successful in acting within their highest moral standards despite the slim chances of succeeding, but they were not successful in spreading widespread opposition to the regime.

Although one member of the White Rose survived the war, the campaign ended when Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst were executed.

Although the campaign was generally unsuccessful, it did grow within Munich and then expand to other cities in Germany. What started as a group of two or three students turned into a campaign of about three hundred students.

Database Narrative

Amidst the omnipresence of violence during World War II, nonviolent protest is often overlooked or unheard of. However, there were several resistance campaigns that took place in Germany, led by its own citizens. One such campaign in the period of 1942-1943 was the resistance initiated by the White Rose society. Although they were ultimately unsuccessful, the members of the White Rose became an influential example of student resistance against repressive regimes.

The main leaders of the campaign, Hans Scholl, Alex Schmorell, and Sophie Scholl, were not all anti-Nazi throughout their entire lives. Schmorell’s family was always opposed to the Nazi regime, but the young Scholls had originally believed in Hitler’s values and even joined the Hitler Youth despite their father’s disapproval. Gradually, Hans and Sophie began to sympathize with their father’s views of the regime, especially when they observed harsh treatment and dehumanization of their Jewish friends. Breaking off from the common theory that citizens should support their troops in war no matter what the circumstances, the young Scholl siblings thought that it was the duty of citizens to stand up against what they perceived as an evil regime, even in wartime, especially when it was killing such a huge quantity of its own citizens. Hans tried to alter the direction of the movement from within the Hitler Youth, but was immediately thrown out and even sent to court.

Organized resistance was essentially out of the question since the Gestapo was permitted to listen to any phone call, open any mail, or search anyone’s person, all without reason. Speaking openly and honestly with friends was also rare, since people never knew who was a Nazi spy, or which one of their friends or neighbors would turn them in. This is not to suggest that opposition of the regime was nonexistent on the contrary, we now know that there were over three hundred citizens who openly disagreed with the Nazi mindset, but groups of them were so small and isolated that it was difficult to know of each other and therefore initiate a larger movement.

George Wittenstein, another member of the White Rose, and Alex Schmorell met in 1938 on an obligatory two-year army service where they were in the same training school for medics. By 1939, most of the members of the White Rose were enrolled at the University of Munich. However, shortly after the war started, most of the medical students were drafted and required to attend classes in uniform. It was in this student company that Wittenstein introduced Schmorell and Hans Scholl.

Within the first couple of months at the University of Munich, Hans Scholl created a group of intellectual medicine students that convened at nights to talk about cultural subjects, and would even invite professors, writers, and musicians to come lecture to the group. This group, which had fostered deep friendships through similarities in profound subjects beyond the common interest in medicine, initially avoided the topic of politics altogether. However, as the regime became increasingly oppressive, the group realized the necessity of taking action.

In the early summer of 1942, Hans Scholl and Alex Schmorell wrote the first four of six opposition leaflets, called the “Leaves of the White Rose.” These leaflets attacked the Nazi regime and mentioned its crimes, from the mass extermination of Jews, to the dictatorship and the elimination of the personal freedoms of Germany’s citizens. Furthermore, it called the Nazi regime evil, and called for Germans to rise up and resist the oppression of their government. The leaflets also contained quotes from great philosophers and highly esteemed writers, demonstrating how they were clearly aimed at the intellectual public, and especially students and professors. At the bottom of the leaflets was the phrase, “Please make as many copies of this leaflet as you can and distribute them.”

The “Leaves of the White Rose” were left in telephone boxes, mailed to students and professors throughout Germany, and brought by train to spread the White Rose’s beliefs to other regions of the country. Since traveling on trains with such dangerous documents was extremely risky, females began to take on the responsibility of distributing leaflets to other cities because they were less likely to be searched by the Gestapo. Of the first hundred leaflets that the students mailed, thirty-five were given to the Gestapo. However, many of the pamphlets successfully arrived at their destinations, and some even showed up in different parts of Austria.

All four leaflets were written in a relatively short time period, between June 27 and July 12. As far as is known today, Hans Scholl wrote the first and fourth leaflets, while Alex Schmorell wrote the second and third ones. George Wittenstein edited the third and fourth leaflets. The “Leaves of the White Rose” caused a remarkable reaction among the student body, for this resistance literature challenged the regime’s authority and stimulated ideas of opposition among young people.

Sophie Scholl enrolled in the University of Munich shortly following the creation of the first leaflets, and soon learned about the White Rose society. Although Hans originally opposed her participation in the group in an attempt to defend her, he eventually surrendered and allowed her to join. Sophie soon became one of the main leaders of the group. A mutual friend of Hans and Sophie, Christoph Probst, also joined the White Rose around this time, but did not help write the leaflets since he had transferred to the University of Innsbruck.

In the later months of the summer, the University did not know what to do with the medical students they had drafted so they sent them to the Russian front for 3 months to experience medical care under fire, and to work as physician assistants in field hospitals. During this time, Willi Graf, another medical student, befriended Hans and Alex and became an active member of the group once they returned to the University in November. After seeing the treatment of the Russians, the members of the White Rose understood that the only way Germany could be saved was by losing the war, a difficult realization for the students who truly did love their homeland. Once they returned to Germany, their energy increased and they began writing their next leaflet.

When the group returned, their main objective was to increase the size of their campaign and to find willing participants at other universities to continue to spread the group’s message. By this point, bombings over Germany began to take place, and the citizens felt the effects of war thus, they were slightly more willing to voice their opinions against the regime. Around this time, Kurt Huber, a professor of philosophy, psychology, and musicology at the University of Munich joined the campaign.

Although the pamphlets were the main method of opposition by the White Rose, on February 4, 8, and 15, they painted huge slogans on walls throughout Munich, including at the university. The graffiti was short and simple with statements such as: “Freedom!” “Down with Hitler!” and “Hitler the Mass Murderer!”

The fall of Stalingrad in February 1943 was a great turning point in the war and inspired Huber to write the fifth leaflet at the request of Hans. The group accepted the draft, making only minor changes, and sent it out between February 16 and 18. This leaflet took a different tone and was now entitled “Leaflets of the Resistance Movement of Germany,” as was the sixth and final leaflet.

While furious Nazi officials tried to clear away the unexpected call for freedom and justice, the rebellion began to spread, first by jumping to Berlin. A medical student who was friends with Hans took the responsibility of forming a similar resistance group there and brought copies of the leaflets that the group wrote. Inspired by the courage of the White Rose, students also decided to become active in Freiburg. Later, a female student carried a leaflet to Hamburg where yet another group of students took up the responsibility of spreading the resistance even further.

The sixth leaflet was the final one written. On February 18, 1943, Hans and Sophie went to the university with a large suitcase filled with leaflets to distribute. They placed stacks in the hallways minutes before lectures were dismissed, but there were still extra leaflets when finished. Consequently, Hans and Sophie went to the roof and dumped the rest of the suitcase into the court. The two nearly went unnoticed, but were observed by a senior janitor at the university who locked the doors of the building and turned them over to the Gestapo. When a draft of a leaflet that Christoph Probst had written was found in Hans’ pocket, Probst was arrested as well. Within a few days, over eighty people were arrested throughout Germany, some executed and some sent to concentration camps.

On February 22, 1943, a “People’s Court” was opened in Munich and after a trial that lasted barely four hours, Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst were convicted of high treason and sentenced to death. The presiding Judge, Roland Freisler, who had been sent from Berlin, could not understand what had corrupted these German youths. After all, they came from good families, attended German schools, and had been members of the Hitler Youth. Sophie shocked everyone in the courtroom with her response: “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. You know that war is lost. Why don’t you have the courage to face it?”

Hans’ and Sophie’s parents were denied entrance to the trial. However, once escorted back to the prison, the guards permitted the Scholls to reunite for the last time since the guards were so impressed by the siblings’ bravery. The guards also permitted Sophie, Hans, and Christoph to have one last meeting. Once finished, Sophie was led first to the guillotine. A witness described Sophie as unflinching as she walked to her death. The executioner also remarked that he had never seen someone meet the end of life as courageously as she did. Next was Christoph, who shouted, “We will meet each other in a few minutes!” right before his death. Last was Hans, whose last words were simply: “Long live the freedom!” The Nazis were so eager to eliminate this danger to the regime that the news of the incident was not released until after the executions took place.

This was not the end of the killing. Alex Schmorell tried to escape to Switzerland, but had to retreat due to deep snow. He was later arrested during an air raid, after being betrayed by a former girlfriend. A second trial took place on April 19, at which Schmorell, Graf, and Huber were all tried and convicted. Schmorell and Huber were later executed on July 13, 1944, and Graf was executed on October 12. Hundreds of other people connected with the White Rose were arrested and sentenced to various punishments. George Wittenstein was the only man to survive the war. He was tried after attempting to help a Jewish woman escape from Germany, but was found not guilty and was set free.


The White Rose Anti-Nazi Group - History

Hans Scholl (left), Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst, members of the White Rose, in Munich, 1942 two of the group’s leaflets (inset).

AKG-Images/Wittenstein/Newscom (Top) Holocaustresearchproject.Org (Left Leaflet) The Granger Collection, New York (Right Leaflet)

How a group of college students in Nazi Germany risked their lives to defy Hitler’s rule

On Feb. 18, 1943, two students at the University of Munich were arrested and taken into police custody. Hans Scholl, 25, and his sister Sophie, 22, were members of the White Rose, an underground anti-Nazi resistance group founded in 1942 by a handful of students at the University of Munich. The Nazis were committing genocide against the Jews and other “undesirables” in Germany and the parts of Europe it occupied. By discreetly placing anti-Nazi leaflets in public places across Germany, the group hoped to rouse people to action against Adolf Hitler’s totalitarian Nazi regime.

The courageous acts by the Scholls and others in their group—six ended up paying with their lives—only recently began getting attention in the U.S. And the account of their bravery during the darkest days of World War II (1939-45) offers lessons that are still relevant today, according to Annette Dumbach, co-author of the book Sophie Scholl and the White Rose.

“In a world filled with totalitarian tendencies,” says Dumbach, “[the White Rose] story is emblematic for people who fight back in the extreme moments of total state control.” She adds that their actions resonate with young people “who can identify with their struggle, their fumbling, their mistakes, their daring and courage even in the face of death.”

Hitler rose to power in the early 1930s at a time when Germany was in desperate shape (see Timeline). Its defeat in World War I (1914-18) and the harsh conditions imposed on it by the U.S., Britain, and France in the 1919 Treaty of Versailles—including enormous reparation payments to the victors—had left Germany humiliated and impoverished. Its economy only worsened with the worldwide economic depression that followed the 1929 stock market crash.

All this provided fertile ground for Hitler’s radical nationalist ideology. The Nazis (short for National Socialists) promised to stop reparation payments, give all Germans food and jobs, and make them proud to be German again. In 1930, Hitler’s party won 18 percent of the vote in parliament, effectively making it impossible to govern the country without Nazi support. To break the deadlock, President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Hitler chancellor (similar to prime minister) in January 1933.

Less than a month later, Hitler used a fire that destroyed the Reichstag, the parliament building in Berlin, as an excuse to declare a state of emergency and suspend democratic protections like freedom of speech. The Nazis began embedding the idea of a “master race” into the national psyche, elevating Germans to a genetic ideal they called “Aryan” and categorizing non-Aryans as “sub-human.”

Jews, in particular, became the prime scapegoats for Germany’s ills. In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws stripped Jews of their citizenship and political rights, expelled them from the army, and banned them from marrying people of “German blood.” Following two days of state-sanctioned violence against Jews in 1938 that came to be known as Kristallnacht (see box), Jews were banned from public places like universities and theaters and were eventually forced into ghettos.

Hitler’s plans extended beyond Germany and led to the start of World War II in 1939. In an effort to give the German people more “living space,” Hitler annexed Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939. His invasion of Poland in 1939 sparked an all-out war in Europe. By 1942 Germany occupied much of Europe, including France and a chunk of the Soviet Union (see map). Nazi persecution of the Jews was formalized as the “Final Solution,” a plan to systematically murder all of Europe’s 10.5 million Jews. (The Nazis also persecuted and killed millions of others, including Poles, Gypsies, homosexuals, Communists, and the disabled.)


White Rose: The German Anti-Nazi Activists Who Were Beheaded In 1943

Across Germany and especially in Munich, the city where they were most active, people remember and honor, by naming streets, monuments, even a top literary prize after the Scholl siblings and their bold protest group White Rose. To many Germans and to many other people around the world now, they are a symbol of bravery and moral conviction in the face of immensely powerful oppressors like the Nazi government of Germany.

They wouldn’t be complicit, they couldn’t be silent. They called out evil, brutality, and the blind, deluded fascism of the Third Reich right up until the moment the guillotine finally ended their cries for reason, peace, and freedom.

Secretly, a handful of students and one professor from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and a few other supporters wrote seven leaflets (five distributed by the group, one after their capture, and one unpublished) stating the horrors of the Nazi Government and demanding that the German people recognize and to stop the Nazi terror. The group used bold language to denounce the government as seen below,

“For through his apathetic behaviour he gives these evil men the opportunity to act as they do…. he himself is to blame for the fact that it came about at all! Each man wants to be exonerated ….But he cannot be exonerated he is guilty, guilty, guilty!… now that we have recognized [the Nazis] for what they are, it must be the sole and first duty, the holiest duty of every German to destroy these beasts” (Source: wikipedia.org).

This is a quote from the second leaflet written, printed, and distributed by the White Rose. It shows the intensity with which they opposed the Nazi regime and their demand that Germans see beyond the propaganda and see the truth.

The members of this group were Hans and Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst (the first members to be put on trial and executed), Kurt Huber, Hans Conrad Leipelt and Alex Schmorell, (who were also executed), Rudi Alt, Helmut Bauer, Lieselotte Berndl, Heinrich Bollinger, Harald Dohrn, Manfred Eickemeyer, Hubert Furtwängler, Wilhelm Geyer, Willi Graf, Heinrich Guter, Falk Harnack, Marie-Luise Jahn, Wolfgang Jaeger, Traute Lafrenz, Gisela Schertling, Katharina Schüddekopf, Josef Söhngen, and Jürgen Wittenstein.

They were Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Buddhist, some inspired by anthroposophy, Eastern philosophies or by the terror of time spent fighting at Stalingrad. Alexander Schmorell, who wrote much of the group’s material, was even canonized as a New Martyr by the Orthodox Church, his holy image depicting a cross and a white rose in his hand.

Alexander Schmorell. By Angelika Knoop-Probst, Nicoasc – CC BY 3.0

The first leaflet the group published was the text of a sermon by the Bishop August von Galen which Hans Scholl had read in 1941 and which Sophie Scholl had acquired permission to use. The Bishop wrote scathingly of the Nazis, especially for their practices of euthanasia for the sake of eugenics and the belief that they were improving the German race. White Rose published their first piece in the summer of 1942. Over the next year, they published four more leaflets, leaving them in public phone booths, mailing them to academic colleagues and sending them to other universities across the country.

Several group members served on the Eastern front. Graf had seen the Jewish Ghettos set up by the Nazis in Poland. Schmorell, who spoke fluent Russian, was able to hear stories from Russians and other Slavs of war crimes and the inhumane violence of the German Army and Waffen SS. All these experiences added to the moral conviction of the Group and explains the fiery rhetoric of their leaflets.

Willi Graf

In January 1943, White Rose printed between 6,000 and 9,000 copies of their fifth leaflet. On February 18 th of that year, Hans and Sophie placed stacks of this literature around their university just before classes ended. As Sophie pushed a stack off of a top banister into the open Atrium below, she was spotted by a janitor. She and Hans were reported and arrested by the Gestapo. A quick investigation into items on their person and in their home lead to the arrests of most of the other members.

In a time in Germany where free speech was not a right, when dissent was forbidden, when Total War was the only acceptable mindset, these young students and activists knew what they faced.

On February 22 nd , 1943, the Scholls and Probst stood trial in the Volksgericht, in a “people’s court” for political offenses. It was a show trial to make an example of them.

They were quickly found guilty and, the very same day, all three were beheaded by guillotine. They were committed idealists and true believers until their last.

As the blade dropped, Hans shouted, “let freedom live!”

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?

– Sophie Scholl’s last words

Schmorell and Professor Huber were beheaded on July 13 th , 1943. Leipelt suffered the same fate on January 29 th , 1945 after being caught distributing the group’s sixth leaflet in Hamburg. Huber’s wife was sent a bill for 600 marks. The charge was for “wear of the guillotine.”

Professor Kurt Huber. By Bundesarchiv – CC BY-SA 3.0 de

The sixth leaflet Leipelt had been distributing had been smuggled out of Germany after the trials and into the hands of the Allied forces. They proceeded to airdrop millions of copies over Germany as an anti-Nazi propaganda campaign preceding their invasion. The Group recognized the inevitability of a German defeat who saw the increasing power of the Soviet Union, Britain and America and the limits of Germany’s war machine.

Through plays, operas, books, films, and the hearts and minds of the German people, the legacy of White Rose lives on as a great inspiration. For example, Hans and Sophie Scholl were voted some of the greatest Germans to have ever lived.

The 2005 film Sophie Scholl: Die Letzten Tage(the final days), based on witness interviews and official transcripts, is a compelling look at the investigation and trials.


The History Notes

Fifty-four years ago three German students were arrested. A few days later they were hauled before the Volksgerichtshof ("People's Court"), sentenced to death and executed by beheading the same day. Within a few months many more arrests were made, and, in a second trial, three additional death sentences were handed down. (The "People's Court," I should add, existed outside the German constitution. It was created by the NSDAP, the National Socialist Party, in 1934 for the sole purpose of eliminating Hitler's enemies.)


In the early summer of 1942, a group of young people — including Willi Graf, Christoph Probst, Hans Scholl, his sisters Sophie y Inge Scholl, y Alex Schmorell, all in their early twenties, as well as their professor of philosophy, Kurt Huber, formed a a non-violent resistance group in Nazi Germany. The group became known for an anonymous leaflet campaign, lasting from June 1942 until February 1943, that called for active opposition to the Nazis regime.


The group co-authored six anti-Nazi Third Reich political resistance leaflets. Calling themselves The White Rose, they instructed Germans to passively resist the Nazis. They had been horrified by the behavior of the Germans on the Eastern Front where they had witnessed a group of naked Jews being shot in a pit. The White Rose was influenced by the German Youth Movement, of which Christoph Probst was a member. Hans Scholl was a member of the Hitler Youth until 1936 and Sophie was a member of the Bund Deutscher Mädel.

Between June 1942 and February 1943, they prepared and distributed six different leaflets, in which they called for the active opposition of the German people to Nazi oppression and tyranny. Huber drafted the final two leaflets. A draft of a seventh leaflet, written by Christoph Probst, was found in the possession of Hans Scholl at the time of his arrest by the Gestapo, who destroyed it. Alex Schmorell and Hans Scholl wrote four leaflets, copied them on a typewriter with as many copies as could be made, probably not exceeding 100, and distributed them throughout Germany. These leaflets were left in telephone books in public phone booths, mailed to professors and students, and taken by courier to other universities for distribution. All four were written in a relatively brief period, between June 27 and July 12. As far as is known today, Hans Scholl wrote the first and fourth leaflets, Alex Schmorell participated with the second and third.
1942: Hubert Furtwangler, Hans Scholl, Willi Graf, unknown, Sophie Scholl and Alexander Schmorell before leaving for service on the Russian front


Producing and distributing such leaflets sounds simple from today's perspective, but, in reality, it was not only very difficult but even dangerous. Paper was scarce, as were envelopes. And if one bought them in large quantities, or for that matter, more than just a few postage stamps (in any larger numbers), one would (have) become instantly suspect.

All leaflets were also sent to the members of the White Rose, in order that we could check whether they were intercepted. Significantly, of the first 100 leaflets, 35 were turned over to the Gestapo.

Several members had served in the German Army before resuming their studies. This provided them with information about the atrocities being committed by the Schutz Staffeinel (SS).Willi Graf had served as a medical orderly in France and Yugoslavia in 1941 whereas Hans Scholl and Schmorell had seen Jews being murdered in Poland and the Soviet Union. When Scholl and Schmorell returned to Munich in November, 1942, they joined up with Graff and began publishing leaflets about what they had seen while in the army.

En "Passive Resistance to National Socialism", published in 1943 the group explained the reasons why they had formed the White Rose group:
"We want to try and show them that everyone is in a position to contribute to the overthrow of the system. It can be done only by the cooperation of many convinced, energetic people - people who are agreed as to the means they must use. We have no great number of choices as to the means. The meaning and goal of passive resistance is to topple National Socialism, and in this struggle we must not recoil from our course, any action, whatever its nature. A victory of fascist Germany in this war would have immeasurable, frightful consequences."

The White Rose group also began painting anti-Nazi slogans on the sides of houses. This included "Down With Hitler", "Hitler Mass Murderer" and "Freedom". They also painted crossed-out swastikas. The members of The White Rose worked day and night, cranking a hand-operated duplicating machine thousands of times to create the leaflets which were each stuffed into envelopes, stamped and mailed from various major cities in Southern Germany. Recipients were chosen from telephone directories and were generally scholars, medics and pub-owners in order to confuse the Gestapo investigators.

On Thursday, February eighteenth, 1943, Sophie and Hans distributed the pamphlets personally at the university. They hurriedly dropped stacks of copies in the empty corridors for students to find when they flooded out of lecture rooms. Leaving before the class break, the Scholls noticed that some copies remained in the suitcase and decided it would be a pity not to distribute them.

They returned to the atrium and climbed the staircase to the top floor, and Sophie flung the last remaining leaflets into the air. This spontaneous action was observed by the custodian Jakob Schmid. The police were called and Hans and Sophie were taken into Gestapo custody. The other active members were soon arrested, and the group and everyone associated with them were brought in for interrogation.

Sophie and Hans were questioned for four days in Munich, and their trial was set for 22nd February. They, along with Christoph, were arrested. Within days, all three were brought before the People's Court in Berlin. On February 22, 1943. The trial was run by Roland Freisler, head judge of the court, and lasted only a few hours, they were convicted of treason and sentenced to death. Only hours later, the court carried out that sentence by guillotine. All three faced their deaths bravely, Hans crying out his last words, "Long Live Freedom!"

Later that same year, other members of the White Rose - Alexander Schmorell (age 25), Willi Graf (age 25), and Kurt Huber (age 49) - were tried and executed. Most of the other students convicted for their part in the group's activities received prison sentences.

Prior to their deaths, several members of the White Rose believed that their execution would stir university students and other anti-war citizens into a rallying activism against Hitler and the war. Accounts suggest, however, that university students continued their studies as usual, citizens mentioned nothing, many regarding the movement as anti-national. Their actions were mostly dismissed, until after the war when their efforts were eventually praised by the German consciousness.


White Rose: The Germans who tried to topple Hitler

Seventy years ago today, three German students were executed in Munich for leading a resistance movement against Hitler. Since then, the members of the White Rose group have become German national heroes - Lilo Furst-Ramdohr was one of them.

In 1943, World War II was at its height - but in Munich, the centre of Nazi power, a group of students had started a campaign of passive resistance.

Liselotte Furst-Ramdohr, already a widow at the age of 29 following her husband's death on the Russian front, was introduced to the White Rose group by her friend, Alexander Schmorell.

"I can still see Alex today as he told me about it," says Furst-Ramdohr, now a spry 99-year-old. "He never said the word 'resistance', he just said that the war was dreadful, with the battles and so many people dying, and that Hitler was a megalomaniac, and so they had to do something."

Schmorell and his friends Christoph Probst and Hans Scholl had started writing leaflets encouraging Germans to join them in resisting the Nazi regime.

With the help of a small group of collaborators, they distributed the leaflets to addresses selected at random from the phone book.

Furst-Ramdohr says the group couldn't understand how the German people had been so easily led into supporting the Nazi Party and its ideology.

"They must have been able to tell how bad things were, it was ridiculous," she says.

The White Rose delivered the leaflets by hand to addresses in the Munich area, and sent them to other cities through trusted couriers.

Furst-Ramdohr never delivered the leaflets herself but hid them in a broom cupboard in her flat.

She also helped Schmorell make stencils in her flat saying "Down with Hitler", and on the nights of 8 and 15 February, the White Rose graffitied the slogan on walls across Munich.

Furst-Ramdohr remembers the activists - who were risking their lives for their beliefs - as young and naive.

One of the best-known members of the group today is Hans Scholl's younger sister Sophie, later the subject of an Oscar-nominated film, Sophie Scholl: The Final Days. Furst-Ramdohr remembers that Sophie was so scared that she used to sleep in her brother's bed.

"Hans was very afraid too, but they wanted to keep going for Germany - they loved their country," she says.

On 18 February, Hans and Sophie Scholl set off on their most daring expedition yet. They planned to distribute copies of their sixth - and as it would turn out, final - leaflet at the University of Munich, where students would find them as they came out of lectures.

The siblings left piles of the leaflets around the central stairwell. But as they reached the top of the stairs, Sophie still had a number of leaflets left over - so she threw them over the balcony, to float down to the students below.

She was seen by a caretaker, who called the Gestapo. Hans Scholl had a draft for another leaflet in his pocket, which he attempted to swallow, but the Gestapo were too quick.

The Scholl siblings were arrested and tried in front of an emergency session of the People's Court. They were found guilty and executed by guillotine, along with their friend and collaborator Christoph Probst, on 22 February 1943.

Hans Scholl's last words before he was executed were: "Long live freedom!"

The rest of the White Rose group was thrown into panic. Alexander Schmorell went straight to Lilo Forst-Ramdohr's flat, where she helped him find new clothes and a fake passport. Schmorell attempted to flee to Switzerland but was forced to turn back by heavy snow.

Returning to Munich, he was captured after a former girlfriend recognised him entering an air raid shelter during a bombing raid. He was arrested, and later executed.

Lilo Furst-Ramdohr was herself arrested on 2 March. "Two Gestapo men came to the flat and they turned everything upside down," she says.

"They went through my letters, and then one of them said 'I'm afraid you'll have to come with us'.

"They took me to the Gestapo prison in the Wittelsbach Palais on the tram - they stood behind my seat so I couldn't escape."

Furst-Ramdohr spent a month in Gestapo custody. She was regularly interrogated about her role in the White Rose, but eventually released without charge - a stroke of luck she puts down to her status as a war widow, and to the likelihood that the Gestapo was hoping she would lead them to other co-conspirators. After her release she was followed by the secret police for some time.

She then fled Munich for Aschersleben, near Leipzig, where she married again and opened a puppet theatre.

The final White Rose leaflet was smuggled out of Germany and intercepted by Allied forces, with the result that, in the autumn of 1943, millions of copies were dropped over Germany by Allied aircraft.

Since the end of the war, the members of the White Rose have become celebrated figures, as German society has searched for positive role models from the Nazi period.

But Furst-Ramdohr doesn't like it. "At the time, theyɽ have had us all executed," she says of the majority of her compatriots.

She now lives alone in a small town outside Munich, where she continued to give dancing lessons up to the age of 86.

Her friend Alexander Schmorell was made a saint by the Russian Orthodox church in 2012.

"He would have laughed out loud if heɽ known," says Furst-Ramdohr. "He wasn't a saint - he was just a normal person."

Lucy Burns interviewed Liselotte Furst-Ramdohr for the BBC World Service programme Witness. Listen via BBC iPlayer or browse the Witness podcast archive.


The White Rose Movement

The White Rose movement opposed Hitler, Nazi rule and World War Two. The White Rose movement is probably the most famous of the civilian resistance movements that developed within Nazi Germany but some of its members paid a terrible price for their stand against the system.

The White Rose movement was made up of students who attended Munich University. Its most famous members were Hans and Sophie Scholl. Members of the White Rose movement clandestinely distributed anti-Nazi and anti-war leaflets and it was while they were in the process of doing this that they were caught.

Nazi Germany was a police state. Whether it was true or not, people believed that informants were everywhere. To keep secrecy, membership of the White Rose movement was extremely small. It produced anti-war leaflets that were also deemed to be anti-Nazi. What those in it did was extremely dangerous. If they were captured they would have been charged with treason with the inevitable consequences. That is why the group had to be kept very small – everyone knew each other and each was convinced of the loyalty of everyone in the group.

The White Rose movement was active between June 1942 and February 1943. In that time they made six anti-war/anti-Nazi leaflets, which were distributed in public. Member also engaged in a graffiti campaign within Munich.

One of the leaflets entitled “Passive Resistance to National Socialism” stated:

“Many, perhaps most, of the readers of these leaflets do not see clearly how they can practise an effective opposition. They do not see any avenues open to them. We want to try to show them that everyone is in a position to contribute to the overthrow of the system. It can be done only by the cooperation of many convinced, energetic people – people who are agreed as to the means they must use. We have no great number of choices as to the means. The only one available is passive resistance. The meaning and goal of passive resistance is to topple National Socialism, and in this struggle we must not recoil from any course, any action, whatever its nature. A victory of fascist Germany in this war would have immeasurable frightful consequences. We cannot provide each man with the blueprint for his acts, we can only suggest them in general terms. Sabotage in armaments plants and war industries, at all gatherings, rallies and organisations of the National Socialist Party…………….convince all your acquaintances of the hopelessness of this war………………and urge them to passive resistance.”

Another leaflet was called “To the fellow fighters in the resistance”, which was written in February 1943, after the German defeat at Stalingrad.

“The day of reckoning has come – the reckoning of German youth with the most abominable tyrant our people have ever been forced to endure. We grew up in a state in which all free expression of opinion is ruthlessly suppressed. The Hitler Youth, the SA, the SS have all tried to drug us, to regiment us in the most promising years of our lives. For us there is but one slogan: fight against the party. The name of Germany is dishonoured for all time if German youth does not finally rise, take revenge, smash its tormentors. Students! The German people look to us.”

It was while leaflets were being distributed at Munich University that Hans and Sophie Scholl were arrested by the Gestapo. They had already distributed many White Rose leaflets that they were carrying. However, Sophie and Hans realised that they had not distributed all of them. As so much trouble was taken to produce these leaflets, they decided that they would ensure that the rest were also distributed. They were seen throwing the leaflets around the university’s atrium by a caretaker called Jakob Schmid and he contacted the Gestapo. This occurred on February 18 th 1943. The Scholl’s were literally carrying all the evidence needed by the Gestapo.

Both Hans and Sophie admitted their full responsibility in an attempt to end any form of interrogation that might result in them revealing other members of the movement. However, the Gestapo refused to believe that only two people were involved and after further interrogation, they gained the names of all those involved who were subsequently arrested.

Sophie, Hans and Christoph Probst were the first to be brought before the People’s Court on February 22 nd 1943. The People’s Court had been established on April 24 th 1934 to try cases that were deemed to be political offences against the Nazi state. Invariably these trials were nothing more than show trials designed to humiliate those brought before it, presumably in the hope that such a public humiliation would put off anyone else whom might be thinking in the same way as the condemned. All three were found guilty and sentenced to death by beheading. The executions took place the same day.

More trials took place on April 19 th and July 13 th 1943 when other members of the White Rose movement were brought before the People’s Court. Not all of them were executed. The third trial (July 13 th ) was not presided over by the infamous Roland Freisler and the main witness – also on trial (Gisela Schertling) – withdrew her evidence that she had given during her interrogation. As a result, the judge acquitted all of those on trial that day with the exception of one, Josef Soehngen, who was given 6 months in prison.

Before World War Two in Europe ended, the final leaflet produced by the White Rose movement was smuggled out of Germany and handed to the advancing Allies. They printed millions of copies of it and dropped them all over the country.