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Executed Today - 1943: Sophie Scholl of the White Rose
« on: 2009-02-22 07:42:39 »
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1943: Sophie Scholl of the White Rose

22 February 2009, 01:22:40 | Sarah Owocki

On February 22, 1943, Sophie Magdalena Scholl, former student of philosophy and biology at the University of Munich in Germany, was executed by guillotine for her role in the White Rose nonviolent Nazi resistance group.

Scholl was born just 21 years earlier and spent a carefree childhood in Ludwigsburg and later, in Ulm.

Although she initially joined Bund Deutscher Mädel at age 12 (as required), she quickly grew disenchanted with the group and began to identify strongly with the dissenting political views of some of her teachers, family, and friends.

While serving the required six months in the National Labor Service prior to enrolling in university, Scholl began exploring the philosophy and practice of passive resistance, which she was almost immediately able to put into practice at the University of Munich the following spring, where she quickly fell in with the compatriots of her older brother, Hans Scholl.

Initially a forum to entertain the abstract questions of budding young intellectuals, the group (which dubbed itself the White Rose) quickly moved towards taking a more active role in resistance to the Nazi regime.

How should an individual act under a dictatorship? What obligations, or indeed, power, did a group of half a dozen students have in the face of such stifling repression? As Sophie and her brother watched as their father was jailed for a critical remark made about Hitler to an employee, other group members shared stories of atrocities witnessed during war service (of the six members, all but Sophie were male).

It was agreed that some sort of action was necessary. But what?

The group began distributing a series of leaflets urging other Germans to join them in resistance against the Nazi regime. The earlier leaflets were mailed anonymously to addresses all over Germany (copied out of the phone book), but later, the group began targeting the student population. In Fellow Fighters in the Resistance, they wrote: “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.”

Passive was their philosophy, but their language was most certainly not.

In February 1943, the group targeted the last of the series of six leaflets for distribution in the main building of the university. Scholl and her brother volunteered to distribute the leaflets one morning, and nearly were able to disappear into the throng of students once classes let out, before being spotted by a janitor and quickly arrested.

After hours of interrogation, Scholl had almost established her innocence, until investigators searched the siblings’ apartment and found proof of her guilt. At this point, she switched tactics and proudly stood by her actions, stating that she was obligated to act in accordance with her conscience and would freely do the same thing again, and this in the face of increasingly hostile and derogatory questioning by her interrogator.

Scholl, her brother Hans, and White Rose member Christoph Probst were subsequently brought to trial in the People’s Court in a crowd of hand-picked Nazi supporters and in front of the notorious Nazi judge Roland Freisler. Found guilty, each was allowed to give a brief statement. Scholl proclaimed, “Where we stand today, you will stand soon.”

Hans and Sophie Scholl and Probst were executed just hours after their trial. Sophie Scholl’s last words were: “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?”

Indeed, the pamphlet that led to Scholl’s death did have that very effect. Smuggled out of Germany later that year, the Allied Forces seized on it and dropped thousands of propaganda copies German cities later that year, retitled as “Manifesto of the Students of Munich”.

In the post World War II era, the Geschwister Scholl (Scholl siblings) have since attained an almost mythical stature in German culture and history, with numerous monuments and schools dedicated in their honor (as well as the famous University plaza the siblings crossed the day of their arrest). In a nationwide 2003 poll, Sophie and her brother Hans were voted the fourth most important Germans of all times, above Bach, Goethe and Einstein.

A celebrated movie about Sophie Scholl was released to critical acclaim in 2005, and the White Rose continues to be the subject of numerous books and articles, from the philosophical to the startlingly practical and pertinent questions of the present day, of just what an ordinary and relatively powerless individual can and should do under extraordinarily trying circumstances

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« Last Edit: 2009-02-22 07:49:53 by Blunderov » Report to moderator   Logged

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Re:Executed Today - 1943: Sophie Scholl of the White Rose
« Reply #1 on: 2009-02-22 19:25:08 »
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[Blunderov]*Candidate Saint ?

[fritz]It would be a positive thing from my perspective to hold up a German figure or group in a positive light for a change. The Organization the 'White Rose' is also a noble group to acknowledge in its own right it was the catalyst to spread the Meme.

Below clippings around the story

Source: Wikipedia

“ Isn’t it true that every honest German is ashamed of his government these days? Who among us can imagine the degree of shame that will come upon us and our children when the veil falls from our faces and the awful crimes that infinitely exceed any human measure are exposed to the light of day? ”
— From the first leaflet of the White Rose.

In 2003, Germans were invited by ZDF Television to participate in a nation-wide competition to choose the top ten most important Germans of all time. Voters under the age of 40 helped catapult Sophie and her brother Hans Scholl into fourth place, winning over 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 Magazine, one of Germany's leading magazines for young women, voted Sophie Scholl "the greatest woman of the twentieth century," winning over such figures as Madeleine Albright and Madonna.

Quoting extensively from the Bible, Aristotle and Novalis, as well as Goethe and Schiller, they appealed to what they considered the German intelligentsia, believing that they would be intrinsically opposed to Nazism. At first, the leaflets were sent out in mailings from cities in Bavaria and Austria, since the members believed that southern Germany would be more receptive to their anti-militarist message.
Alexander Schmorell penned the words the White Rose has become most famous for having spoken. Most of the more practical material —calls to arms and statistics of murder— came from Alex's pen. Hans Scholl wrote in a characteristically high style, exhorting the German people to action on the grounds of philosophy and reason.

At the end of July 1942, some of the male students in the group were deployed to the Eastern Front for military service (acting as medics) during the academic break. In late autumn, the men returned, and the White Rose resumed its resistance activities. In January 1943, using a hand-operated duplicating machine, the group is thought to have produced between 6,000 and 9,000 copies of their fifth leaflet, "Appeal to all Germans!", which was distributed via courier runs to many cities (where they were mailed). Copies appeared in Stuttgart, Cologne, Vienna, Freiburg, Chemnitz, Hamburg, Innsbruck, and Berlin. The fifth leaflet was composed by Hans Scholl with improvements by Huber. These leaflets warned that Hitler was leading Germany into the abyss; with the gathering might of the Allies, defeat was now certain. The reader was urged to "Support the resistance movement!" in the struggle for "Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and protection of the individual citizen from the arbitrary action of criminal dictator-states". These were the principles that would form "the foundations of the new Europe".

The leaflets caused a sensation, and the Gestapo began an intensive search for the publishers.
On the nights of the 3rd, 8th, and 15th of February 1943, the slogans "Freedom" and "Down with Hitler" appeared on the walls of the University and other buildings in Munich. Alexander Schmorell, Hans Scholl and Willi Graf had painted them with tar-based paint (similar graffiti that appeared in the surrounding area at this time was painted by imitators).
The shattering German defeat at Stalingrad at the beginning of February provided the occasion for the group's sixth leaflet, written by Huber. Headed "Fellow students!", it announced that the "day of reckoning" had come for "the most contemptible tyrant our people has ever endured". As the German people had looked to university students to help break Napoleon in 1813, it now looked to them to break the Nazi terror. "The dead of Stalingrad adjure us!"


[fritz]Quite the list of individuals to be busted with

On February 22, 2003, a bust of Sophie Scholl was placed by the government of Bavaria in the Walhalla temple in her honour.

The rows of busts are placed chronologically, beginning with Henry the Fowler (born 876 AD).

  1. Konrad Adenauer – first Chancellor of West Germany
  2. Amalie Elisabeth – Countess of Hesse-Kassel during the Thirty Years' War
  3. August II the Strong – Elector of Saxony and King of Poland
  4. Johann Sebastian Bach – composer
  5. Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly – Russian Field Marshal
  6. Ludwig van Beethoven – composer
  7. Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar – general in the Thirty Years' War
  8. Otto von Bismarck – Chancellor of North German Confederation and then of the German Empire
  9. Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher – Prussian Generalfeldmarschall
  10. Herman Boerhaave – Dutch humanist and physician
  11. Johannes Brahms - Composer
  12. Anton Bruckner – Austrian composer
  13. Gottfried August Bürger – poet
  14. Christoph, Duke of Württemberg – Duke of Württemberg
  15. Johann von Dalberg – Bishop of Worms
  16. Hans Karl von Diebitsch – Russian field marshal, born in Silesia
  17. Albrecht Dürer – printmaker and painter
  18. Anthony van Dyck – Flemish painter and etcher
  19. Eberhard I. of Württemberg – Duke of Württemberg
  20. Julius Echter von Mespelbrunn – Bishop of Würzburg
  21. Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff – poet
  22. Albert Einstein – physicist
  23. Erasmus of Rotterdam – Dutch humanist
  24. Ernst I – Duke of Saxe-Gotha and Saxe-Altenburg during the Thirty Years' War
  25. Jan van Eyck – Flemish painter
  26. Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg – Prussian Generalfeldmarschall
  27. Frederick I, Elector Palatine – the Victorious, Elector of Palatinate
  28. Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor - Barbarossa
  29. Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor – Stupor mundi
  30. Frederick II of Prussia – Frederick the Great
  31. Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg – the Great Elector
  32. Georg von Frundsberg – Knight and leader of Landsknechts
  33. Jakob Fugger – the Rich, merchant in Augsburg
  34. Johannes Gutenberg – inventor of movable type
  35. Karolina Gerhardinger – founder of the School Sisters of Notre Dame
  36. Ernst Gideon Freiherr von Laudon – Austrian field marshal from Livonia
  37. Christoph Willibald Gluck – composer
  38. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – poet and polymath
  39. Johann Joseph von Görres – writer
  40. Hugo Grotius – Dutch jurist
  41. Otto von Guericke – German scientist and inventor
  42. Albrecht von Haller – Swiss anatomist and physiologist
  43. Hans von Hallwyl – Swiss commander at the Battle of Morat
  44. Georg Friedrich Händel – German baroque composer
  45. Joseph Haydn – Austrian composer from the classical period
  46. Henry the Lion – Duke of Saxony and Bavaria
  47. Henry the Fowler – Duke of Saxony and King of the Germans
  48. Johann Jakob Wilhelm Heinse - German author
  49. Berthold von Henneberg – Elector and Archbishop of Mainz
  50. Johann Gottfried Herder – German poet, critic, and theologian
  51. Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel – German astronomer and composer
  52. Hans Holbein the Younger – German painter
  53. Ulrich von Hutten – German knight and Humanist
  54. Friedrich Ludwig Jahn – German patriot and father of gymnastics
  55. Immanuel Kant – German philosopher
  56. Archduke Charles of Austria – Austrian military commander
  57. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
  58. Charles V, Duke of Lorraine
  59. Charles X Gustav of Sweden – King of Sweden
  60. Catherine II of Russia, Catherine the Great – Tsarina of Russia
  61. Johannes Kepler – German mathematician and astronomer
  62. Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock – German poet
  63. Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor
  64. Nicolaus Copernicus – Polish astronomer
  65. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – German philosopher and mathematician
  66. Gotthold Ephraim Lessing – German poet from the age of enlightenment
  67. Justus von Liebig – German chemist
  68. Paris Graf von Lodron – Archbishop of Salzburg
  69. Ludwig Wilhelm von Baden - Türkenlouis, Imperial commander
  70. Ludwig I – King of Bavaria
  71. Martin Luther – Leader of the Protestant reformation, translator of the Bible into German; Heinrich Heine had remarked on his omission from the original design.
  72. Maria Theresia – Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia
  73. Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
  74. Maximilian I. – Prince-elector of Bavaria
  75. Hans Memling – Flemish painter
  76. Gregor Joh. Mendel – Czech Augustinian monk and naturalist
  77. Raphael Mengs – Painter
  78. Graf Helmuth von Moltke – German jurist and resistance fighter against the Nazis
  79. Maurice of Orange – Dutch captain-general of the army of the Dutch Republic
  80. Maurice of Saxony – German commander and military strategist
  81. Justus Möser – German historian
  82. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Austrian composer
  83. Johannes Müller (Regiomontanus) – German astronomer and mathematician
  84. Johannes von Müller – Swiss historian
  85. Burkhard Christoph Graf von Münnich – German field marshall in Russian service
  86. August Graf Neidhardt von Gneisenau – Prussian field marshall
  87. Nicholas of Flue – Swiss hermit, ascetic and mystic
  88. Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor
  89. Theophrast von Hohenheim Paracelsus – 17th century Swiss physician and alchemist
  90. Jean Paul – German humorist
  91. Max von Pettenkofer – German chemist and hygienist
  92. Wolter von Plettenberg – German Master of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword
  93. Josef Wenzel Graf Radetzky von Radetz – Austrian military leader
  94. Max Reger – German composer and organist of the late romantic period
  95. Johannes von Reuchlin – German philosopher and humanist
  96. Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen – German physicist
  97. Peter Paul Rubens – Flemish painter
  98. Rudolf I of Habsburg – German king
  99. Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter – Dutch admiral
100. Gerhard von Scharnhorst – Prussian general
101. Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling – German philosopher
102. Friedrich von Schiller - German poet and exponent of Sturm und Drang
103. Sophie Scholl - German resistance fighter against the Nazi regime
104. Johann Philipp von Schönborn – Archbishop and Prince-elector of Mainz
105. Franz Peter Schubert – Austrian Romantic composer
106. Karl Philipp Fürst zu Schwarzenberg – Austrian field marshall.
107. Franz von Sickingen – leader of the knighthood in Rhineland and Swabia.
108. Frans Snyders - Flemish painter.
109. Karl vom und zum Stein – Prussian politician.
110. Erwin von Steinbach – German architect of the Straßburger Münster.
111. Adalbert Stifter – Austrian author.
112. Richard Strauss – German composer.
113. Johannes Aventinus (Johann Georg Turmair) – Bavarian scholar and historian.
114. Maximilian von und zu Trauttmansdorff – Austrian diplomat that negotiated the Peace of Westphalia.
115. Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp – Dutch admiral.
116. Aegidius Tschudi – Swiss composser
117. Peter Vischer the elder – German Sculptor.
118. Richard Wagner – German composer of operas.
119. Albrecht von Wallenstein – Duke and General in the Thirty Years' War.
120. Carl Maria von Weber – German composer.
121. Christoph Martin Wieland – German Poet.
122. Wilhelm Graf zu Schaumburg-Lippe – Commander of his army in the Seven Years' War and for Portugal.
123. Wilhelm I. – German Emperor.
124. William I of Orange – Dutch leader of the Eighty Years' War for the Dutch independence from Spain.
125. Wilhelm III. of Orange – Dutch Stadtholder and king of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
126. Johann Joachim Winckelmann – German archeologist and art writer.
127. Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf – German religious and social reformer, bishop of the Moravian Church.

(aka "Sophie Scholl: The Final Days" or ">Sophie Scholl -- Die Letzten Tage" )

The German film 12 parts

directed by Marc Rothemund
Germany 2005

Source: Sophie Scholl: The Final Days

Much of post-WWII German cinema has been set in contemporary times (especially German New Wave) or in the distant past. However, in the first decade of the 21st Century, several noteworthy movies have directly examined historical moments that defined today’s Germany. Two recent examples are Downfall, about Hitler’s last days in his Berlin bunker, and Good Bye, Lenin!, about East Germans dealing with the burying of their identities after the re-unification of Germany.

Sophie Scholl -- The Final Days is yet another German cinematic soul search. After WWII, the Germans were basically forced to say, “We’re sorry for being the bad guys” over and over again. The Germans essentially weren’t allowed to mourn for their losses (since their soldiers died for the “wrong” cause), and the Allies decided that there weren’t any “good” Germans between 1930 and 1945. Still, the remarkable story of Sophie Scholl and The White Rose began to surface, and at least two movies were made about Scholl and her brief life. Sophie Scholl is the first of these biopics to be based on recently released documents that were locked away by the East-German government.

The White Rose

The White Rose (German: die Weiße Rose) was a non-violent resistance group in Nazi Germany, consisting of a number of students from the University of Munich and their philosophy professor. The group became known for an anonymous leaflet campaign, lasting from June 1942 until February 1943, that called for active opposition to German dictator Adolf Hitler's regime.
The six core members of the group were arrested by the Gestapo and executed by beheading in 1943. The text of their sixth leaflet was smuggled out of Germany through Scandinavia to the UK, and in July 1943 copies of it were dropped over Germany by Allied planes, retitled "The Manifesto of the Students of Munich."[1]
Today, the members of the White Rose are honoured in Germany as amongst its greatest heroes, since they opposed the Third Reich in the face of almost certain death.


The White Rose was written by Lillian Garrett-Groag and premiered in 1991 at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, Calif. The play chronicles the arrest, interrogation and eventual execution of a group of University of Munich students who protested the Nazi regime at the height of World War II. The students assigned to themselves the name White Rose.The play has roles for seven males and one female. The strongest roles belong to Robert Mohr, the head of the Munich Gestapo, and Sophie Scholl, one of the students. Mohr, moved by Scholl's passion (and mindful that she is German, but not Jewish), attempts to save her by giving her a chance to recant, but she refuses. The play ends with a spotlight on Scholl snapping off, symbolizing her beheading, and Mohr musing, "The most we can hope for is to get by. Heroes and ... (carefully) demagogues will always shake things up for a while, but if we're clever, we'll still be here when they're gone." At which point, a Gestapo investigator attempts to be encouraging, noting that people like Mohr "are of enormous use to the Reich." Thus concludes the theme of the play, that people, not monsters, are responsible for great communal disasters, and each of those people had a "moment of choice," according to Garrett-Groag in her Foreword.[1]

The White Rose won the AT&T Award for New American Plays.
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