Little Bits of History

The White Rose

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 22, 2012

White Rose members, Hans and Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst

February 22, 1943: Three members of The White Rose are executed. Known as die Weiße Rose in German, they were a non-violent resistance group in Nazi Germany. The group was made up of several students from the University of Munich along with Kurt Huber, a professor of philosophy and musicology. The students put out six leaflets between June 1942 and February 1943. They called for an end to the Nazi regime, the tyranny of Germany, and Hitler’s rule.

Hans Scholl (24) and his sister, Sophie (21), were part of the core membership of The White Rose. In 1941 they had attended a sermon by bishop August von Galen, an outspoken critic of Nazi policies. They were influenced by the talk and they formed their own group to help rouse the German people to rebel against the tyranny of the Nazi government. Their leaflets quoted the Bible, Aristotle, Novalis, Goethe, and Schiller. The students hoped to sway the intelligentsia and enlist their help to spread the word.

Early leaflets were small runs and mailed to specific targets and held an added message to reprint and distribute them. By January 1943 they are thought to have printed 6,000 to 9,000 copies of their fifth leaflet. The Gestapo became aware of the anonymous writings and diligently searched for the authors. On February 18 the Scholls brought a suitcase full of leaflets to University and set them about the atrium for students leaving their lecture halls. A few remained in the suitcase and Sophie threw them from the top floor. A custodian saw her and reported the siblings to the Gestapo. Their sixth leaflet was published posthumously.

The Scholls were taken into custody and soon the rest of the group were also under arrest. The Scholls and Christoph Probst (23) were tried on this date. They were charged with political crimes against the state. Found guilty, they were sentenced to death. All three were guillotined that same day. The rest of the group was tried and then beheaded in stages so as not to have too many executions at one time. Today, the young men and women are revered as heroes with a memorial standing in the Hofgarten in Munich.

If everyone waits until the other man makes a start, the messengers of avenging Nemesis will come steadily closer; then even the last victim will have been cast senselessly into the maw of the insatiable demon.

We are not in a position to draw up a final judgment about the meaning of our history.

But what are the German people doing? They will not see and will not listen. Blindly they follow their seducers into ruin. Victory at any price! is inscribed on their banner. “I will fight to the last man,” says Hitler – but in the meantime the war has already been lost.

The day of reckoning has come – the reckoning of German youth with the most abominable tyrant our people have ever been forced to endure. In the name of German youth we demand restitution by Adolf Hitler’s state of our personal freedom, the most precious treasure we have, out of which he has swindled us in the most miserable way. – all from The White Rose leaflets

Also on this day:

Copy Rights – In 1774, perpetual copyrights were banned by House of Lords.
Hello, Dolly – In 1997, the Roslin Institute announced the successful cloning of a sheep.
Grady the Cow – In 1949, a cow got stuck in a silo and made national news.

2 Responses

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  1. Bobby Dias said, on February 24, 2012 at 10:16 am

    The White Rose people themselves did not commit the acts of violence but they did encourage others to kill and/or cause damage by violent means. Some states of the United States still consider causing death by encouragement an offense punishable by execution. The government of the United States does still have that as an offense punishable by death.

  2. Bobby Dias said, on February 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    I just remembered- Ronald Reagan said to me that Oliver North resigned his officer’s commission as an option to standing trial for supplying arms to the rebels in the Contra affair which resulted in deaths, the 2 options given to him by the Justice Department.
    By the way what I learned about The White Rose was from former US President Harry Truman who gave it as an example for me to look for when some people in a rebellion from outside a country try to promote a rebellion inside another country. The White Rose members were from outside Germany but were tricked into entering Germany where they were arrested during a fake meeting that had been arranged by a traitor within their organization.

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