Hans & Sophie Scholl and the White Rose

Hans Scholl, the founder of the White Rose was born on the 22nd of September 1918 and his sister Sophie on the 9th of May 1921. They were of a German ethnicity and born in Ingersheim. Their father Robert Scholl, mayor of Forchtenberg, was a critic of the Nazi regime, which was influential on his children.

Despite their parent’s beliefs, Hans and Sophie Scholl, like other young Germans joined the Hitler Youth in 1933 as they thought their leader, Hitler, was leading Germany back to greatness. They quickly became disillusioned when they discovered the true meaning of the group and how Hitler was leading the Germans to a ‘road of destruction’.

In the summer of 1942, Sophie, Hans, Willi Graf, Kurt Huber, Christopher Probst and Alexandra Schmorell co-authored an anti-Nazi political resistance leaflet. Going by the name, the White Rose, they encouraged and instructed Germans to resist the Nazi regime. The leaflet contained an anonymous essay that said, the Nazi system had slowly imprisoned the German people and was now destroying them. At the bottom of the essay, the White Rose requested people to make as many copies of the leaflet as possible and distribute them. The six anti-Nazi leaflets were dispensed around the University of Munich, where they studied, and The University of Hamburg. They also mailed leaflets to doctors, pub owners and scholars’ throughout their country. They were careful to remain anonymous, because for such acts they knew the consequences would have been immediate death as they were going against the Nazi Party.

On the 18th of February 1943, Hans and Sophie were seen throwing leaflets from an atrium at their university by a caretaker. They were arrested by the Gestapo, which were the secret state police of the Nazi Party. They were trialed for treason by Judge Freisler, a notorious Nazi Party lawyer and judge, and found guilty. They were condemned to death on the 22nd of February and were executed 4 hours later. Christopher Probst, a member of The White Rose, and the siblings were beheaded by Johann Reichhart in the Stadelheim Prison. Hans’ last words were, ‘Long Live Freedom’ and his sister, Sophie’s were ‘How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause. Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?’ ‘The sun still shines’.