Remembering the White Rose

“Stand up for what you believe in even if you are standing alone.”   – Sophie Scholl

Started in June 1942, the “White Rose” group was an underground resistance movement in Munich Germany that peacefully opposed the activities of the Nazi regime; denouncing the regime’s persecution, crimes, and oppression.  Signified by a single white rose, a symbol meant to represent purity and innocence in the face of evil, the initiative was silenced in February 1943 when the Gestapo arrested the core members for delivering pamphlets.  The central heads of the organization, siblings, Hans and Sophie Scholl, were tried by the “Volksgerichtshof” * and subsequently executed by guillotine within days of their arrest.

The Scholl siblings, students at the University of Munich, had been childhood members of the “German Youth” and “Hitler Youth” organizations, but had grown aware of, and subsequently alarmed by, their country’s political turn.

“The government – or rather, the party – controlled everything:  the news media, arms, police, the armed forces, the judiciary system, communications, travel, all levels of education from kindergarten to universities, all cultural and religious institutions.  Political indoctrination started at a very early age and continued by means of the Hitler Youth with the ultimate goal of complete mind control.  Children were exhorted in school to denounce even their own parents for derogatory remarks about Hitler or Nazi ideology.”  – Statement by Jurgen Wittenstein, a White Rose survivor, written by George J. Wittenstein, M.D., in “Memories of the White Rose”, 1979.

For many, these types of historical accounts have never been known, been swept aside, or forgotten – but some still remember, and history has a way of repeating itself for those who don’t learn the lessons the first time around.  Any government that becomes desperate or craves complete and unbridled control over its citizens, for its own preconceived end, is a government not fit to lead.

– *Volksgerichtshof – a Nazi court external to constitutional law, therefore, the executions are considered “judicial murder”.
– Scholl, Inge, The White Rose, (translation: Schultz, Arthur R., contributor: Solle, Dorthe), University Press, New England, 1983.
– Dumbach, Annette, Sophie Scholl and the White Rose, OneWorld Publications, London, 2018.
– Scholl, Hans and Sophie, At the Heart of the White Rose, Plough Publishing House, New York, 2017.
– Wikipedia, White Rose, accessed Sept 10/21.