History Tuesday……………Sophie Scholl

Die Geschwister Hans und Sophie Scholl und Christoph Probst (von links) von der studentischen Widerstandsgruppe "Weiße Rose" in München. Alle Mitglieder wurden am 22. Februar 1943 hingerichtet..; Foto: George J. Wittenstein, 1942;

Die Geschwister Hans und Sophie Scholl und Christoph Probst (von links) von der studentischen Widerstandsgruppe “Weiße Rose” in München. Alle Mitglieder wurden am 22. Februar 1943 hingerichtet..; Foto: George J. Wittenstein, 1942;

It is history Tuesday and today I am going to tell you a little about a German girl named Sophie Scholl, have you heard of her? I can tell you I had not till I saw something on Facebook about her that interested me enough to do a Goggle search and find out a bit more about her.

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The graves of Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst in Perlach Cemetery. The cemetery is adjacent to Stadelheim prison where the White Rose members were executed.

She was born in 1921 and was one of Germany’s most famous anti-Nazi heroes, as a university student in Munich, Scholl, along with her brother, Hans, and several friends, formed a non-violent, anti-Nazi resistance group called the White Rose. The group ran a leaflet and graffiti campaign calling on their fellow Germans to resist Hitler’s regime.

At the age of 12 she was required to join the Bund Deutscher Madel ( League of German Girls) but her initial enthusiasm gradually gave way to strong criticism. She became aware of the dissenting political views of her father and friends and even some teachers. Political attitude started to play a big part in her choice of friends. In 1937 her brothers and some friends were arrested for participating in the German Youth Movement and this left a strong impression on her. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Youth_Movement

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White Rose pamphlets and biographical sketches of members.

After she left school in 1940 Sophie became a kindergarten teacher, she chose this career hoping it would be recognised as an alternate to the National Labour Service which was a prerequisite to be admitted to the university. However, she was wrong as policy dictated that she had to serve six months of auxiliary war service as a nursery teacher in Blumberg. The military-like regimen of the Labour Service was what caused her to change her views of the National Socialism and eventually practice passive resistance.

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Scholl first became involved in resistance organising after learning of the mass killings of Jews and reading an anti-Nazi sermon by Clemens August Graf von Galen, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Münster. She was deeply moved by the “theology of conscience” and declared, “Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don’t dare express themselves as we did.”

In 1943, Scholl and the other members of the White Rose were arrested by the Gestapo for distributing leaflets at the University of Munich and taken to Stadelheim Prison. After a short trial on February 22, 1943, Scholl, her brother Hans and their friend Christop Probst, all pictured here, were found guilty of treason and sentenced to death.

At her execution only a few hours later, Scholl made this final statement: “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?”

Following the deaths of the White Rose’s leaders, their final leaflet was smuggled to England. In mid-1943, Allied Forces dropped millions of copies of the “Manifesto of the Students of Munich” over Germany. Scholl is now honoured as one of the great German heroes who actively opposed the Nazi regime.

In 20015 the movie Sophie Scholl: The Final Days was made it stared Julia Jentsch as Sophie, there has also been a couple of books about her written. Many schools as well as countless streets and squares in Germany have been named after Sophie and her brother.

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Copies of White Rose pamphlets have been embedded in the pavement of Geschwister-Scholl-Platz outside the central hall of Ludwig-Maximilian University.

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5 thoughts on “History Tuesday……………Sophie Scholl

  1. What a fantastic and inspiring woman! Her story should be required reading – although I’d heard of White Rose, I didn’t know the full details behind it. I wonder would I be so brave in similar circumstances?

    LOVE your new blog design!

  2. If you created a history podcast, I would absolutely subscribe. I love your story telling style with these history posts. Like Red, I had heard about White Rose, but literally nothing else. I can’t imagine how much bravery it takes to resist a regime that is in the middle of murdering a large number of its own citizens and multiple other countries at the same time. Here’s to Sophie! Truly an inspiring figure.

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