web analytics
August 22, 2014 / 26 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Seventy Years Later, White Rose Anti-Nazi Resistance Still Resonates

Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans and the student group White Rose protested Nazi atrocities, including the murder of Jews. In 1943, the Scholl siblings and their comrade Christoph Probst were caught, tried in a show trial and beheaded.

A bust of Sophie Scholl on display at the Walhalla memorial site in Bavaria, Germany.

A bust of Sophie Scholl on display at the Walhalla memorial site in Bavaria, Germany.
Photo Credit: Ryan Hulin

Though Sophie Scholl and the students of the White Rose resistance were executed by the Nazis seventy years ago last month, the example they set of courage in the face of authoritarian repression is as relevant today as it was seven decades ago.

Their crime: Daring to rouse the consciousness of their countrymen in the face of Nazi Germany’s destruction of all civil rights and its mass murder of European Jews.

In 1933, when Sophie was twelve and her brother, Hans, was fifteen, the Scholl siblings rejected their Lutheran upbringing and their parents’ Christian humanism and instead embraced Hitler’s philosophy of racial superiority, becoming leaders in the Hitler Youth.

But when Hans was arrested and convicted in 1938 for a same-sex relationship he had had three years earlier, when he was sixteen, their admiration for Hitler quickly ended. Gradually they became activists against the Nazi cause. By 1942, the siblings were engaging in daring forms of nonviolent resistance.

Newborn-030113In May 1942, they dubbed themselves the White Rose and joined with a handful of friends at the University of Munich to produce what became a staccato burst of six impassioned anti-Nazi leaflets. Reproducing thousands in their secret headquarters over a nine-month period – ages before the push-button efficiency of the Internet – they made dangerous train trips to distribute the leaflets throughout Germany. They mailed them to sixteen cities – Stuttgart, Vienna, Frankfurt, Berlin and Hamburg among them – in a bid to mislead the Gestapo into thinking theirs was a broad-based movement and not just a handful of students.

“Since the beginning of the war,” they declared in their second leaflet in June 1942, “300,000 Jews have been murdered in the most bestial manner. This is a crime unparalleled in human history – a crime against the dignity of Man. But why do we tell you these things when you already know them? Everyone wants to be exonerated, but you cannot be, because everyone is guilty, guilty, guilty.”

In their fourth leaflet, they wrote: “We will not be silent. We are your bad conscience. The White Rose will not leave you in peace!”

On Feb. 18, 1943, Sophie and Hans climbed a high gallery at the University of Munich’s vast atrium. From there they scattered hundreds of their sixth leaflet down upon the heads of astonished students below in what was called the only public protest by Germans against Nazism ever to be staged.

Spotted almost immediately, they were arrested by the Gestapo and subjected to grueling interrogation. Sophie, Hans and their comrade Christoph Probst were tried in a show trial in Munich by Hitler’s “hanging judge,” Roland Freisler. They were condemned to death. Just four days after their arrest, the three were beheaded by guillotine. Hans was twenty-four, Sophie twenty-one.

But their message lived on. Their last leaflet, smuggled out to the West, was dropped by the tons over Germany. Nobel laureate Thomas Mann broadcast back to Germany from American exile, praising the “splendid young people” who “at the time when Germany and Europe were still enveloped in the dark of night, knew and publicly declared” the ugly truth about Nazism in an attempt to bring about the “dawning” of a “new faith in freedom and honor.”

Today, the White Rose students are icons in Germany. In a nationwide TV competition to choose the top ten most important Germans of all time, German voters chose Sophie and Hans Scholl for fourth place – beating out Goethe, Gutenberg, Bach, Bismarck, Willy Brandt and Albert Einstein.

A German film, “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days,” was nominated for an Academy Award in 2006, the same time that “Sophie Scholl and the White Rose” was published. Its Hebrew edition just appeared in Israel in time for the seventieth anniversary of their extraordinary protest and executions.

Despite all this, the story of the White Rose resistance remains barely known by the general public outside Germany.

But heroism like theirs is being replicated in countries around the world. There is Malala Yousafazai, the now-thirteen-year-old Pakistani children’s rights activist who was shot in the head by the Taliban last October and now says she’s ready to fight on. There are Chinese dissidents like Liu Xiaobo, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2010 but is languishing in a Chinese prison.

Given the oppression, violence and threats such men and women face – and the costs they often are forced to pay – we who live in democracies owe it to them not to stay silent.

“Somebody had to make a start,” Sophie Scholl told Freisler, looking the judge straight in the eye on that fateful day in February 1943.

Seventy years on, we are still that somebody.

About the Author: Jud Newborn is co-author of "Sophie Scholl and the White Rose,” just published in Hebrew by Penn Publications. He also served as founding historian at New York's Museum of Jewish Heritage. His website is Judnewborn.posterous.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

5 Responses to “Seventy Years Later, White Rose Anti-Nazi Resistance Still Resonates”

  1. I SAW THIS FILM. IT'S EXTRAORDINARY FOR IT'S FEELING AND DEPTH OF TRUE HEROES AGAINST A FANATICAL REGIEME.

  2. Max Rambow says:

    I've heard tell that those very efficient Nazi guillotines were shipped to America after the war and will be used on us by our wonderful freedom loving, Constitution respecting Gov't.

  3. Betty Ames says:

    America needs to wake up.. to witness some of the Holocaust scenes. Even what is going on in muslim countries – today they are arresting Christians in Benghazi. those mobs are senseless, raised on stupidity, acting on insanity. allah is a god of hate, right out of hell driven by mindless rage & demon spirits.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I learned about the Schools years ago from an exhibition about the "White Rose" at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, USA. BYU has also featured “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days" in its International Cinema program.

  5. Jud Newborn says:

    Shabbat Shalom, Readers. In your community is interested in hearing my dramatic, multimedia lecture program on the White Rose and Human Rights Heroes today, please see http://judnewborn.posterous.com or http://www.judnewborn.com.
    (I'm delighted Brigham Young University presented the White Rose exhibition – which comes via the White Rose Foundation (Stiftung) in Munich.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A member of Students for Justice in Palestine punched a pro-Israel student in the face at Temple University, Aug. 20, 2014. SJP claims the pro-Israel student provoked the incident.
Pro-’Palestine’ Students at Temple U Blame Victim for Altercation
Latest Indepth Stories
Charles Krauthammer

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

David_Grossman

Blaming Israel for the violence in Gaza, he ends up justifying Hamas’s terrorism.

488px-WielkaSynagoga3_Lodz

In the Thirties it was common for anti-Semites to call on Jews to “go to Palestine!”

Netanyahu-Obama-030212

Obama never hid his contempt for the Israeli government or the majority of Israel’s voters.

“This arbitrary ban is an ugly stain on our democracy, and it also undermines the rule of law.”

We take US “aid” for psychological reasons-if we have an allowance, that means we have a father.

ZIM Piraeus isn’t Israeli-owned or flagged, incidentally, it is Greek operated.

Foolish me, thinking the goals were the destruction of Hamas thereby giving peace a real chance.

The free-spirted lifestyle didn’t hold your interest; the needs of your people did.

And why would the U.S. align itself on these issues with Turkey and Qatar, longtime advocates of Hamas’s interests?

Several years ago the city concluded that the metzitzah b’peh procedure created unacceptable risks for newborns in terms of the transmission of neo-natal herpes through contact with a mohel carrying the herpes virus.

The world wars caused unimaginable anguish for the Jews but God also scripted a great glory for our people.

We were quite disappointed with many of the points the secretary-general offered in response.

Judging by history, every time Hamas rebuilds their infrastructure, they are stronger than before.

His father asked him to read Psalms from the Book of Tehilim every day.

More Articles from Jud Newborn
A bust of Sophie Scholl on display at the Walhalla memorial site in Bavaria, Germany.

Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans and the student group White Rose protested Nazi atrocities, including the murder of Jews. In 1943, the Scholl siblings and their comrade Christoph Probst were caught, tried in a show trial and beheaded.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/108540/2013/02/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: