Contents of the White Rose link]
White Rose 2-7
Date: Sat Jan 10, 2004 7:16 pm
Subject: White Rose 2
Leaflets of The White Rose
The Second Leaflet
It is impossible to engage
in intellectual discourse with National Socialist Philosophy,
for if there were such an entity, one would have to try by means
of analysis and discussion either to prove its validity or to
combat it. In actuality, however, we face a totally different
situation. At it's very inception this movement depended on the
deception and betrayal of one's fellow man; even at that time
it was inwardly corrupt and could support itself only by constant
lies. After all, Hitler states in an early edition of "his"
book (a book written in the worst German I have ever read, in
spite of the fact that it has been elevated to the position of
the Bible in this nation of poets and thinkers): "It is
unbelievable, to what extent one must betray a people in order
to rule it." If at the start this cancerous growth in the
nation was not particularly noticeable, it was only because there
were still enough forces at work that operated for the good,
so that it was kept under control. As it grew larger, however,
and finally in an ultimate spurt of growth attained ruling power,
the tumor broke open, as it were, and infected the whole body.
The greater part of its former opponents went into hiding. The
German intellectuals fled to their cellars, there, like plants
struggling in the dark, away from light and sun, gradually to
choke to death. Now the end is at hand. Now it is our task to
find one another again, to spread information from person to
person, to keep a steady purpose, and to allow ourselves no rest
until the last man is persuaded of the urgent need of his struggle
against this system. When thus a wave of unrest goes through
the land, when "it is in the air," when many join the
cause, then in a great final effort this system can be shaken
off. After all, an end in terror is preferable to terror without
end. We are not in a position to draw up a final judgment about
the meaning of our history. But if this catastrophe can be used
to further the public welfare, it will be only by virtue of the
fact that we are cleansed by suffering; that we yearn for the
light in the midst of deepest night, summon our strength, and
finally help in shaking off the yoke which weighs on our world.
We do not want to discuss
here the question of the Jews, nor do we want in this leaflet
to compose a defense or apology. No, only by way of example do
we want to site the fact that since the conquest of Poland three
hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in this country in the
most bestial way. Here we see the most frightful crime against
human dignity, a crime that is unparalleled in the whole of history.
For Jews, too, are human beings - no matter what position we
take with respect to the Jewish question - and a crime of this
dimension has been perpetrated against human beings. Someone
may say that the Jews deserve their fate. This assertion would
be a monstrous impertinence; but let us assume that someone said
this - what position has he then taken toward the fact that the
entire Polish aristocratic youth is being annihilated? (May God
grant that this program has not yet fully achieved its aim as
yet!) All male offspring of the houses of the nobility between
the ages of fifteen and twenty were transported to concentration
camps in Germany and sentenced to forced labor, and all the girls
of this age group were sent to Norway, into the bordellos of
the SS! Why tell you these things, since you are fully aware
of them - or if not of these, then of other equally grave crimes
committed by this frightful sub-humanity? Because here we touch
on a problem which involves us deeply and forces us all to take
thought. Why do German people behave so apathetically in the
face of all these abominable crimes, crimes so unworthy of the
human race? Hardly anyone thinks about that. It is accepted as
fact and put out of mind. The German people slumber on in their
dull, stupid sleep and encourage these fascist criminals; they
give them the opportunity to carry on their depredations; and
of course they do so. Is this a sign that the Germans are brutalized
in their simplest human feelings, that no chord within them cries
out at the sight of such deeds, that they have sunk into a fatal
consciencelessness from which they will never, never awake? It
seems to be so, and will certainly be so, if the German does
not at last start up out of his stupor, if he does not protest
wherever and whenever he can against this clique of criminal,
if he shows no sympathy for these hundreds of thousands of victims.
He must evidence not only sympathy; no, much more: a sense of
complicity in guilt. For through his apathetic behavior he gives
these evil men the opportunity to act as they do; he tolerates
this "government" which has taken upon itself such
an infinitely great burden of guilt; indeed, he himself is to
blame for the fact that it came about at all! Each man wants
to be exonerated of a guilt of this kind, each one continues
on his way with the most placid, the calmest conscience. But
he cannot be exonerated; he is guilty, guilty, guilty! It is
not too late, however, to do away with this most reprehensible
of all miscarriages of government, so as to avoid being burdened
with even greater guilt. Now, when in recent years our eyes have
been opened, when we know exactly who our adversary is, it is
high time to root out this brown horde. Up until the outbreak
of the war the larger part of the German people was blinded;
the Nazis did not show themselves in their true aspect. But now,
now that we have recognized them for what they are, it must be
the sole and first duty, the holiest duty of every German to
destroy these beasts.
If the people are barely aware
that the government exists, they are happy. When the government
is felt to be oppressive they are broken. Good fortune, alas!
builds itself upon misery. Good fortune, alas! is the mask of
misery. What will come of this? We cannot foresee the end. Order
is upset and turns to disorder, good becomes evil. The people
are confused. Is it not so, day in, day out, from the beginning?
The wise man is therefore
angular, though he does not injure others; he has sharp corners,
though he does not harm; he is upright but not gruff. He is clearminded,
but he does not try to be brilliant.
Whoever undertakes to rule
the kingdom and to shape it according to his whim - I foresee
that he will fail to reach his goal. That is all.
The kingdom is a living being.
It cannot be constructed, in truth! He who tries to manipulate
it will spoil it, he who tries to put it under his power will
Therefore: Some creatures
go out in front, others follow, some have warm breath, others
cold, some are strong, some weak, some attain abundance, others
The wise man will accordingly
forswear excess, he will avoid arrogance and not overreach.
Please make as many copies
as possible of this leaflet and distribute them.
Date: Sat Jan 10, 2004 7:21 pm
Subject: White Rose 3
Leaflets of The White Rose
The Third Leaflet
Salus publica suprema lex
All ideal forms of government are utopias. A state cannot be
constructed on a purely theoretical basis; rather, it must grow
and ripen in the way an individual human being matures. But we
must not forget that at the starting point of every civilization
the state was already there in rudimentary form. The family is
as old as man himself, and out of this initial bond man, endowed
with reason, created for himself a state founded on justice,
whose highest law was the common good. The state should exist
as a parallel to the divine order, and the highest of all utopias,
the civitas dei, is the model which in the end it should approximate.
Here we will not pass judgment on the many possible forms of
the state - democracy, constitutional monarchy, and so on. But
one matter needs to be brought out clearly and unambiguously.
Every individual human being has a claim to a useful and just
state, a state which secures freedom of the individual as well
as the good of the whole. For, according to God's will, man is
intended to pursue his natural goal, his earthly happiness, in
self-reliance and self-chosen activity, freely and independently
within the community of life and work of the nation.
But our present "state"
is the dictatorship of evil. "Oh, we've known that for a
long time," I hear you object, "and it isn't necessary
to bring that to our attention again." But, I ask you, if
you know that, why do you not bestir yourselves, why do you allow
these men who are in power to rob you step by step, openly and
in secret, of one domain of your rights after another, until
one day nothing, nothing at all will be left but a mechanized
state system presided over by criminals and drunks? Is your spirit
already so crushed by abuse that you forget it is your right
- or rather, your moral duty - to eliminate this system? But
id a man no longer can summon the strength to demand his right,
then it is absolutely certain that he will perish. We would deserve
to be dispersed through the earth like dust before the wind if
we do not muster our powers at this late hour and finally find
the courage which up to now we have lacked. Do not hide your
cowardice behind a cloak of expediency, for with every new day
that you hesitate, failing to oppose this offspring of Hell,
your guilt, as in a parabolic curve, grows higher and higher.
Many, perhaps most, of the readers of these leaflets do not see
clearly how they can practice an effective opposition. They do
not see any avenues open to them. We want to try to show them
that everyone is in a position to contribute to the overthrow
of this system. It is not possible through solitary withdrawal,
in the manner of embittered hermits, to prepare the ground for
the overturn of this "government" or bring about the
revolution at the earliest possible moment. No, it can be done
only by the cooperation of many convinced, energetic people -
people who are agreed as to the means they must use to attain
their goal. We have no great number of choices as to these means.
The only one available is passive resistance. The meaning and
the goal of passive resistance is to topple National Socialism,
and in this struggle we must not recoil from any course, any
action, whatever its nature. At all points we must oppose National
Socialism, wherever it is open to attack. We must soon bring
this monster of a state to an end. A victory of fascist Germany
in this war would have immeasurable, frightful consequences.
The military victory over Bolshevism dare not become the primary
concern of the Germans. The defeat of the Nazis must unconditionally
be the first order of business, the greater necessity of this
latter requirement will be discussed in one of our forthcoming
And now every convinced opponent
of National Socialism must ask himself how he can fight against
the present "state" in the most effective way, how
he can strike it the most telling blows. Through passive resistance,
without a doubt. We cannot provide each man with the blueprint
for his acts, we can only suggest them in general terms, and
he alone will find the way of achieving this end:
Sabotage in armament plants
and war industries, sabotage at all gatherings, rallies, public
ceremonies, and organizations of the National Socialist Party.
Obstruction of the smooth functioning of the war machine (a machine
for war that goes on solely to shore up and perpetuate the National
Socialist Party and its dictatorship). Sabotage in all the areas
of science and scholarship which further the continuation of
the war - whether in universities, technical schools, laboratories,
research institutes, or technical bureaus. Sabotage in all cultural
institutions which could potentially enhance the "prestige"
of the fascists among the people. Sabotage in all branches of
the arts which have even the slightest dependence on National
Socialism or render it service. Sabotage in all publications,
all newspapers, that are in the pay of the "government"
and that defend its ideology and aid in disseminating the brown
lie. Do not give a penny to public drives (even when they are
conducted under the pretense of charity). For this is only a
disguise. In reality the proceeds aid neither the Red Cross nor
the needy. The government does not need this money; it is not
financially interested in these money drives. After all, the
presses run continuously to manufacture any desired amount of
paper currency. But the populace must be kept constantly under
tension, the pressure of the bit must not be allowed to slacken!
Do not contribute to the collections of metal, textiles, and
the like. Try to convince all your acquaintances, including those
in the lower social classes, of the senselessness of continuing,
of the hopelessness of this war; of our spiritual and economic
enslavement at the hands of the National Socialists; of the destruction
of all moral and religious values; and urge them to passive resistance!
Aristotle, Politics: "...
and further, it is part [of the nature of tyranny] to strive
to see to it that nothing is kept hidden of that which any subject
says or does, but that everywhere he will be spied upon, ...
and further, to set man against the privileged and the wealthy.
Also it is part of these tyrannical measures, to keep the subjects
poor, in order to pay the guards and soldiers, and so that they
will be occupied with earning their livelihood and will have
neither leisure nor opportunity to engage in conspiratorial acts....
Further, [to levy] such taxes on income as were imposed in Syracuse,
for under Dionysius the citizens gladly paid out their whole
fortunes in taxes within five years. Also, the tyrant is inclined
constantly to forment wars."
Please duplicate and distribute!
Date: Sat Jan 10, 2004 7:24 pm
Subject: White Rose 4
Leaflets of The White Rose
The Fourth Leaflet
There is an ancient maxim
that we repeat to our children: "He who won't listen will
have to feel." But a wise child will not burn his fingers
the second time on a hot stove. In the past weeks Hitler has
choked up successes in Africa and in Russia. In consequence,
optimism on the one hand and distress and pessimism on the other
have grown within the German people with a rapidity quite inconsistent
with traditional German apathy. On all sides one hears among
Hitler's opponents - the better segments of the population -
exclamations of despair, words of disappointment and discouragement,
often ending with the question: "Will Hitler now, after
Meanwhile, the German offensive against Egypt has ground to a
halt. Rommel has to bide his time in a dangerously exposed position.
But the push into the East proceeds. This apparent success has
been purchased at the most horrible expense of human life, and
so it can no longer be counted an advantage. Therefore we must
warn against all optimism.
Neither Hitler nor Goebbels can have counted the dead. In Russia
thousands are lost daily. It is the time of the harvest, and
the reaper cuts into the ripe grain with wide strokes. Mourning
takes up her abode in the country cottages, and there is no one
to dry the tears of the mothers. Yet Hitler feeds with lies those
people whose most precious belongings he has stolen and whom
he has driven to a meaningless death.
Every word that comes from Hitler's mouth is a lie. When he says
peace, he means war, and when he blasphemously uses the name
of the Almighty, he means the power of evil, the fallen angel,
Satan. His mouth is the foul-smelling maw of Hell, and his might
is at bottom accursed. True, we must conduct a struggle against
the National Socialist terrorist state with rational means; but
whoever today still doublts the reality, the existence of demonic
powers, has failed by a wide margin to understand the metaphysical
background of this war. Behind the concrete, the visible events,
behind all objective, logical considerations, we find the irrational
element: The struggle against the demon, against the servants
of the Antichrist. Everywhere and at all times demons have been
lurking in the dark, waiting for the moment when man is weak;
when of his own volition he leaves his place in the order of
Creation as founded for him by God in freedom; when he yields
to the force of evil, separates himself from the powers of a
higher order; and after voluntarily taking the first step, he
is driven on to the next and the next at a furiously accelerating
rate. Everywhere and at all times of greatest trial men have
appeared, prophets and saints who cherished their freedom, who
preached the One God and who His help brought the people to a
reversal of their downward course. Man is free, to be sure, but
without the true God he is defenseless against the principle
of evil. He is a like rudderless ship, at the mercy of the storm,
an infant without his mother, a cloud dissolving into thin air.
I ask you, you as a Christian wrestling for the preservation
of your greatest treasure, whether you hesitate, whether you
incline toward intrigue, calculation, or procrastination in the
hope that someone else will raise his arm in your defense? Has
God not given you the strength, the will to fight? We must attack
evil where it is strongest, and it is strongest in the power
So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done
under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed,
and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors
there was power; but they had no comforter. Wherefore I praised
the dead which are already dead than the living which are yet
alive. Ecclesiastes 4
True anarchy is the generative element of religion. Out of the
annihilation of every positive element she lifts her gloriously
radiant countenance as the founder of a new world... If Europe
were about to awaken again, if a state of states, a teaching
of political science were at hand! Should hierarchy then... be
the principle of the union of states? Blood will stream over
Europe until the nations become aware of the frightful madness
which drives them in circles. And then, struck by celestial music
and made gentle, the approach their former altars all together,
hear about the works of peace, and hold a great celebration of
peace with fervent tears before the smoking altars. Only religion
can reawaken Europe, establish the rights of the peoples, and
install Christianity in new splendor visibly on earth in its
office as guarantor of peace. Novalis
We wish expressly to point out that the White Rose is not in
the pay of any foreign power. Though we know that National Socialist
power must be broken by military means, we are trying to achieve
a renewal from within of the severely wounded German spirit.
This rebirth must be preceded, however, by the clear recognition
of all the guilt with which the German people have burdened themselves,
and by an uncompromising battle against Hitler and his all too
many minions, party members, Quislings, and the like. With total
brutality the chasm that separates the better portion of the
nation from everything that is opened wide. For Hitler and his
followers there is no punishment on this Earth commensurate with
their crimes. But out of love for coming generations we must
make an example after the conclusion of the war, so that no one
will ever again have the slightest urge to try a similar action.
And do not forget the petty scoundrels in this regime; note their
names, so that none will go free! They should not find it possible,
having had their part in these abominable crimes, at the last
minute to rally to another flag and then act as if nothing had
happened! To set you at rest, we add that the addresses of the
readers of the White Rose are not recorded in writing. They were
picked at random from directories.
We will not be silent. We are your bad conscience. The White
Rose will not leave you in peace!
Date: Sat Jan 10, 2004 7:29 pm
Subject: White Rose 5
Leaflets of The Resistance
The Fifth Leaflet
A Call to All Germans!
The war is approaching its destined end. As in the year 1918,
the German government is trying to focus attention exclusively
on the growing threat of submarine warfare, while in the East
the armies are constantly in retreat and invasion in imminent
in the West. Mobiliation in the United States has not yet reached
its climax, but already it exceeds anything that the world has
ever seen. It has become a mathematical certainty that Hitler
is leading the German people into the abyss. Hitler cannot win
the war; he can only prolong it. The guilt of Hitler and his
minions goes beyond all measure. Retribution comes closer and
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.
Germans! Do you and your children want to suffer the same fate
that befell the Jews? Do you want to be judged by the same standards
are your traducers? Are we to be forever a nation which is hated
and rejected by all mankind? No. Dissociate yourselves from National
Socialist gangsterism. Prove by your deeds that you think otherwise.
A new war of liberation is about to begin. The better part of
the nation will fight on our side. Cast off the cloak of indifference
you have wrapped around you. Make the decision before it is too
late. Do not believe the National Socialist propoganda which
has driven the fear of Bolshevism into your bones. Do not believe
that Germany's welfare is linked to the victory of national Socialism
for good or ill. A criminal regime cannot achieve a German victory.
Separate yourselves in time from everything connected with National
Socialism. In the aftermath a terrible but just judgment will
be meted out to those who stayed in hiding, who were cowardly
What can we learn from the outcome of this war-this war that
never was a national war?
The imperialist ideology of force, from whatever side it comes,
must be shattered for all time. A one sided Prussian militarism
must never again be allowed to assume power. Only in large-scale
cooperation among the nations of Europe can the ground be prepared
for reconstruction. Centralized hegemony, such as the Prussian
state has tried to excercise in Germany and in Europe, must be
cut down at its inception. The Germany of the future must be
a federal state. At this juncture only a sound federal system
can inbue a weakened Europe with a new life. The workers must
be liberated from their condition of down trodden slavery under
National Socialism. The illusory structure of autonomous national
industry must disappear. Every nation and each man have a right
to the goods of the whole world!
Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the protection of individual
citizens from the abritrary will of criminal regimes of violence-these
will be the bases of the New Europe.
Support the resistance. Distribute the leaflets!
Date: Sat Jan 10, 2004 7:32 pm
Subject: White Rose 6
Leaflets of The Resistance
The Sixth Leaflet
Fellow Fighters in the Resistance!
Shaken and broken, our people behold the loss of the men of Stalingrad.
Three hundred and thirty thousand German men have been senselessly
and irresponsibly driven to death and destruction by the inspired
strategy of our World War I Private First Class. Fuhrer, we thank
The German people are in ferment. Will we continue to entrust
the fate of our armies to a dilettante? Do we want to sacrifice
the rest of German youth to the base ambitions of a Party clique?
No, never! 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
We grew up in a state in which all free expression of opinion
is unscrupulously suppressed. The Hitler Youth, the SA, the SS
have tried to drug us, to revolutionize us, to regiment us in
the most promising young years of our lives.
is the name given to the despicable method by which our budding
intellectual development is muffled in a fog of empty phrases.
A system of selection of leaders at once unimaginably devilish
and narrow-minded trains up its future party bigwigs in the "Castles
of the Knightly Order" to become Godless, impudent, and
conscienceless exploiters and executioners - blind, stupid hangers-on
of the Fuhrer. We "Intellectual Workers" are the ones
who should put obstacles in the path of this caste of overlords.
Soldiers at the front are regimented like schoolboys by student
leaders and trainees for the post of Gauleiter, and the lewd
jokes of the Gauleiters insult the honor of the women students.
German women students at the university in Munich have given
a dignified reply to the besmirching of their honor, and German
students have defended the women in the universities and have
stood firm.... That is a beginning of the struggle for our free
self-determination - without which intellectual and spiritual
values cannot be created. We thank the brave comrades, both men
and women, who have set us brilliant examples.
For us there is but one slogan: fight against the party! Get
out of the party organization, which are used to keep our mouths
sealed and hold us in political bondage! Get out of the lecture
rooms of the SS corporals and sergeants and the party bootlickers!
We want genuine learning and real freedom of opinion. No threat
can terrorize us, not even the shutting down of the institutions
of higher learning. This is the struggle of each and every one
of us for our future, our freedom, and our honor under a regime
conscious of its moral responsibility.
Freedom and honor! For ten long years Hitler and his coadjutor
have manhandled, squeezed, twisted, and debased these two splendid
German words to the point of nausea, as only dilettantes can,
casting the highest values of a nation before swine. They have
sufficiently demonstrated in the ten years of destruction of
all material and intellectual freedom, of all moral substance
among the German people, what they understand by freedom and
honor. The frightful bloodbath has opened the eyes of even the
stupidest German - it is a slaughter which they arranged in the
name of "freedom and honor of the German nation" throughout
Europe, and which they daily start anew. The name of Germany
is dishonored for all time if German youth does not finally rise,
take revenge, and atone, smash its tormentors, and set up a new
Europe of the spirit. Students! The German people look to us.
As in 1813 the people expected us to shake off the Napoleonic
yoke, so in 1943 they look to us to break the National Socialist
terror through the power of the spirit. Beresina and Stalingrad
are burning in the East. The dead of Stalingrad implore us to
take action. "Up, up, my people, let smoke and flame be
Our people stand ready to rebel against the Nationals Socialist
enslavement of Europe in a fervent new breakthrough of freedom
Date: Sat Jan 10, 2004 7:34 pm
Subject: White Rose 7
Leaflets of The Resistance
A Seventh Leaflet?
When Hans and Sophie Scholl were taken into Gestapo custody on
that fateful February morning, Hans carried in his pocket the
draft of the next leaflet - handwritten by Christoph Probst.
When discovered, Hans insisted it was thrust upon him in a crowd
by an unknown student and then Hans shred the document into innumerable
pieces. It was carefully taped together by the Gestapo and matched
to a sample of Christl's handwriting found in Hans' apartment.
The Gestapo also forced him to "reconstruct" the draft
during his interogation. So what did Christl have to say? The
following is quoted from an article entitled "The White
Rose in the Light of New Archival Evidence" by Christiane
Moll [Resistance Against the Third Reich 1933-1990; ed. by Michael
Geyer and John W. Boyer]:
After listening to BBC broadcasts,
Probst quoted in his draft Roosevelt's demand for unconditional
surrender on January 24, 1943, emphasizing that this demand was
not directed against the people but against the political systems
of the Axis powers. The positive example he referred to was the
clearance of the German-Italian troops on January 23, 1943, in
Tripoli by the British, which was carried out without senseless
sacrifices [of human life]. Probst wrote, "What did the
English do? They let the lives of the citizens continue in their
usual tracks. They even keep the police and the civil servants."
The other extreme, Probst wrote, was the senseless sacrifice
of two hundred thousand German soldiers in Stalingrad "for
the prestige of a military con-man." National Socialist
propaganda had concealed the humane nature of the Russian demands
of surrender. Probst then appealed to the Germans: "Today
Germany is as encircled as Stalingrad was. Will all Germans be
sacrificed to the harbinger of hate and destruction? To him,
who tortured the Jews, who eradicated half of the Poles, who
desired the annihilation of Russia - to him who took away liberty,
peace, happiness, hope and joy, and gave us inflationary money
instead? This ought not, this must not be. Hitler and his regime
must fall so that Germany can live. Make your decision, Stalingrad
and downfall, or Tripoli and a hopeful future. And once you have
decided, act." A desire for a "hopeful future"
must have been especially strong for Probst, who had a family
and whose third child had just been born.
Date: Sat Jan 10, 2004 7:44 pm
Subject: The People of the White Rose
Born on May 9, 1921, when
her father was mayor of Forchtenberg am Kocher, Sophie Scholl
was the fourth of five children. At age seven she entered grade-school;
she learned easily and had a carefree childhood.
In 1930, the family moved to Ludwigsburg and two years later
to Ulm, where her father had acquired a business consulting office.
In 1932, Sophie started [attending] a secondary school for girls.
At the age of twelve, she joined the Hitler Youth, like most
of her classmates. Her initial enthusiasm gradually gave way
to criticism. She was aware of the dissenting political views
of her father, of friends, and also of some teachers. The political
attitude now became an essential criterion in her choice of friends.
The arrest of her brothers and friends in 1937 left a strong
impression on her.
She had a talent for drawing and painting and for the first time
came into contact with a few so-called 'degenerate' artists.
An avid reader, she developed a growing interest philosophy and
theology. This was her alternative world to National Socialism.
In the spring of 1940, she graduated from secondary school. The
subject of her essay was 'The Hand that Moved the Cradle, Moved
the World.' Being fond of children, she became a kindergarten
teacher at the Fröbel Institute in Ulm-Söflingen. She
had also chosen this kindergarten job hoping that it would be
recognized as an alternate service to 'Reichsarbeitsdienst' (National
Labor Service), a prerequisite to be admitted to the University.
This was an error: from spring of 1941 on, she had to serve six
months of auxiliary war service as a nursery teacher in Blumberg.
The military-like regimen of the Labor Service caused her to
deliberate and practice passive resistance.
In May 1942, at long last, she could enroll at the University
of Munich as a student of biology and philosophy. Her brother
Hans, who was studying medicine there, introduced her to his
friends. Although this group of friends were eventually known
for their political affairs, they were initially drawn together
by a shared love of art, music, literature, philosophy and theology.
Hiking in the mountains, skiing and swimming were also of importance.
They often attended concerts, plays and lectures together.
In Munich Sophie met artists, writers and philosophers, particularly
Carl Muth and Theodor Haecker, who were important contacts for
her concern with the Christian faith. Of foremost importance
was the question of how the individual must act under dictatorship.
During the summer vacation in 1942, Sophie Scholl had to do war
service in a metallurgical plant in Ulm. At the same time, her
father was serving time in prison for a critical remark about
Hitler to an employee.
In the early summer of 1942, Sophie had also participated in
the production of the leaflets of the White Rose and their distribution.
She was arrested on February 18, 1943, while distributing the
sixth leaflet at the University of Munich. On February 22, 1943,
Sophie, her brother Hans and their friend Christoph Probst were
condemned to death and executed by guillotine only a few hours
Prison officials emphasized the courage with which she walked
to her execution.
Date: Sat Jan 10, 2004 7:48 pm
Subject: Into the Light
Critics, and Controversy
Else Gebel was a political
prisoner assigned to work duty at the Prison Administration of
Gestapo Headquarters in Munich. She was Sophie's cellmate during
the four days Sophie was held there. In 1946 Else sent the following
letter to the Scholl family.
To the Memory of Sophie Scholl.
I have before me your picture, Sophie, earnest, questioning,
standing alongside your brother and Christoph Probst. It is as
if you suspected what a heavy destiny you were to fulfill, which
was to unite the three of you in death.
February 1943. As a political prisoner, I am put to work in the
receiving office at the Gestapo headquarters in Munich. It is
my job to register those other unfortunates who have fallen into
the hands of the secret police and to record their personal data
in the card catalogue which grows larger day by day.
For days now there has been feverish excitement among the officials.
With increasing frequency at night the streets and houses are
being painted with signs, "Down With Hitler!," "Long
Live Freedom," or simply, "Freedom."
At the University leaflets have been found strewn about the corridors
and on the stairs. At the prison office there is a marked tenseness
in the atmosphere. None of the investigative personnel come from
the headquarters to the prison; most of them have been detailed
on "Special Investigative Duty." Which of the brave
fighters for freedom will they snare now? We who are familiar
with the methods of these merciless brutes are torn with anxiety
for the people who are daily apprehended.
Early on Thursday, February 18, there is a telephone call from
headquarters: "Keep a number of cells free for today."
I ask the official, who is my boss, "Who is expected?,"
and he says, "The painters."
A few hours later, you, Sophie, are brought in by an official
to wait in the receiving room. You are quiet, relaxed. almost
amused by all the excitement around you. Your brother Hans was
brought in shortly before, and he has already been locked up.
Every new arrival must hand over his papers and belongings and
then submit to a body search. Since there are no female guards
in the Gestapo, I have to perform the job. For the first time
we stand face to face and alone, and I can whisper: "If
you have a leaflet on you, destroy it now. I am a prisoner too."
Will you trust me, or do you think that the police are laying
a trap? Your quiet, friendly manner allays all suspicion. You
are not in the least excited. I can feel my own tension giving
way. They must have made a big mistake in bringing you here.
For surely this sweet girl with an innocent child's face has
never been involved in such reckless acts. You are even assigned
the best cell, which is generally reserved for deviant Nazi bigwigs.
Its superiority consists of its having a larger window, containing
a small locker, and having white covers on the blankets.
In the meantime I am ordered, while under surveillance, to get
my belongings from the cell I have been in until now, and I am
transferred to your cell. Again we are alone for a moment. You
lie on the bed and ask how long I've been in detention and how
I am getting along. Immediately you tell me that yours is probably
an important case and therefore you will not be able to count
on an easy outcome. Again I advise you under no circumstances
to admit anything for which no evidence exists. "Yes, that
preliminary examination before the Gestapo," you answer.
"But there are so many things that they may be able to find."
Steps approach the cell door, you are taken away for interrogation,
I am sent to my work.
It is now close to three o'clock. Various other students, men
and women, are brought in, but some of them are dismissed after
a brief examination. Your brother Hans is already being interrogated.
What may those men "up there" meanwhile have discovered
in the way of incriminating evidence? It is six o'clock. Supper
is brought, and you are conducted back to the cells, but separately.
A servant, likewise a prisoner, brings warm soup and bread when
the phone rings: "The two Scholls are not to have anything
to eat: the examination will resume in half an hour." But
down here we wouldn't think of withholding the food from you,
and so you are both somewhat strengthened for the next interrogation.
It is eight o'clock, and I have finished my last task, the prison
roster. Several more unfortunates have come to this house of
suffering. About ten o'clock I go to bed and wait for your return.
I lie awake and stare anxiously out into the clear, starry night.
I try to pray for you in order to calm my nerves. In the evenings
the officials whisper secretively with one another. Seldom does
that foretell anything good. Hour after hour goes by, and you
do not return. Toward morning I am exhausted and fall asleep.
At 6:30 the servant brings in coffee. Usually at this time I
am informed if anything has happened. Soon my hope that you might
have been released after all is dashed. I learn that the two
of you were under interrogation all night long, and toward morning
you confessed; that the weight of evidence in their hands had
brought you to this, after you denied everything for hours. Totally
depressed, I go about my melancholy duties. I am fearful about
the state of your spirit when you come down, and I hardly believe
my eyes when, toward eight o'clock, you stand there absolutely
calm, though tired. There, in the receiving room, I give you
breakfast, and you tell me that they gave you real coffee during
the questioning. Then you are taken back to the cell, and I go
along under the pretext that I have forgotten something. Before
they have time to fetch me back, I have found out a number of
things. You kept denying your complicity for a long time, but
after all, at the university they found the text of a leaflet
in Hans' pocket. Of course he had torn it up immediately and
stated that it come from a student whose name he didn't know.
But the Gestapo agents had already made a thorough search of
your rooms. They carefully pieced together the torn paper and
found the handwriting to be the same as that of a friend of yours.
Then the two of you knew that all was lost, and that moment on
all your thoughts were: We will take the blame for everything,
so that no other person is put in danger. They let you alone
for a few hours, and you sleep well and deeply. I begin to be
amazed at you. These many hours of interrogation have no effect
on your calm, relaxed manner. Your unshakable deep faith gives
you the strength to sacrifice yourself for the sake of others.
Friday evening. The whole afternoon you had to submit to many
questions and frame your answers, but you are not in the least
fatigued. You tell me about the impending invasion, which must
occur in eight weeks at the latest. Then Germany will receive
blow upon blow, and at last we will be released from tyranny.
Of course I am ready to believe you, but I am troubled by the
fear that you will no longer be with us. You doubt that you will
live to see that day, but when I tell you how long they have
held my brother without bringing him to trail --- more than a
year now --- you begin to have hope. In your case it will certainly
take a long time. Gain time and you gain everything.
Today you tell me how often you scattered leaflets at the university,
and in the face of the gravity of the situation, we laugh when
you tell how once on the way home from a "scattering tour"
you went up to a cleaning woman who wanted to gather up the leaflets
from the steps and said to her. "Why do you pick up those
sheets? Just let them lie there; the students are supposed to
read them." Then again: how well you knew at all times that
if ever the agents of the Gestapo caught one of you, it would
cost your life. I can understand that often you were in exultant
high spirits when you had completed a night's work, hanging banners
in the streets or placing a stack of letters of The White Rose
in mailboxes to await their delivery. If you happened to have
a bottle of wine, you opened it in celebration of one of your
You also describe for me your last action together. You and Hans
have scattered the greater part of the leaflets in the university
hall and are standing with your suitcase out in the Ludwigstrasse
again when you decide that it ought to be possible to empty the
bag before you go home. On the spur of the moment, you turn around,
go back into the hall and up to the top of the stairs, and fling
the remaining sheets down the light well. Naturally, this causes
a commotion, and the Gestapo officers order all the doors locked.
Every person has to show his papers. All of a sudden the corridors
are completely empty. As you come down the staircase, the custodian
Schmiedel [sic] comes toward you, to hand you over to the Gestapo.
On this evening we talk until late at night. I am unable to get
to sleep, but you are breathing deep and rhythmically.
Saturday morning brings you more hours of interrogation. And
when I come in at noon, glad to be able to tell you that now
you will be left in peace until Monday morning, it doesn't please
you at all. You find the questioning stimulating, interesting.
At least you have the good fortune to have one of the few likable
investigators. He --- Mohr is his name --- gave you a long lecture
this morning about the meaning of National Socialism, the Führer
principle, German honor, and how grievously you had compromised
Germany's armed security by your deeds. Perhaps he wants to offer
you one more chance when he asks, "Fraulein Scholl, if you
had known and thought over all these things that I have explained
to you, you certainly would have never let yourself be swept
along into acts of this kind, would you?" And what is your
answer, you courageous, honest girl? "You are wrong. I would
do exactly the same next time, for it is you, not I, who have
the mistaken Weltanschauung."
On this Saturday and Sunday we are served meals by prisoners
detailed to these tasks. I have the utensils for brewing tea
and coffee, and each of us contributes his bit. In our little
cell we quickly accumulate the rarest riches --- cigarettes,
cookies, sausages, and butter. From our stocks we can also send
things upstairs to your brother, about whom you worry so. We
also send Willi Graf a cigarette with "Freedom" written
Sunday morning brings you a great shock. At breakfast they whisper
to me, "Last night another one of the principals in this
action arrived." I tell you, and you thing of none other
than Alexander Schmorell. When at ten o'clock I am fetched for
duty in the office, the entries for the previous night have already
been registered, and the cards are already filed. I look them
up and read: "Christoph Probst. Treason." For two hours
I am happy, knowing I'll be able to tell you that it isn't Alex
whom they have caught, but I read horror in your face when I
mention Christl's name. For the first time I see you upset. Christl
--- the good, true friend, father of three small children, the
man who for the sake of his family you expressly did not want
to involve --- has now been drawn into the whirlpool because
of this one leaflet. But you get hold of yourself again; at most
they can give Christl a prison sentence, and he will soon have
that behind him. At noon the investigator comes, and he brings
fruit, cookies, and a couple of cigarettes, and asks me how you
are feeling. Surely he is expressing pity, for he knows better
than anyone else the black clouds that have gathered over your
head. In the afternoon we sit together in our cell, until you
are summoned (it is about three o'clock) to receive the notice
of indictment. I am told that the proceeding against the three
of you will begin tomorrow. The dreaded People's Court is in
session here, and Freisler and his brutal accomplices are determined
to pronounce the sentence of death.
Dear, dear Sophie, your fate has already been decided. After
a few minutes you come back, pale and very upset. Your hand trembles
as you begin to read the bulky indictment. But the further you
read, the calmer your expression becomes, and by the time you
reach the end, your nervousness is dispelled. "Thank God,"
is all that you say. Then you ask me whether I can read the document
with impunity, without risking some unpleasantness. Even in this
hour you do not want anyone to risk danger on your account. You
dear, pour soul, how I have come to love you in these last few
Outside it is a sunny February day. People pass by these walls
happy and cheerful, not suspecting that once again three courageous,
honest Germans are being handed over to their death. We have
lain down on our beds, and in a soft, calm voice you begin to
reminisce. "It is such a splendid, sunny day, and I have
to go. But how many have to die on the battlefield in these days,
how many young, promising lives.... What does my death matter
if by our acts thousands of people are warned and alerted. Among
the student body there will certainly be a revolt." Oh,
Sophie, you haven't learned how cowardly the human herd is! "After
all, I could die of illness, but would that mean the same thing?"
I try to hold out to you the hope that it might very well happen
that you'll get by with a long prison sentence. But you, my faithful
sister, will not let me talk about that. "If my brother
is sentenced to death, then I must not and ought not to receive
a lighter sentence. My guilt is exactly the same as his."
You explain this also to your defense counsel, who has been brought
in as a formality. He asks you whether you have any request.
As if a puppet of his sort could see to it that any request was
granted! No, you want only to have him confirm the fact that
your brother has a right to execution by firing squad, for after
all, he has been a front-line soldier. But even on this point
he is unable to give you a definite answer, and he is horrified
at your further question, as to whether you are likely to be
publicly hanged or are to die on the guillotine. That sort of
question, asked in such a calm way, and by a young girl --- he
hadn't expected this. Where ordinarily strong men who are used
to battle would tremble, you remain quiet and composed. But naturally
he gives you evasive answers.
Mohr stops in again to advise you to write your letters to your
loved ones today if possible, since in Stadelheim Prison they'll
let you write only brief notes. Are his intentions kindly, or
do they hope to obtain new evidence from the letters? In any
case, your family have never been allowed to read as much as
a line of those letters. After ten o'clock we go to bad. You
continue to tell me about your parents and brothers and sisters.
Concern for your mother oppresses you. To lose two children at
the same moment, and the other brother on duty somewhere in Russia!
"Father has a better understanding of what we did."
All night long the light is kept on, and every half-hour an officer
comes to see that everything is still in order. These people
have no conception of your deep faith, your trust in God! The
night stretches out endlessly for me, while you sleep soundly
Shortly before seven o'clock I have to wake you for this difficult
day. You wake at once and tell me, still seated on the bed, about
your dream: On a beautiful sunny day you brought a child in a
long white dress to be baptized. The way to the church was up
a steep mountain, but you carried the child safely and firmly.
Unexpectedly there opened up before you a crevice in the glacier.
You had just time enough to lay the child safely on the other
side before you plunged into the abyss. You interpreted your
dream this way: "The child in the white dress is our idea;
it will prevail in spite of all obstacles. We were permitted
to be pioneers, but we must die early for the sake of that idea."
I will have to go to the office soon. How I hope for your safety,
how my thoughts will constantly be with you, you undoubtedly
know. I promise you that later, in quieter times, I will tell
your parents about our days together. Then a last handshake:
"God be with you, Sophie"; and I am called away.
Shortly after nine o'clock they take you in a private car, accompanied
by two officials, to the Palace of Justice. As you pass, you
send me one last glance. Your brother Hans and Christoph Probst,
both handcuffed, are also brought out and taken in another car.
Down here the prison seemed deserted today. Instead of the coming
and going of many people of the last days there is oppressive
silence. After two o'clock we receive the frightful news from
the headquarters: all three sentences to death!
Paralyzed with fear, I hear the frightful report. Poor, dear
Sophie, I wonder how you are bearing up. They say you were brave
and not intimidated at the trial. May God give you the strength
to hold out. Perhaps a plea for mercy will now succeed after
all! Your friends and loved ones will try every possible means
of saving you. Again I begin to hope a little. But the People's
Court can set aside any and every traditional right.
At 4:30 Mohr comes in. He is still in his hat and coat, white
as chalk. I am the first to ask, "Herr Mohr, is it really
true that all three will die?" He only nods, himself still
shaken by the experience. "How did she take the sentence?
Did you have a chance to talk to Sophie?" In a tired voice
he answers, "She was very brave; I talked with her in Stadelheim
Prison. And she was permitted to see her parents." Fearfully
I ask, "Is there no chance at all for a plea of mercy?"
He looks up at the clock on the wall and says softly, in a dull
voice, "Keep her in your thoughts during the next half hour.
By that time she will have come to the end of her suffering."
These words fall like bludgeon blows on all of us. We are stunned
to learn that three good, innocent persons have to die because
they dared to rise against an organized band of murders, because
they wanted to help to end this senseless war. I should like
to scream these things at the top of my lungs, and I have to
sit there silent. "Lord, have mercy on them, Christ, have
mercy on them, Lord have mercy on their souls," is all I
can think. The minutes stretch to an eternity. I want to push
the hands of the clock ahead, faster, fast, so that the heaviest
task will be behind you. But one minute creeps slowly after the
Finally it is five o'clock; 5:04; 5:08.
You have returned into the light. May the Lord give you eternal
rest, and may the eternal light shine upon you.
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