Hans and Sophie Scholl

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Hans and Sophie Scholl on an East German postage stamp, 1961
Grave site

Hans and Sophie Scholl, often referred to in German as die Geschwister Scholl (literally: the Scholl siblings), were a brother and sister who were members of the White Rose, a student group in Munich that was active in the non-violent resistance movement in Nazi Germany, especially in distributing flyers against the war and the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler. In post-war Germany, Hans and Sophie Scholl are recognized as symbols of the humanist German resistance movement against the totalitarian Nazi regime.

Biography[edit]

In a broader, genealogical sense, there were actually five Scholl siblings: Inge (1917-1998), Hans (1918−1943), Elisabeth (* 1920), Sophie (1921-1943) and Werner Scholl (1922-1944), whose family lived in Württemberg, in the towns of Forchtenberg (until 1930), Ludwigsburg (1930-1932) and Ulm (1932-).

On February 18, 1943, two of the siblings, Hans and Sophie Scholl, were distributing flyers at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich when they were caught by the custodian, Jakob Schmid, who informed the Gestapo. By February 22, 1943, they had been sentenced to death by the People's Court, led by Judge-President Roland Freisler and were executed by Guillotine on the same day in the Stadelheim Prison. Their grave is in the adjacent Perlacher Forst cemetery (Grave number 73-1-18/19).

Posthumous recognition[edit]

The memorial for the White Rose in front of the main building of the Ludwig Maximilians University depicts the group's flyers.

The Geschwister-Scholl-Preis is a literary prize initiated by the State Association of Bavaria (Landesverband Bayern e. V.) in the Stock Market Society of the German Book Trade (Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels) and the city of Munich. Since 1980, they have annually awarded this prize to the book which "shows intellectual independence and supports civil freedom, moral, intellectual and aesthetic courage and that gives an important impulse to the present awareness of responsibility" ("...das von geistiger Unabhängigkeit zeugt und geeignet ist, bürgerliche Freiheit, moralischen, intellektuellen und ästhetischen Mut zu fördern und dem gegenwärtigen Verantwortungsbewusstsein wichtige Impulse zu geben").

There are many memorial places for the Scholl siblings at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. The new Geschwister-Scholl-Institut for political science, founded in the post-war era, was named after them on January 30, 1968. The area in front of the university's main building is named "Geschwister-Scholl-Platz." The last flyer of the White Rose is set in the ground. Since 1997, a memorial to the Geschwister Scholl and other members of the White Rose can be found in the atrium of the main building, and since 2005, a bronze bust of Sophie Scholl. The Geschwister-Scholl-Preis is awarded annually in the auditorium of the university. However, a proposal by the student government to rename the university "Geschwister Scholl University" was rejected by the university's leadership.

In addition, since 1945, many cities in both the Federal Republic of Germany as well as the German Democratic Republic have named streets, plazas and schools after the Scholl siblings. Geschwister-Scholl-Schule is the most common school name in Germany. In the Thuringian town of Flurstedt, there is even a Geschwister-Scholl fountain.

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