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German stamp of Hans Scholl and his sister Sophie
|Born||Hans Fritz Scholl
22 September 1918
|Died||22 February 1943
|Relatives||Inge Scholl (sister)
Sophie Scholl (sister)
- Inge Aicher-Scholl (1917–1998)
- Hans Scholl (1918–1943)
- Elisabeth Scholl Hartnagel (born 1920), married Sophie's long-term boyfriend, Fritz Hartnagel.
- Sophie Scholl (1921–1943)
- Werner Scholl (1922–1944) missing in action and presumed dead in June 1944.
- Thilde Scholl (1925–1926)
In 1933 he joined the Hitler Youth, but quickly became disillusioned when he realised the true meaning behind the group. He was raised as a Lutheran, although he did at one point consider converting to Catholicism. After this, Hans Scholl studied in the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München Medizin (medicine).
In the early summer of 1942, Scholl, his sister Sophie, Willi Graf, Kurt Huber, Christoph Probst, and Alexander Schmorell co-authored six anti-Nazi Third Reich political resistance leaflets. Calling themselves the White Rose, they instructed Germans to practice nonviolent resistance against the Nazis. The group had been horrified by the behavior of some German soldiers on the Eastern Front, where they had witnessed cruelty towards Jews in Poland and Russia.
The leaflets were distributed around the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, where they studied, and the University of Hamburg. They also mailed the leaflets to doctors, scholars, and pub owners throughout Germany.
On 18 February 1943, Hans and Sophie were spotted by a custodian while throwing leaflets from the atrium at Ludwig Maximilians University. They were arrested by the Gestapo and, with Probst, tried for treason by Judge Roland Freisler, found guilty, and condemned to death on 22 February.
Hans and Sophie Scholl and Christopher Probst were beheaded by Johann Reichhart in Munich's Stadelheim Prison, only a few hours later. The execution was supervised by Dr. Walter Roemer, the enforcement chief of the Munich district court. Scholl's last words were "Es lebe die Freiheit!" ("Long live freedom!").
Shortly thereafter, most of the other students involved were arrested and executed as well.
Following the deaths, a copy of the sixth leaflet was smuggled out of Germany through Scandinavia to the UK by German jurist Helmuth James Graf von Moltke, where it was used by the Allied Forces. In mid-1943, they dropped over Germany millions of propaganda copies of the tract, now retitled The Manifesto of the Students of Munich.
In a historical context, the White Rose's legacy has significance for many commentators, both as a demonstration of exemplary spiritual courage, and as a well-documented case of social dissent in a time of violent repression, censorship, and conformist pressure.
Playwright Lillian Garrett-Groag stated in Newsday on 22 February 1993, that "It is possibly the most spectacular moment of resistance that I can think of in the twentieth century... The fact that five little kids, in the mouth of the wolf, where it really counted, had the tremendous courage to do what they did, is spectacular to me. I know that the world is better for them having been there, but I do not know why."
In the same issue of Newsday, Holocaust historian Jud Newborn noted that "You cannot really measure the effect of this kind of resistance in whether or not X number of bridges were blown up or a regime fell... The White Rose really has a more symbolic value, but that's a very important value."
- "Inge Aicher-Scholl" at the Wayback Machine (archived December 31, 2007). 6 September 1998. Archived from the original on 31 December 2007.
- "Inge Scholl: 'Die Weiße Rose'" (in German). Weisse-Rose-Studien. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007.
- Halpern, Sue M. (1986-08-17). "Students Against The Reich". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
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