Monday, October 13, 2008

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose

On February 22, 1943, three German university students were executed by the Nazis. Hans Scholl was 24. Sophie Scholl, his sister, was 21. Their friend, Christoph Probst, was only 23.

What was their crime? Speaking out against Hitler and the Nazis...with the written word.

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose, by Annette Dumbach and Jud Newborn is their story. They were young. Some would have called them idealists.

I call them brave.

I call them heroes.

Sophie, Hans and Christoph were members of a non-violent resistant group called the White Rose. The White Rose consisted mainly of five students and Kurt Huber, a professor, who later joined their group. Together, they wrote leaflets against the Nazis and distributed them in various cities in Germany and Austria. Five leaflets were printed and distributed successfully. It was while distributing the sixth leaflet on their school campus that Sophie and Hans Scholl were caught and arrested.

Their story is not well-known, not as well-known as the life of Dietrich Bonhoffer, another German Christian who took a stand and died for it. Like Bonhoffer, many of these students were Christians, Christians who could not stand and let the Nazi's actions go without a word. Several of the students served in the military, as soldiers in the German army; they knew what could happen. They knew what was at stake.

And they still took a stand. The White Rose stood for freedom and her members died for their beliefs, standing strong and true.

We will not be silent! We are your bad conscience!

Two sentences on their leaflets became their motto and slogan. They were not silent - and even though dead, their words speak today yet still.

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose is an excellent retelling of their story. It begins at the very beginning and tells how the students organized themselves into a group, how they came to their decision to no longer remain silent. It reads almost like an action-packed novel, but it is all the more gripping because it is true.

I would highly recommend reading the book for yourself. It, along with the movie adapation, showed me how much of a personal responsibility everyone has in standing against wrongs. There is a saying I once heard that I try to remember: "Everyone should try to right the wrongs."

I think the White Rose would agree.

1 comments:

Mac October 13, 2008 at 9:58 AM  

I watched the movie and was very moved by it! I should like to read the book.

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