Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The white rose - Sophie Scholl

After ordering my St Saviour's roses in Bishop's purple, I was also rather inclined to get myself a white rose bush. I was going to write that white roses are the symbol of friendship, but I just looked that up and it would seem I have been misled and that apparently they are the symbol of purity and virtue and sincere love and marriage ... and I wouldn't want to write untrue things on the internet. However, the white rose also does represent "opposition to tyranny" among many Germans.

I've no other way to say it than that I am a fan of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but there were others, and one of those was Sophie Scholl, who lost her head in 1943 for her participation in an anti-Nazi resistance group called The White Rose. This is what she said before her execution:
How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause.
I read this below on the Mighty Girl page on Facebook, which I only saw because another friend "liked it" so it appeared in my feed. I have done more reading since, but for a succinct bio, here is the Mighty Girl Page.

I can hardly stand to read the reports of current happenings in Iraq, and this world is indeed in The Long Defeat, with evil rising again and yet again, but righteousness will prevail in the end.


Today [10 May], one of Germany’s most famous anti-Nazi heroes, Sophie Scholl, was born in 1921. As a university student in Munich, Scholl, along with her brother, Hans, and several friends, formed a non-violent, anti-Nazi resistance group called the White Rose. The group ran a leaflet and graffiti campaign calling on their fellow Germans to resist Hilter's regime. Scholl became involved in resistance organizing after learning of the mass killings of Jews and reading an anti-Nazi sermon by Clemens August Graf von Galen, the Roman Catholic Bishop of M√ľnster. She was deeply moved by the "theology of conscience" and declared, "Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare express themselves as we did."

In 1943, Scholl and the other members of the White Rose were arrested by the Gestapo for distributing leaflets at the University of Munich and taken to Stadelheim Prison. After a short trial on February 22, 1943, Scholl, her brother Hans and their friend Christop Probst, all pictured here, were found guilty of treason and sentenced to death.

At her execution only a few hours later, Scholl made this final statement: "How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause. Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?"

Following the deaths of the White Rose's leaders, their final leaflet was smuggled to England. In mid-1943, Allied Forces dropped millions of copies of the "Manifesto of the Students of Munich" over Germany. Scholl is now honored as one of the great German heroes who actively opposed the Nazi regime.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Sobering quote, so pertinent in our times too!
How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause.

My daughter had read a book about this girl's stand. Nice summary and thoughts here.