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 (1939-1945) WWII
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George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11876
Joined: 2009
White Rose group, Munich 1943
2/28/2021 11:51:57 AM
I was just reading the current issue of the Legion magazine and one of the articles was about a young woman named Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans who were members of a group that advocated for non-violent disobedience to the Nazi regime. They called their group, the White Rose.

Sophie and her brother had been appalled at the mass murder of Polish Jews and the deportations to concentration camps that had taken place. I believe that Hans had served at the eastern front and had witnessed atrocities.

Somehow they and other students at the University of Munich had obtained ink, paper and a mimeograph machine that would allow them to prepare leaflets for distribution. The first leaflet spoke against the Nazi regime and chastised the moral majority of Germans for their failure to challenge the Nazis.

The White Rose movement expanded to other universities and subsequent leaflets were more widely distributed.

The fourth leaflet distributed in July of 1942, detailed the slaughter of German troops at Stalingrad.

Quote:
Hitler feeds with lies those people whose most precious belongings has.....driven to a meaningless death. We will not be silent. We are your bad conscience. The White Rose will not leave you in peace.


10,000 copies of the fifth leaflet were distributed in many cities and towns and it advocated insurrection and a war of liberation in Germany. This was a departure from their initial position of peaceful protest. The extensive distribution caused the Gestapo to increase its efforts to find those responsible.

On Feb. 18, 1943, Sophie and Hans went to the Univ. of Munich with a suitcase full of anti-Nazi leaflets and placed them outside of lecture halls. It seems that with a few left over Sophie either tossed them from a balcony inside a lecture hall or out a window. She was spotted by an ardent Nazi party member, a building superintendent name Jakob Schmid. It wasn't long before she and her brother were arrested and a man named Christopher Probst whose handwriting was found to be a match for the writing on the next planned leaflet was also scooped.

All three were interrogated brutally by the Gestapo and tortured and then given their court date with the infamous judge Roland Freisler who, as he had and would many times more, found them guilty of treason.

Sophie Scholl made a statement in court and said:

Quote:
What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare express themselves


In his sentencing statement, Judge Freisler of the Nazi People's Court said:

Quote:
The accused have by means of leaflets in a time of war called for the sabotage of the war effort and armaments and for the overthrow of the National Socialist way of life...have propagated defeatist ideas, and have most vulgarly defamed the Fuhrer, thereby giving aid to the enemy of theReich and weakening the armed security of the nations. On this account they are to be punished by death. Their honour and rights as citizens are forfeited for all time... As criminals who have been found guilty, the accused will pay the court costs.
.

A few hours later, Sophie and Hans and Christopher were executed by guillotine.

We always assume that the German people were true believers in the Nazi cause but we know that there was an attempt on Hitler's life and new to me was this White Rose group. So there were dissenters.

How extensive was civil unrest in Nazi Germany during the war period and how many other rebellious citizen's groups like the White Rose group existed? Also, the White Rose group existed for over a year and so I wondered whether the Gestapo would overlook some civil disobedience if they felt that it wasn't too serious. Could German citizens get away with some grousing and complaining?


Cheers,

George



Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5186
Joined: 2004
White Rose group, Munich 1943
2/28/2021 12:14:36 PM
Thanks for this, George. It arouses profound emotion in me.

Clarify some dates, please.

You allude in the title to Munich , 1943.

Later on you mention the fourth leaflet in July 1942, referring to the " slaughter of German troops at Stalingrad ".


Stalingrad in July 1942 ?

That doesn't click.

The episode of February 18 1943 most definitely coincides with the catastrophe at Stalingrad.

Sorry if I'm being picky.

On the subject of the chronology of modern German history, I was walking in the park this morning and thinking about the foundation of the German Empire in the Hall of Mirrors by Bismarck, and it occurred to me that this was 150 years ago. You can more or less divide that time period into two halves, in the first of which we might all agree that Germany did more harm to the world than any other nation ; and in the second half of which Germany has strained to do the most good. Trevor will remember the provenance of that citation : an Anglo German correspondent for the Times newspaper, whose name escapes me. Damn it ! There is a real problem for me at the moment trying to remember things. Is this brain fog caused by lockdown ? Am I the only person struggling with this ?

I hope that the White Rose martyrs get their proper recognition.

Regards, Phil
----------------------------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11876
Joined: 2009
White Rose group, Munich 1943
2/28/2021 1:46:53 PM
Let me check the article again, Phil.

This sentence appears to be an error.

Quote:
The fourth (leaflet), in July 1942, detailed the slaughter of German troops at Stalingrad.
. As the Battle of Stalingrad did not begin until late August, clearly there had been an error.

Feb. 18, 1943 was that day that Sophie and her brother were identified by the building superintendent as the distributors of the leaflets.


So I went to the Britannica web site and found.

Leaflet #1 published in June of 1942. Advocated peaceful resistance to the Nazis.

Five more leaflets were published over the next 8 months. Leaflet #7 was not published but it revealed the handwriting of Christopher Probst and led to his arrest.


I was struck by the bravery and naiveté of these young Germans to resist the Nazi movement and wondered just how extensive civil unrest and open defiance was during the war years. That was my original focus.

When you pointed out the error in the date cited in the article, I decided that I had better take a harder look at the leaflets and I did find translations of the six published leaflets.

Leaflet #4 did make reference to the fighting in Russia and in North Africa but certainly not to Stalingrad.

The leaflets make for interesting reading as they freely quote philosophers and make religious references.

Quote:
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.
. leaflet #4.

These translations were found in full, in the Holocaust Research Project. I trust that this is a reliable source. If not, someone please weigh in.

[Read More]

Leaflet #5 was published shortly after the defeat at Stalingrad in late Jan., early Feb. of 1943. This pamphlet began with the rousing phrase, " A Call to All Germans",

Quote:
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 closer.


Leaflet #6 which is the one that led to the arrests did reference Stalingrad directly.

Quote:
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 you!



I have looked but cannot find exact dates of publication, Phil.

Cheers,

George




Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5186
Joined: 2004
White Rose group, Munich 1943
2/28/2021 2:28:26 PM
Thanks for going to this trouble, George.

It seems that success on the battlefield for Germany made it less risky to criticise the regime .

Catastrophic defeat made it fatally dangerous.

This was to become all too apparent after the failure of the July Plot in 1944.

Regards, Phil
----------------------------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
scoucer
Berlin  Germany
Posts: 2905
Joined: 2010
White Rose group, Munich 1943
2/28/2021 2:30:17 PM
From the english part of the website of the German Resistance Memorial ( Bendler Block now Stauffenburg strasse) here in Berlin.

The White Rose is exhibition Nr. 15.

[Read More]

Trevor
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`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11876
Joined: 2009
White Rose group, Munich 1943
2/28/2021 3:21:14 PM
Thank you Trevor. I noted that one of the displays was titled "Resistance Out of the Christian Faith". There were a number of calls in the White Rose leaflets that appealed to fellow Christians for find their faith.

Interesting to note resistance from labour, Christians, and artists and intellectuals.

Cheers

George

Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 3882
Joined: 2004
White Rose group, Munich 1943
2/28/2021 9:01:34 PM
Good God. Hans and Sophie Scholl. I ran into their story decades ago. I thought at first I learned about them in my German 90 class at UBC in 1960. But now I think I heard the story earlier than that. I just can’t remember where or when.

Wherever I first heard their story, their tale was IMHO badly presented. It read like a Disney tale rather than a resistance tragedy, highlighting the youth, decency and honour while downplaying the later horrors. That bothered me somewhat in the 1960s based on previous reading at the time. I’d be interested in direction to a site that places Hans and Sophie in a realistic framework rather than the prism from which they peeked during my first encounter.

Cheers. And stay safe.
Brian G
----------------------------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
bigbear58
Oakland CA USA
Posts: 1
Joined: 2021
White Rose group, Munich 1943
4/14/2021 9:03:41 PM
George, there is also a movie/video and maybe a DVD called 'The White Rose'. from the BigBear
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11876
Joined: 2009
White Rose group, Munich 1943
4/15/2021 7:06:22 AM
Thanks, I will look it up.

George
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 3882
Joined: 2004
White Rose group, Munich 1943
4/15/2021 10:08:52 PM
BB58, welcome to MHO. Always good to welcome a new voice!

Do you know much about the production you raise? E.g., have you seen it?

Was it created for general public release? Was it accurate?

I ask because I still have a sense that my introduction to Hans and Sophie Scholl was more propaganda than documentary; more fairy tale than history.

I’m not in any doubt that there were hosts of German groups that worked to some extent against Nazi social and ethical programs. Sadly, I’m also not surprised at how sadly most such groups ended.

Cheers. And stay safe.
Brian G
----------------------------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
scoucer
Berlin  Germany
Posts: 2905
Joined: 2010
White Rose group, Munich 1943
5/9/2021 2:10:57 PM
Today Sophie Scholl would have been 100 years old.

Lots of really good dokus on german TV.

I´ll see if I can link some.

Trevor
----------------------------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 3882
Joined: 2004
White Rose group, Munich 1943
5/9/2021 7:24:46 PM
BBC Online also offered this short but concise reflection on Sophie and Hans. I will admit to some surprise at the use of the present tense in the article’s Header.

[Read More]

Cheers. And stay safe.
Brian G
----------------------------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

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